Today in books and publishing: Antonin Scalia, DFW fanboy; Neil Gaiman as a 7-year-old Scientologist; this Paterno biography sure is ill-timed; forget Hollywood, e-books are where it's at.
Playing down the Paterno biography. Simon & Schuster couldn't have picked a worse time to release a biography about disgraced Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. Early last year the publisher announced a "biography of America’s winningest college football coach." Since then, public perception of Paterno—who helped cover up Jerry Sandusky's child sex abuse—has pivoted significantly. Simon & Schuster are quietly canceling tour stops with author Joe Posnanski, and they've changed the book's title from The Grand Experiment: The Life and Meaning of Joe Paterno to simply Paterno. Still, publisher Jonathan Karp stands by the book's author, saying, "People can pass all the judgment they want about Joe Paterno, but Joe Posnanski deserves a chance to be read." [The New York Times]
David Foster Wallace and Antonin Scalia, SNOOT BFFs. How's this for an unlikely pair? On a trip to Claremont, Calif., in 2007, conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made a point of having lunch with David Foster Wallace. "As co-SNOOTs, we got along very well," says Scalia, invoking an acronym that Wallace coined in his essay "Tense Present," which he defined as both "Sprachgefühl Necessitates Our Ongoing Tendance" or "Syntax Nudniks of Our Time." Reportedly, DFW said of the meeting, "Politically, we’re not alike at all, but that was really a fascinating lunch." And perhaps we have Wallace to thank for the justice's latest literary ventures. Scalia and Bryan A. Garner co-wrote Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts in part due to their shared appreciation of Wallace's essay "Tense Present," according to The Wall Street Journal. [The Wall Street Journal]
An interview with Neil Gaiman, 7-year-old Scientologist. Though he no longer practices, cult author Neil Gaiman grew up as the son of Scientology's PR chief in the UK. In 1969, the church released "A Report to Members of Parliament on Scientology," an attempt to counter accusations that it indoctrinated children. The pamphlet featured an interview with Gaiman, then 7 years old. He defines Scientology as, "an applied philosophy dealing with the study of knowledge." Sure, that's how any normal 7-year-old talks. When asked if the religion makes him a better boy, he responds, "Not exactly that, but when you make a release you feel absolutely great." If this is supposed to make Scientology seem less creepy, it's not doing a very good job. [Runnin' Scared]
Forty-Seven Farewells to Arms. Ernest Hemingway had a hell of a time finishing his second novel, A Farewell to Arms. In 1958, he told The Paris Review that he wrote 39 endings to his great World War I novel before settling on a conclusion. The author's grandson, Sean Hemingway, found even more than Papa let on. All 47 alternate endings will be printed in Scribner's new Hemingway Library Edition of Farewell, which features an introduction written by Sean. In an interview with NPR's Linda Wertheimer, the younger Hemingway says, "To my mind, in looking at all the different endings, the one that he did settle on is the most powerful." [NPR]
Hollywood heavies turn to e-books. The film industry's declining profits and the meteoric rise of e-books: it's easy to see both trends in this item from Hollywood. Barry Diller (former CEO at studios like Fox and Paramount) and Scott Rudin (a producer of such films as The Social Network, Moneyball and No Country for Old Men) are teaming up for a new business venture, and it has nothing to do with film. They're interested in starting an e-book business. At the moment they're only in exploratory talks. But if they do go forward with the venture, it'll be interesting to see what Hollywood moguls bring to the fledgling e-book trade. [Deadline]
Could color-coding make sense of The Sound and The Fury? [The Guardian]
Sift through the 850+ public comments on the DOJ's e-books suit. [Department of Justice]
This is how James Thurber grants his permission. [Letters of Note]
Music based on Beckett. [The New York Times]
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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