Book News: Harper Lee Says Literary Agent Exploited Her Health | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Book News: Harper Lee Says Literary Agent Exploited Her Health

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

  • Harper Lee is suing to recover royalties from her former literary agent, Samuel Pinkus, who she claims tricked her into signing over the copyright to her novel To Kill A Mockingbird while she was recovering from a stroke in an assisted-living facility. The 87-year-old author regained the rights in 2012, but says Pinkus has still been collecting royalties. Cue the where's-Atticus-Finch-when-you-need-him jokes.
  • Harvard historian Niall Ferguson has apologized after suggesting that John Maynard Keynes' economic theories were influenced by the fact that he was gay and childless, and therefore was unconcerned with the welfare of future generations. He wrote, "First, it is obvious that people who do not have children also care about future generations. Second, I had forgotten that Keynes's wife Lydia miscarried." Ferguson tends to court controversy — his 2012 book Civilization: The West and the Rest was widely seen as an apology for Western colonialism.
  • "The discerning reader has long grown weary of dead and dying stereotypes of the modern African novel: Civil wars. Black magic. Vulture-stalked refugees." --Nigerian author A. Igoni Barrett, writing for NPR.org, on why Ahmadou Kourouma's novel Allah Is Not Obliged defies stereotypes.
  • The late Chilean poet Pablo Neruda had advanced prostate cancer, according to a preliminary forensic test. Neruda's body was exhumed last month to determine whether he died from natural causes or, as has been alleged, was poisoned after a 1973 coup that overthrew his friend and ally, President Salvador Allende. More tests will be required to determine the actual cause of death.

The Best Books Coming Out This Week:

  • In Ben Percy's Red Moon, the U.S. government comes into conflict with a repressed minority — the "lycans" (werewolves, essentially) — in a muddled metaphor for the U.S.'s fraught relationship with Arab-Americans, gays and blacks. Ultimately, Red Moon is an excellent monster novel, but a just-OK piece of social commentary.
  • Janet Malcolm's latest collection of essays, Forty-one False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers, includes, among more "serious" works, her great piece on the subtle brilliance of the "strange, complicated" and "transgressive" Gossip Girl books (like several other essays in the collection, you can also read it at The New Yorker).
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Maps To The Stars': Either The Funniest Horror Movie, Or The Most Horrific Comedy

In the film about a toxic Hollywood, John Cusack plays a self-help guru whose clients include Julianne Moore. It's full of anxious shoptalk and name dropping, druggy kids and druggier grown-ups.
NPR

When Food Is Too Good To Waste, College Kids Pick Up The Scraps

Millions of tons of food are wasted on college campuses around the country, and students are noticing. Some of them are now rescuing food to make tasty meals for the needy and compost for gardens.
NPR

What Do Conservatives Want For 2016? We Asked

Attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference say they want the next president to focus on bipartisanship, faith, security and lower taxes.
NPR

Fines Remain Rare Even As Health Data Breaches Multiply

Since 2009, a federal watchdog has levied only 22 penalties against health care organizations for failing to safeguard information about patients.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.