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Book News: Translators Of Dan Brown Novel Toiled In 'Bunker'

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

  • The 11 people who worked on translating Inferno, the latest Robert Langdon novel from Dan Brown, toiled for two months in near-isolation in a heavily-guarded underground complex in Milan, according to Sorrisi e Canzoni, an Italian news outlet. Their computers were bolted in place, no cell phones were allowed inside, access to the Internet was restricted and monitored, and a strict log was kept of their actions to prevent anyone from leaving with any part of the embargoed novel, slated for release May 14. Some of the translators said they enjoyed the immersive experience, though others said they missed their homes and families.
  • In an interview Monday, Stephen Colbert got Pulitzer prize-winning author and journalist Robert Caro to confide that President Lyndon B. Johnson's nickname for his, um, johnson was: "Jumbo."
  • For The Times Literary Supplement, Kate Chisholm expertly dissects the legacy of a different Johnson: "[Dr. Samuel Johnson] is still, if anything, the model critic, assessing the value of a literary production in isolation from reputation or context."
  • Sean Desmond was named the new editorial director at the literary imprint Twelve, according to a press release from Publisher Deb Futter. Desmond is currently an executive editor at Crown.
  • The Glossary makes a short film out of "This Is Water," David Foster Wallace's famous graduation speech at Kenyon College in 2005.
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Rob And Nick Reiner Say 'Being Charlie' Is 'Drawn From Our Lives'

Being Charlie is a new film about addiction in a Hollywood family. It's a story director Rob Reiner and his son, writer Nick Reiner, say they know well because of their own family's struggles.
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When It Came To Food, Neanderthals Weren't Exactly Picky Eaters

During the Ice Age, it seems Neanderthals tended to chow down on whatever was most readily available. Early humans, on the other hand, maintained a consistent diet regardless of environmental changes.
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David Cameron's Former Advisor Wants To Revamp The U.S. Conservative Movement

British political operative Steve Hilton tells NPR's Scott Simon what he thinks the conservative movement needs both in the U.K. and the U.S.
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'The Guardian' Launches New Series Examining Online Abuse

A video was released this week where female sports journalists were read abusive online comments to their face. It's an issue that reaches far beyond that group, and The Guardian is taking it on in a series called "The Web We Want." NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with series editor Becky Gardiner and writer Nesrine Malik, who receives a lot of online abuse.

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