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Book News: Crime Writer Elmore Leonard Recovering From Stroke

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

  • The crime author Elmore Leonard had a stroke last week and is recovering in the hospital, Gregg Sutter, his researcher, told The Detroit News on Monday. Sutter added that the hugely prolific author of Out of Sight is in the middle of writing his 46th novel. Leonard is 87. Last year, he was awarded a lifetime achievement medal by the National Book Foundation, which said in a statement at the time: "For over five decades, Leonard's westerns, crime novels, serialized novels, and stories have enthralled generations of readers."
  • Borders, the once-great bookstore chain, is reopening ... in Singapore.
  • NW author Zadie Smith has a new short story in The New Yorker, set in the Britain of the future, when "the only people left in England were the ones who couldn't leave."
  • Washington Post book critic Ron Charles explains one of the profession's unforeseen dangers: "In this line of work, even if you complete a 12-step program and learn to stop slipping books into the house when your spouse isn't looking, the publishers conspire against you. Once they've got your home address, your mailman will hate you. Our little foyer fills with packages; the recycling bin is always stuffed with envelopes. A few years ago, one of my colleagues (his initials are J[on] Y[ardley]) tried to turn off the spigot by sending out a stern note telling publicists to stop mailing books to his house. But resistance is futile." Hear that, dear roommate? It isn't my fault.
  • The writer and musician James McBride tells The New York Times why Toni Morrison is his favorite writer: "She plays off the horn, like Coltrane did. She busts through the form."
  • In a Times op-ed, Tom Hanks riffs on the magnificent sound of typewriter keys: "Computer keyboards make a mousy tappy tap tappy tap like ones you hear in a Starbucks — work may be getting done but it sounds cozy and small, like knitting needles creating a pair of socks. Everything you type on a typewriter sounds grand, the words forming in mini-explosions of SHOOK SHOOK SHOOK. A thank-you note resonates with the same heft as a literary masterpiece."

Also in the news, from late Monday: Washington Post To Be Sold To Amazon's Jeff Bezos.

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