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Book News: Does Lance Armstrong Have The Right To Lie In His Memoirs?

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

  • Lance Armstrong, the disgraced cyclist who admitted to doping earlier this year, is being sued for more than $5 million over false claims in his memoirs, It's Not About the Bike and Every Second Counts. A group of California consumers say the books were deceptively marketed as nonfiction and that they would not have bought them had they known Armstrong was lying about his use of performance-enhancing drugs. So in telling his own story, does Armstrong have the right to lie? On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Morrison England heard arguments from Armstrong's publishers, Random House and Penguin, who want the case thrown out, arguing that the books are protected by the First Amendment. Armstrong's lawyers said, "No American court has ever sustained a fraud action against a publisher for false or inaccurate statements within the pages of a book."
  • The first English-language bookstore in Cuba opened last week, according to The Associated Press. Although the news service notes that Havana's Cuba Libro has a small stock, for English-speakers in Cuba, "it might as well be the Library of Congress." President Raul Castro's recent reforms have made businesses such as Cuba Libro possible, following half a century of strict control under his brother, Fidel Castro.
  • In a hearing on Friday, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote chastised Apple for showing no remorse for colluding with publishers to fix ebook prices in 2010, saying, "They are, in a word, unrepentant." The hearing was to consider remediation, though Cote did not come to a decision. Instead, she set up meetings between the Department of Justice and Apple in hopes that they would reach a settlement.
  • On Morning Edition, NPR's Joel Rose reports that American public libraries have become "crucial hubs for information and help in the aftermath of hurricanes and tornadoes." After Hurricane Sandy and other disasters, people flocked to libraries with air conditioning, Internet access and friendly faces.

The Best Books Coming Out This Week:

  • In Lolita — The Story of a Cover Girl: Vladimir Nabokov's Novel in Art and Design, 80 graphic designers re-imagine the cover of Nabokov's most (in)famous novel. Many of the best designs play on the trappings of childhood in evocative and sinister ways — a discarded scrunchie, rolled-up socks, a shattered lollipop.
  • Hanya Yanagihara's The People in the Trees is narrated by the detestable scientist Norton Perina, who approaches Nabokov's Humbert Humbert in imaginative perversity and twisted narratives. When Perina discovers a Micronesian island where the some of the inhabitants seem to have achieved immortality, he exploits his findings in every way he can.
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