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From Harry Potter-style mega-hits to controversy over banned books to hot competition for literary prizes, there is never a dull moment in the book world. Chapter & Verse keeps readers up-to-date on the latest in literary headlines. Check in with us daily to learn about books and their people - those who write them and those who love them.

Penn State president Graham Spanier (l.) reportedly encouraged Joe Paterno (r.) to step down as head football coach in 2004. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

New biography offers an inside look at Joe Paterno and family after his firing

By Staff Writer / 08.16.12

The new biography “Paterno,” centering on the life of disgraced Penn State coach Joe Paterno, details the former coach’s reaction to being fired and how his family tried to handle the scandal, according to an excerpt which will be published in the September issue of GQ.

“Paterno” author Joe Posnanski had joined Paterno in the summer of 2011, planning to observe the coach – with Paterno’s permission – through the upcoming football season for the biography. As a result, he was on the scene when the Sandusky scandal broke. The book will be released next week.

One part of the excerpt describes Paterno the day after he was fired from his position as head coach of the Nittany Lions. According to the biography, he “sobbed uncontrollably.”

“My name,” he said to his son, Jay, according to Posnanski. “I have spent my whole life trying to make that name mean something. And now it's gone.”

The Paternos took on a public relations specialist, Dan McGinn, to help them with the fallout of the scandal, and, according to Posnanski, McGinn asked Guido D’Elia, the director of communications and branding for football for the school at the time, if they could contact anyone on the board of trustees for the school. But D’Elia said that the board had been less than friendly towards Paterno since 2004. Spanier and the school's athletic director, Tim Curley, had reportedly suggested Paterno step down that year, and Paterno refused.

“We don’t have anybody on the board now,” D’Elia told McGinn, according to Posnanski.

According to Posnanski, Paterno’s son Scott, who had worked as a lawyer and unsuccessfully run as a candidate for a seat in the US Congress, was the first to realize the extent to which the scandal would damage his father’s career.

“Dad, you have to face the possibility that you will never coach another game,” Scott Paterno told his father, according to Posnanski.

Paterno died of complications from lung cancer in January. Last month, the NCAA fined Penn State $60 million, removed every win the football team had from 1998 to last year, forbade the school's football team from playing in postseason games for the next four years, and reduced the school's scholarships.

Posnanski told USA Today that when he planned his book, people asked him if Paterno was too beloved to make for an interesting read.

"The only question anyone seemed to ask about it was: 'What's left to say about Joe Paterno?'," he wrote. "Obviously, nobody asked me that question after Nov. 5."

In addition, former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky is said to be writing a second book while in jail at the Centre County Correctional Facility in Bellefonte, Pa.

Joe Amendola, Sandusky’s lawyer, said his client would most likely speak during his sentencing in September, and his planned book may be connected to that.

“Jerry views his sentencing as an opportunity for him to tell his side of this,” Amendola told the Washington Post.

A new investigation was recently started by the US Postal Inspection Service to look into allegations that Sandusky shared child pornography. Also, acording to Radar Online, federal authorities have heard from someone who claims to have witnessed Sandusky and a booster for the school abusing boys while on a private plane.

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It turns out that while everyone was paying attention to the switch from print to electronic books, “a significant shift" – the rise of Gen Y book-buying habits – has been taking place "under the radar.” (Melanie Stetson Freeman)

Gen Y: the most book-loving generation alive?

By Husna Haq / 08.15.12

So much for Gen Y stereotypes. Turns out they aren’t sun-deprived geeks sitting alone in the basement, with only a controller, joystick, or keyboard, and the final level of Skyrim to keep them company.

There’s a pile of books next to the game console, too.

Believe it or not, Generation Y might just be the most bibliophilic generation alive, according to a new consumer study. Gen Y – those born between 1979 and 1989 – spent the most money on books in 2011, knocking the longtime book-buying leaders, baby boomers, from the top spot, according to the 2012 U.S. Book Consumer Demographics and Buying Behaviors Annual Review.

