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Book News: Campaigner For Jane Austen Banknote Deluged With Threats

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

  • Caroline Criado-Perez, the feminist activist who successfully campaigned to make Jane Austen the new face of Britain's 10-pound note, has been inundated with hundreds of death and rape threats on Twitter after the banknote news broke last week. Criado-Perez responded by retweeting the threats to her followers. Some of the more printable examples include: "I will find you and you don't want to know what I will do when I do, you're pathetic, kill yourself before i do." and "Hey sweetheart, give me a call when you're ready to be put in your place." British police arrested a man over the weekend "on suspicion of harassment offences," but the threats didn't stop. When British Parliament member Stella Creasy spoke out in support of Criado-Perez, she also received rape threats, which she in turn retweeted. This has sparked debate in the U.K. about whether Twitter is responsible for regulating such threats. CNN reports: "Twitter UK's General Manager Tony Wang said the social-networking company takes online abuse very seriously, offering to suspend accounts, and called on people to report any 'violation of Twitter rules.' " Separately, one of the world's most eminent classicists, Mary Beard, promised Monday to publicly shame those who send her misogynistic messages on Twitter, tweeting, "I'm not going to be terrorised." A man who purportedly sent the Cambridge professor crude messages Monday swiftly begged her forgiveness after another Twitter user threatened to tell his mother what he had written.
  • The Four Way Review published three new poems from Craig Morgan Teicher. The second, "Drunkenness," reads, "Sip by sip, life becomes tolerable, then pleasant, then milky — as soft and gregarious as a lamb. ... Not even happiness feels this good."
  • Mary Karr tells The New York Times about the unique experience of finding out your literary idols are jerks: "If we didn't read people who were bastards, we'd never read anything. Even the best of us are at least part-time bastards."
  • The novelist Gary Shteyngart writes about wearing a Google Glass around New York: "Wearing Glass takes its toll. 'You look like you have a lazy eye,' I'm told at a barbecue, my right eye instinctively scanning upward for more info. 'You look like you have a nervous tic,' when I tap at the touch pad. 'You have that faraway look again,' whenever there's something more interesting happening on my screen."
  • The London Fire Brigade says a recent rise in the number of calls involving people trapped in handcuffs may be tied to Fifty Shades of Grey. A spokesman comments, "I don't know whether it's the Fifty Shades effect, but the number of incidents involving items like handcuffs seems to have gone up." Either way, the fire brigade has some practical advice: "If you use handcuffs, always keep the keys handy."
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