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Book News: Author And Wife Of Amazon CEO Defends Online Retailer

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • Mackenzie Bezos, the author of the novel Traps and the wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, defended the company publicly for the first time to The Times [paywall protected], calling it "great for authors and books." She herself is not published by Amazon.
  • Iain Banks, the popular Scottish author, announced in a blog post on Wednesday morning that he has late stage gall bladder cancer, and that "it's extremely unlikely I'll live beyond a year." Banks is known for being a prolific author of science fiction novels. The Telegraph wrote of him in 2012, "No other writer likes explosions quite as much as Iain Banks does. His science-fiction novels rock with them, and one of the most celebrated opening sentences in modern literature is (from his 1992 novel The Crow Road): 'It was the day my grandmother exploded.'"
  • In the LA Review of Books, Alexandra Socarides explicates the "formally stunning, politically subversive, yet oddly forgettable poem" at the base of the Statue of Liberty.
  • A real estate blog calculates the value of Hogwarts Castle and comes up with $204.1 million.
  • "Mary Gaitskill's great-great-grandfather invented the beer helmet." and other literary rumors from Vice magazine.
  • The New York Review of Books highlights W.H. Auden's submissions to the literary magazine in honor of National Poetry Month, including his poem "Filler" : "The Marquis de Sade and Genet / Are most highly thought of to-day; / But torture and treachery / Are not my sort of lechery, / So I've given my copies away."
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NPR

A Compelling Plot Gives Way To Farce In Franzen's Purity

The new novel reveals sharp observations and a great, sprawling story. But critic Roxane Gay says the book gets bogged down with absurdly-drawn characters and misfired critiques of modern life.
NPR

Huge Fish Farm Planned Near San Diego Aims To Fix Seafood Imbalance

The aquaculture project would be the same size as New York's Central Park and produce 11 million pounds of yellowtail and sea bass each year. But some people see it as an aquatic "factory farm."
WAMU 88.5

Europe's Ongoing Migrant And Refugee Crisis And The Future Of Open Borders

The Austria-Hungary border has become the latest pressure point in Europe's ongoing migrant crisis. An update on the huge influx of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa and the future of open borders within the E.U.

WAMU 88.5

Environmental Outlook: How to Build Smarter Transportation And More Livable Cities

A new report says the traffic in the U.S. is the worst it has been in years. Yet, some urban transportation experts say there's reason to be optimistic. They point to revitalized city centers, emerging technology and the investment in alternative methods of transportation. A conversation about how we get around today, and might get around tomorrow.

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