It turns out that while everyone was paying attention to more high-profile, headline-grabbing changes like the switch from print to electronic books, “a significant shift that has been under the radar” was quietly toppling traditional consumer publishing expectations. “With Baby Boomers accounting for the highest percentage of the general population, that age group has historically spent the most on books,” writes the Bowker Market Research panel, which, along with Publishers Weekly, helped conduct the report. “In 2011, however, that changed, when Generation Y… took over the book-buying leadership from Baby Boomers…”

The details, according to the Sacramento Bee’s reporting: baby boomers’ share of book expenditures fell from 30 percent in 2010 to 25 percent in 2011, while Gen Y’s expenditure grew from 24 percent in 2010 to 30 percent in 2011 – a near-mirror-image swap. Not as surprising, about 43 percent of Gen Y’s purchases are geared toward online book buying, ”adding momentum to the industry shift to digital,” according to the report.

This news piqued our interest, but we can’t say we were entirely surprised. As The Beat wrote, “…this is really just a matter of time and aging…” It’s also, they pointed out, a message to publishers of a potential shift in audience taste. After all, this newly dominant Gen Y audience “was raised on Bruce Timm, The X-Men, and Buffy,” says The Beat.

Scary times ahead in publishing.

The report also charted the continued growth of e-book consumption, which rose from 4 percent of sales in 2010 to 14 percent in 2011. And due to the slow economic recovery, more affluent households have taken over a larger share of book expenditures. Some 57 percent of book spending came from households earning more than $50,000 in 2011, up from 54 percent in 2010.

Though the change is small, we found this interesting: Women appear to be buying slightly less. Though they’re still a more active buying group than men, women’s share of book spending dropped from 58 percent in 2010 to 55 percent in 2011. It’s a small enough drop that it’s too soon to analyze, but we’re curious to keep tabs on this trend.

“There has never been a more dynamic time in the publishing industry than the one we are in now,” Jim Milliot, editor of the Annual Review and Co-Editorial Director of Publishers Weekly, said in a statement. Added vice-president of Bowker Market Research Kelly Gallagher, “It’s more essential than ever before to understand who is buying and what their expectations and habits are.”

In other words, the industry’s target audience just sprouted whiskers, has earphones snaking out of his head, and thumbs his favorite tome with nimble, game console-trained fingers.

Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.

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Writer Bret Easton Ellis is facing a backlash after his comments about actor Matt Bomer, who is gay, possibly taking on the role of Christian Grey for the '50 Shades of Grey' film adaptation. (Luca Bruno/AP)

Bret Easton Ellis faces flap over '50 Shades of Grey' comments

By Staff Writer / 08.15.12

Writer Bret Easton Ellis is facing backlash after he tweeted that he believed actor Matt Bomer shouldn’t play “50 Shades of Grey” protagonist Christian Grey in a film adaptation because Bomer is gay.

The “American Psycho” writer had tweeted about his thoughts on who should direct and other casting thoughts before finally stating in an Aug. 7 tweet that, to his regret, he had not been chosen to write the screenplay for the film.

“It's a very major disappointment to announce that I've somehow been taken off the list of possible screenwriters for Fifty Shades of Grey,” Ellis tweeted.

He then tweeted on Aug. 8, “Okay I'll say it. Matt Bomer isn't right for Christian Grey because he is openly gay. He's great for other roles but this is too big a game.”

He then tweeted later that day, “I am NOT discriminating Matt Bomer because of his sexuality. Fifty Shades of Grey demands an actor that is genuinely into women. Get it?!?” and followed with “I think Matt Bomer is incredibly handsome and a good actor but I think he comes off totally gay in White Collar. And that is why no to CG [Christian Grey]...”

Ellis continued to tweet his thoughts over the next several days as others responded and comments began to multiply throughout the blogosphere.

