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Book News for Tuesday, September 9, 2008

  • Hallows Be Thy Name: J. K. Rowling has kicked the crap out of her fans. Well, one of them, anyway — the one who wanted to publish the unauthorized Harry Potter encyclopedia.

    A U.S. judge on Monday halted publication of an unofficial encyclopedic companion to the popular Harry Potter book series in a copyright case author J.K. Rowling argued would threaten other writers.

    Judge Robert Patterson in U.S. District Court in Manhattan wrote in his opinion that an independent U.S. book publisher, RDR Books, "had failed to establish an affirmative defense of fair use" and that publication of "The Harry Potter Lexicon" should not proceed.

    [...] Monday's ruling said that if an injunction on the lexicon was not issued "defendant is likely to continue infringing plaintiffs' copyright in the future." It said the encyclopedia would not harm sales of the novels, but could impact the market for Rowling's companion books.

    This is very, very true. Why, I've even heard vast numbers of Harry Potter fanatics chatter recently about how they would never buy a book from lowly cow J. K. Rowling when they could get the milk for free from obsessed online fan Steve Vander Ark!

  • Dis-Enchanted Booker: The six finalists on the shortlist for this year's Man Booker Prize have been announced.

    So far, the commentary seems to focus on what didn't make the cut:

    The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie was not chosen as a finalist, both startling and delighting British critics and subsequently prompting the Booker judges to explain why Mr. Rushdie was snubbed.

    "We're braced for it," Louise Doughty, one of five judges on the panel, told The Guardian newspaper, referring to the anticipated criticism over Mr. Rushdie's exclusion.

    "In the opinion of these five people taken together, Salman Rushdie's was not one of the top six books for us," said Michael Portillo, the judging panel's chairman. "We didn't have a huge debate about it."

    And the finalists are:

    A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz

    The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

    The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

    The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant

    Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher

    Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

    The winner will be announced on October 14th. Stay tuned!

  • Within The War Within: Even as the Washington Post continues to excerpt Bob Woodward's upcoming The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008, media outlets like CNN are jumping on the book's white-hot revelations about the Bush administration — like this one:

    The dramatic drop in violence in Iraq is due in large part to a secret program the U.S. military has used to kill terrorists, according to a new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward.

    The program — which Woodward compares to the World War II era Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb — must remain secret for now or it would "get people killed," Woodward said Monday on CNN's Larry King Live.

    Which begs the age-old question: Is it still a secret when you tell everyone about it on Larry King?

  • eWhat? Is this the newspaper reader of the future? Or the present?

    Or just some silly marketing gimmick no sane person will ever use?

÷ ÷ ÷

Brockman is the head writer for the daily Book News posts on the blog. In his free time he's hard at work on his fictional memoir, which changes titles daily.

The views and commentary posted by Brockman are entirely his own, and are not representative of the whole of Powell's Books, its employees, or any sane human being.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. The Enchantress of Florence
    Used Hardcover $5.95
  2. A Fraction of the Whole: A Novel
    Used Hardcover $9.95
  3. The Secret Scripture
    Used Hardcover $6.95
  4. The White Tiger
    Used Hardcover $10.95
  5. Clothes on Their Backs Used Trade Paper $9.50

  6. The War Within: A Secret White House... Used Hardcover $3.95
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows...
    Used Hardcover $4.50

4 Responses to "Book News for Tuesday, September 9, 2008"

    lynnr September 9th, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    Ok, I admit it...I'm an online NYTimes reader. Sad, but true. Also, WAPO, and several others. If I didn't, I'd get buried by newsprint...I still get The Nation by mail and I'm not giving up my magazines for this gall darn internet thing.

    Brockman (Post Author) September 9th, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    No shame there, Lynn. I get my Grey Lady delivered to my Hotmail door every morning!

    Kurt September 9th, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Is there just a tiny hint of irony in a BLOG that repeatedly bemoans the replacement of print media by html?

    Brockman (Post Author) September 10th, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Kurt, there is no irony anywhere in this blog. None whatsoever.

    I still write this blog by hand every single day on good, old-fashioned papyrus, as nature always intended.

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