Billionaire Financier Buys Phaidon Press; R.L. Stine's Gory New Novel

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Today in books and publishing: Leon Black purchases preeminent art book publisher; R.L. Stine writes Goosebumps for adults; Orange Prize saved; Anthony Burgess finally gets a blue plaque.

Phaidon has a new owner. When billionaire Leon Black isn't skiing down mountains of money, he dabbles in art collecting (word has it that he was the one who scooped up Munch's The Scream at auction earlier this year for $120 million). Now, the wealthy CEO of private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC just added another valuable piece to his collection: the distinctive, preeminent art book publishing house Phaidon Press. Phaidon is known for its elaborate and often highly expensive coffee table books, textbooks, cookbooks, and monographs. The publisher's roots go back to 1923 in Vienna, a home it had to flee under the Nazis. Now based in London, Phaidon has been owned by mysterious entrepreneur Richard Schlagman since 1990. Black said in a prepared statement, "My family and I look forward to supporting the future growth of the company, including through the ongoing development of its publishing program, further geographic expansion, and the launch of digital products." [The Wall Street Journal]

Private donors save the Orange Prize. Remember when everyone thought Apple might buy the Orange Prize after the cell phone carrier Orange ditched funding the award for female novelists writing in English? All of our fruity puns turned out too good to be true, because the tech giant didn't end up rescuing the prize. But now, private donors have stepped up to save the award for at least one more year. They raised the money needed for a £30,000 award and a ceremony on June 5, 2013. "It is the largest-selling book prize in the world and the only one that is entirely devoted to women," writes one of the award's saviors, Martha Lane Fox. "It is a celebration, not a moan. It is to inspire more reading among both genders and to show the fabulous breadth of talent out there." With Orange's departure, the prize will go back to its original title, the Women's Prize for Fiction. [The Telegraph]

Recommended Reading

R.L. Stine gets gory in new novel for adults. If you loved the Goosebumps books as a kid, but wish they had more blood and viscera, you might want to pick up Red Rain, R.L. Stine's new novel for adults. In this story, creepy kid brothers Samuel and Daniel turn on their adoptive father after he saves them from a hurricane in South Carolina. To make it clear Stine's writing about kids for an adult audience, he includes a child psychologist character who speculates about the right time to intervene with kids suspected of harboring evil intentions. Oh, and did we mention it's gory? "Stine likes food metaphors to convey the gore," writes AP reviewer Rob Merrill. "Windpipes ripped out of throats like 'some kind of long pasta noodle.' A young woman holding her intestines as 'a gusher of pink and yellow sausage' oozes through her fingers." [The Washington Post]

A blue plaque for Anthony Burgess. Someone will have to add A Clockwork Orange novelist Anthony Burgess to this lengthy Wikipedia article, because he's finally getting one of those blue plaques Europeans use to honor notable achievements. The plaque to commemorate his work as a novelist, autobiographer, and non-fiction writer will be placed outside the University of Manchester, where Burgess studied. The writer's relationship with the U.K. has long been fraught because he chose to live abroad for most of his life. "Burgess was awarded major public honours by President Mitterrand of France and Prince Rainier of Monaco, but in Britain he received nothing except a cheap plastic trophy presented to him by Mrs Thatcher at the British Press Awards," says Dr. Andrew Biswell, director of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation. "So I'm delighted that the university has decided to install the first British public monument to Burgess, 50 years after A Clockwork Orange was first published." [The Independent]

Ke$ha signs publi$hing contract. Pop's purveyor of stylized sleaze has apparently taken some time out from all that partying for some deep reflection lately. The 25-year-old singer says she's ready to write a memoir revealing "a more complete picture of what my life is really like." Simon & Schuster will release My Crazy Beautiful Life on November 20. [MTV]

An infographic comparing red and blue state readers. Goodreads has posted an interesting visualization of Obama and Romney supporters' respective reading habits. Some of the results are surprising (Democrats and Republicans love Michael Lewis' The Big Short equally), while others confirm what we've suspected all along (Romney voters were four times more likely to have read Heaven Is For Real). [Goodreads]

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