“You're missing the point,” he stated on Aug. 10. “I'm not a homophobe. I'm a misanthrope. I hate the way homosexuality is presented in our entertainment culture.”

He then brought Bomer up again later that same day.

“You know what?” he tweeted. “I changed my mind: I now think a gay actor HAS GOT to play Christian Grey. It's IMPERATIVE that someone gay plays him...”

“But I still don't think Matt Bomer should play the role,” he added in a later tweet.

Ellis found both supporters and detractors for his point of view.

"I agree with you on this!" one user replied to his tweet. "(and I'm openly gay as well)."

But another user disagreed with his comments.

"Heard of acting dear boy?" the Twitter user inquired. "(copyright: Sir Lawrence Olivier)."

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Some industry observers are speculating that Google's purchase of Frommer’s Travel Guides is really about Google’s move to provide its own content.

Google buys Frommer’s Travel Guides

By Elizabeth Drake / 08.14.12

As part of a deal with John Wiley & Sons, Google Inc. will be purchasing Wiley’s travel business, which includes the Frommer’s brand travel guides. According to the Huffington Post, chief executive officer John Wiley has been working to sell off its businesses that do not fit with its aim to focus on professionals and education.

The well-known travel guide publisher has more than 300 guidebooks currently in publication. The New York Times speculates that this new purchase is likely to be used in conjunction with the Zagat restaurant review app that Google purchased last September. Some industry observers are speculating that what this is really about is Google’s move to not only to be a search engine, but to also provide its own content.

Greg Sterling, founder of Sterling Market Intelligence, a company that examines media, told The New York Times that this is a tricky line to be treading because it potentially places Google in competition with other websites. It raises concerns because “Google is perceived as this competitor that has the potential to favor its own search results," said Sterling.

Competing websites are not the only businesses that Google’s new move has the potential to threaten. Google may also be viewed as a threat to publishers because it will incorporate the Internet with its content in ways that most publishers cannot.

While the terms of the agreement have not been disclosed, it is estimated to be between $23 million and $25 million, according to Publisher's Lunch

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Two years ago Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan said he regularly gave out Ayn Rand novel ‘Atlas Shrugged’ as Christmas gifts, but today he says he no longer espouses her beliefs.

Paul Ryan does an about-face on Ayn Rand

By Husna Haq / 08.14.12

Eager to brush up on the new Republican vice presidential nominee and the inspiration behind his budget-cutting “Path to Prosperity”? Dust off your library of Ayn Rand – “Atlas Shrugged” or “The Fountainhead” will do – and settle in.

Paul Ryan, the boyish young representative from Wisconsin who is injecting Romney’s presidential bid with fresh conservatism, is an ardent Randian who often cites Rand as his inspiration for entering public service and the philosophical basis for his economic vision for America.

“[T]he reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” Ryan said in a 2005 speech to the Rand-devoted Atlas Society.

“I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are,” he told the group, adding, “It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff.”

In fact, two years earlier Ryan told the Weekly Standard, “I give out ‘Atlas Shrugged’ as Christmas presents.”

Rand, “an atheist with a tartly Darwinian world view,” as the LA Times recently wrote, was a Russian émigré, author, and the philosophical force behind objectivism, the idea that people should pursue their own rational self-interest rather than the good of others. As such, laissez-faire capitalism is the ideal economic system according to Rand’s views, and the only system that embodies the Randian philosophy.

Rand rendered her philosophies into the bestselling “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead,” two books which form part of the modern conservative canon, books which helped inspire generations of conservatives and libertarians like Ryan. (Incidentally, Ryan’s mentor, Jack Kemp, the New York congressman and Bob Dole running mate, was also a huge fan. So was five-time US Senator Barry Goldwater, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson.)

But Ryan took his Randian devotion further, using it as the inspiration for his “Path to Prosperity,” his controversial austere budget plan that calls for ending Medicare as a mandate and replacing it with a voucher system.

