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Book News: Justice Department Says Apple Led Price-Fixing Ring

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

  • The Justice Department says Apple took the lead in an ebook price-fixing ring with five major publishing houses, according to a court filing Tuesday. The houses — Penguin, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette — have all agreed to settle, but Apple is scheduled to go to trial June 3. One email included in the filing and quoted in The New York Times has Apple's Steve Jobs asking James Murdoch of NewsCorp (which owns HarperCollins) to "throw in with Apple and see if we can all make a go of this to create a real mainstream e-books market at $12.99 and $14.99."
  • Maria Popova excerpts George Orwell's rules for making the perfect cup of tea: "First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays — it is economical, and one can drink it without milk — but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it."
  • For The New York Review of Books, Christopher Benfey experiments with the ancient practice of "Sortes Virgilianae" — using randomly selected lines of Virgil as a form of divination.
  • Last week, NPR's Alan Greenblatt examined the question of who deserves a burial, connecting Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev to the unburied Polyneices from Sophocles' Antigone. Now, Daniel Mendelsohn takes a closer look in an essay for The New Yorker: "In the end, what entitles [Polyneices] to burial has nothing to do with what side he was on — and it's worth emphasizing the play is not at all shy about enumerating the horrors the dead man intended to perpetrate on the city, his own city, the pillage, the burning, the killing, the enslavement of the survivors — but the fact that he was a human being, anthropos."
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NPR

A Glimpse Of Listeners' #NPRpoetry — From The Punny To The Profound

It was a simple idea: Would you, our listeners, tweet us poems for National Poetry Month? Your response contained multitudes — haiku, lyrics, even one 8-year-old's ode to her dad's bald spot.
WAMU 88.5

Eating Insects: The Argument For Adding Bugs To Our Diet

Some say eating insects could save the planet, as we face the potential for global food and protein shortages. It's a common practice in many parts of the world, but what would it take to make bugs more appetizing to the masses here in the U.S.? Does it even make sense to try? A look at the arguments for and against the practice known as entomophagy, and the cultural and environmental issues involved.

WAMU 88.5

A Federal Official Shakes Up Metro's Board

After another smoke incident and ongoing single tracking delays for fixes, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx announced a shake-up of Metro's board.

NPR

'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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