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Book News: Fight Over Philosopher Ends With Gunfire In Russia

Filed by KOSU News in Art & Life.
September 17, 2013

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

One Russian man reportedly shot another during an argument about the 18th century German philosopher Immanuel Kant, The Wall Street Journal reports. Two men standing in line for beer in southern Russia began arguing about the Critique of Pure Reason author, and “decided to find out which of them is a bigger fan of this philosopher, and a tempestuous argument escalated into a fist fight.” At that point, investigators say, one man shot the other with a non-fatal bullet. The injured man will recover. The suspected shooter was picked up by the police and charged with “intentional infliction of serious harm.”

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates will publish a memoir, Alfred A. Knopf announced Monday. DUTY: Memoirs of a Secretary at War will be published in January. In the book’s introduction, excerpted in a press release, Gates writes that he will address not only the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also “my political war with Congress each day I was in office and the dramatic contrast between my public respect, bipartisanship, and calm, and my private frustration, disgust, and anger.”

James Patterson, the novelist who has sold more than 280 million books, has pledged to donate $1 million to various independent bookstores. The author tells CBS, “We’re making this transition to e-books, and that’s fine and good and terrific and wonderful, but we’re not doing it in an organized, sane, civilized way. So what’s happening right now is a lot of bookstores are disappearing.” The author says his two conditions for donating to a bookstore are, “one, is it a viable bookstore, and secondly, do they have a children’s section?”

Tessa Hadley has a new short story, “Bad Dreams” in The New Yorker: “Cold night air struck her shoulders. It was strange to stare into the room with wide-open eyes and feel the darkness yielding only the smallest bit, as if it were pressing back against her efforts to penetrate it. Something had happened, she was sure, while she was asleep.”

NPR’s Lynn Neary reports on changes at the NBA (books, not basketball): “In recent years, the National Book Awards have been criticized for nominating obscure authors. … Thus the changes instituted this year: nonwriters such as librarians, booksellers and critics have been included in the judging panels. And instead of one announcement of five nominees in each category, this week’s rollout of longer lists, 10 in each category, followed in about a month by a short list.”

Brad Leithauser writes about pet words for The New Yorker: “They are stray cats taken in by the author — as in John Updike’s adoption of ‘lambent’ and ‘crescent’ or Anne Tyler’s of ‘nubbin’ or John Cheever’s of ‘inestimable’ or H. G. Wells’s of ‘incontinently’ or Thackeray’s of ‘artless.’ Each of these words presents the critic with a little puzzle of devotion: What was it about this particular package of syllables? Why was this stray cat escorted into the author’s studio and offered a saucer of cream and a plump pillow by the fireplace?”

[Copyright 2013 NPR]

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