You see, Rand abhorred social welfare programs like Medicare and Social Security (though she reportedly signed on for both when she reached eligibility). She frequently spoke of “makers” subsidizing society’s “takers,” and warned against such “parasitic behavior.”

“What’s unique about what’s happening today in government, in the world, in America, is that it’s as if we’re living in an Ayn Rand novel right now,” Ryan said in a series of videos posted to Facebook in 2009. “I think Ayn Rand did the best job of anybody to build a moral case of capitalism, and that morality of capitalism is under assault.”

Now here’s the funny thing. After years of praising Rand, assigning Rand readings to subordinates, and gifting friends and colleagues “Atlas Shrugged” for Christmas, Ryan has recently taken pains to distance himself from the conservative matriarch.

The congressman from Wisconsin characterized his Rand-devotion as “urban legend” in a recent interview in the National Review.

In fact, his romance with Rand was nothing more than a youthful dalliance, Ryan told the National Review. “I, like millions of young people in America, read Rand’s novels when I was young. I enjoyed them,” he said. “…[but] I reject her philosophy.”

Why the sudden about-face?

The atheist Rand, as the New Yorker pointed out in a recent piece, “is something of a philosophical wedge issue on the right, dividing religious conservatives from free market libertarians.” As such, continued the piece, “Ryan’s sidestep from Rand was politically essential. As a Mormon, the last thing Romney needs is to alienate the Christian Right further by putting an acolyte of an atheist on the ticket.”

And let’s not forget the sting of social Darwinism, a no-no in these tough economic times. As the LA Times suggests, “[B]y the time he introduced his austere budget plan this year… Ryan was being depicted as a harsh absolutist. He did not need to be tied too closely to Rand and her sink-or-swim imperatives.”

Which brings us to this, uttered by Ryan in the same National Review article. “I reject her philosophy,” Ryan told the Review. “It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview.”

And so, when push comes to shove, Ryan has shrugged off Ayn Rand. The only thing more insightful than Ryan’s devotion to Rand, it turns out, is his rejection of her.

Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.

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Bob Woodward is the author of numerous other books, including the co-author of 'All the President's Men.' (Chris Kleponis/AP)

Bob Woodward will release book on Obama and the economy

By Staff Writer / 08.14.12

Legendary reporter and writer Bob Woodward will release a book on President Obama’s economic policies next month titled “The Price of Politics.”

The book will examine how Obama and those in Congress handled the economic crisis and the status of the economy now.

“In a presidential election year when control of the House of Representatives, Senate, and White House hang in the balance, Woodward’s reporting provides a sweeping you-are-there account of how President Obama and the highest profile Republican and Democratic leaders in the United States Congress attempted to restore the American economy and improve the federal government’s fiscal condition,” the press release for the book reads.

The book will contain interviews with Obama, among others, according to the Washington Post.

The book will arrive in stores Sept. 11.

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HarperCollins is pulling out all the stops on the marketing of Michael Chabon's 'Telegraph Avenue,' which follows the story of the struggling co-owners of an Oakland, Calif., record store.

Pop-up record store will promote Michael Chabon's new novel

By Elizabeth Drake / 08.13.12

In Michael Chabon’s new novel "Telegraph Avenue,” old friends Nat and Archy have every reason to worry. They're the struggling co-owners of Brokeland, a used record store in Oakland, Calif. And now a new megastore is set to open up near them on Telegraph Avenue.

But if prospects are dim for Nat and Archy, the opposite seems to be the case for "Telegraph Avenue." With the novel’s release set for Sept. 11, HarperCollins is pulling out all the stops on the marketing of the latest book by Chabon, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
 
In order to gain publicity for "Telegraph Avenue," Harper Imprint’s marketing team has made plans to take an actual bookstore – Diesel, in Oakland – and transform it into a live counterpart to the fictional Brokeland Records. From Sept. 7 to Sept. 14, the store will sell used jazz records supplied by independent record seller Berigan Taylor.

