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Book News: Paula Deen's Cookbook Sales Still Sizzle

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

  • Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up isn't even out yet (it's set to be published in October), but a surge of pre-orders in the past few days has made it the top-selling book on Amazon. The cookbook, which was at 1,580th place on Monday, jumped in the midst of the growing scandal surrounding her use of racial slurs. Although The Food Network, Target and other companies have ended their contracts with Deen, Random House has said only that it is "monitoring" the situation. Speaking of TV, NPR's Linda Holmes writes about why it isn't surprising that Deen's star at The Food Network has fallen.
  • Jamie Oliver, 38-year-old celebrity chef, cookbook author and possessor of awesome '90s boyband highlights, said that due to his dyslexia, he had never read an entire book until recently finishing Catching Fire, the sequel to Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games.
  • The Paris Review features a mean (but brilliant) rejection letter that publisher Arthur C. Fifield sent to Gertrude Stein in 1912, written in the style of her experimental writing: "Being only one, having only one pair of eyes, having only one time, having only one life, I cannot read your M.S. three or four times. Not even one time. Only one look, only one look is enough. Hardly one copy would sell here. Hardly one. Hardly one."
  • The HarperCollins imprint Ecco announced Thursday that it will publish The Joy Luck Club author Amy Tan's next two books, a collection of personal essays and a novel called The Memory of Desire. Tan wrote in a press release that the novel is "about a house in San Francisco and the battle for ownership among three families over the last seventy-five years. The narrator is an octogenarian who has had a stroke and finds she can speak only Chinese, the once-forgotten language of her childhood."
  • Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks to Fresh Air's Terry Gross about race in America and her new novel Americanah: "It's a strange thing, and it's complicated, but there's a certain privilege to not being African-American in certain circles in the U.S., being black but not African-American... I think that one isn't burdened by America's terrible racial history."
  • Dan Savage explains to The New York Times why he thinks it's OK to steal books from hotel lobbies: "I don't consider swiping a book that is being used as a decorative object to be theft. It's a rescue."
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