Brokeland Record signs will be put in the place of the Diesel signs and Brokeland Records’ bags, buttons, and stamps will be sold. Diesel’s website will also temporarily offer a webpage for “Diesel in Brokeland.”

On Sept. 12, the store will hold a promotional party for Chabon that will include a fundraiser for the nonprofit organization 826, which offers classes in writing instruction and tutoring for students. Chabon has donated an 8-track player and a “Telegraph Avenue” mix to put up for raffle as prizes.

Leah Wasielewski, the imprint's director of marketing, told The Wall Street Journal that estimates that the budget for this new publicity drive is more than $250,000.

Chabon previously wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay." "Telegraph Avenue" is his first novel in five years. The film rights to "Telegraph Avenue" have been bought by the film and television producer Scott Rudin, who produced the 2011 film "Moneyball."
 
Harper put out a sampler of the e-book version of “Telegraph Avenue” in July. When the full e-book is released, it will contain an interactive map of Oakland, eight videos of Chabon, a playlist put together by Chabon, an animated cover, audio book clips done by actor Clarke Peters, and a “Telegraph Avenue” theme song written by Peter Lerman.

Elizabeth Drake is a Monitor contributor.

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Helen Gurley Brown was editor of Cosmopolitan magazine for more than three decades. (Marty Lederhandler/AP)

Helen Gurley Brown shook up the gender roles, revolutionized Cosmopolitan

By / 08.13.12

Helen Gurley Brown, the writer credited with turning Cosmopolitan magazine into a bible for single women and who shocked the U.S. with her book “Sex and the Single Girl,” died today at age 90, according to the Hearst Corporation.

“Helen Gurley Brown was an icon,” said Hearst Corporation CEO Frank A. Bennack, Jr. in a statement. “Her formula for honest and straightforward advice about relationships, career and beauty revolutionized the magazine industry.”

Brown was born in Green Forest, Ark. and later moved with her family to Los Angeles. After graduating from Woodbury Business College, she held various secretarial jobs, and her writing caught her boss’s eye when she was working at advertising agency Foote Cone & Belding as the executive secretary to board chairman Don Beldin. Beldin promoted her to copywriter.

She later married David Brown, a Hollywood executive who produced films such as “Jaws” and “The Sting.”

Brown published “Sex and the Single Girl” in 1962. The book was shunned by some for encouraging sexual relationships before marriage and its advice to women to become financially independent.

Following “Sex and the Single Girl,” Brown became editor of Cosmopolitan in 1965 after sending the president of the Hearst Corporation a proposal of how to transform the magazine. Before Brown’s tenure, the magazine ran advice to housewives, then later switched to fiction and investigative articles. Cosmopolitan quickly became devoted to beauty and romance tips for women under Brown’s reign.

Though she was replaced as editor in 1997, Brown remained at the company overseeing the foreign editions of the magazine. Her official title was editor of all international editions, a position she held until her death, and she still went into the office almost every day, according to the Hearst Corporation.

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Amazon's Kindle DX was discounted 29 percent on Friday, prompting many to speculate that the company is attempting to clear out inventory.

A new Amazon tablet on its way?

By Husna Haq / 08.13.12

If Gizmodo, PCWorld, and a bevy of other sites are to be believed, it’ll be raining tablets and e-readers pretty soon.

Rumors are flying that, as it aggressively discounts and discontinues older models, Amazon is on the brink of releasing new tablets – just in time for back-to-school season.

Gizmodo led the charge with a story last Friday, “$110 Says All the New Kindles Are Coming Next Week.” When bargain hunters opened their Amazon Deal of the Day email Friday morning, Gizmodo writes, “they were met with a bargain basement Kindle DX. Amazon’s black sheep 10-inch e-ink tablet is $110 off today, a 29% discount. It’s the kind of deal you offer when you want to clear out inventory, fast.”

Gizmodo continued, “And it’s not just the DX. Every single Lightning Deal today is Kindle-related: cases, speakers docks, sleeves. Sixteen deals in all, a waterfall of discounts. It’s a fire sale, if you’ll pardon the pun.”

What’s more, there’s an unusually hefty wait time on the Kindle Touch, the ad-free version is only available through third party vendors, and the Kindle Touch 3G is currently unavailable. Clearly, Amazon is looking ahead. Eager to get out with the old, in with the new. (Incidentally, Gizmodo said Amazon did the same thing two years ago when it displayed the Kindle 2 as sold-out one morning and began selling the Kindle 3 later that same afternoon.)

So what’s Amazon’s hot new tablet – or tablets – going to be? Rumors point toward a 10-inch Kindle Fire 2, along with one or two other new tablets, better equipped to compete with Apple’s iPad. PC World muses the new larger Fire may have a quad core processor, front-facing camera, micro USB port, “and maybe even an HDMI-out port.” It’s also likely to be lighter and thinner, with a better display and pumped-up design. Tech observers say it’ll be unveiled as early as this week.

And Amazon’s not alone in the tablet bonanza. Barnes and Noble is slashing its prices as well, offering a 16GB Nook Tablet for $199 ($50 less than original price), an 8GB Nook Tablet for $179 (down from $199), and the Nook Color for $149. Barnes and Noble doesn’t want to miss out on back-to-school buying frenzy either. Whether it’s slashing prices simply to better compete with the likes of Amazon or to prepare for new inventory, however, remains to be seen.

The good news: As more players wade into the tablet wars – like Microsoft with its new Surface and Google with its Nexus 7 and perhaps another on the horizon – we’re looking forward to better tablets and lower prices.

Stay tuned for an Amazon announcement soon.

Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.

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The publisher, Thomas Nelson, said the history in 'The Jefferson Lies' – a book by a leading evangelical intended to counter images of Jefferson as a 'racist' and 'anti-Christian secularist' – was not 'adequately supported.'

'The Jefferson Lies' is recalled by publisher Thomas Nelson

By Staff Writer / 08.13.12

The book “The Jefferson Lies” by author David Barton has been recalled by publishers after numerous complaints of historical inaccuracies.

Barton, who was named by Time Magazine as one of the 25 most influential evangelical people, promoted the book as clearing up numerous myths about one of America’s founding fathers.

“History books routinely teach that Jefferson was an anti-Christian secularist, rewriting the Bible to his liking, fathering a child with one of his slaves, and little more than another racist, bigoted colonist – but none of those claims are actually true,” the press release for the book read.

The publisher, Thomas Nelson, said in a statement that it had received complaints from numerous readers that there were factual errors in the book, which reached the New York Times bestseller list in May.

“We took all of those concerns seriously [and] learned that there were some historical details included in the book that were not adequately supported,” said the publisher, which focuses on releasing Christian-based titles.

Barton told the newspaper the Tennessean that he had little warning of the situation.

“All I got was an email saying it was canceled,” Barton said. “It was a complete surprise.”

Barton co-founded and currently serves as president for an organization called WallBuilders, which is a “pro-family organization that presents America's forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on our moral, religious and constitutional heritage” as stated on its website.

A writer and professor, Warren Throckmorton, co-wrote a book titled “Getting Jefferson Right” that criticized Barton’s version of events in “The Jefferson Lies.” Throckmorton told the Tennessean that one of Barton’s errors lay in his description of Jefferson’s attitude toward slaves. Barton wrote that Jefferson never freed any of his slaves, said Throckmorton. Throckmorton says Jefferson freed two of them.

Barton says that’s incorrect.

“This is one of the cases where he is just nuts,” he said of Throckmorton.

Others who asked Thomas Nelson to investigate factual inaccuracies in the book included several ministers from Ohio.

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