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Book News: Seinfeld Exonerated, Laura Bush Exposed, and More

  • Mistress of Her Domain: A federal appeals court ruled that Jerry Seinfeld's wife, Jessica, "did not plagiarize techniques for sneaking healthy foods into child-friendly dishes" in her book Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food.

    You may recall that Missy Chase Lapine, author of Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids Favorite Meals, sued Mrs. Seinfeld for plagiarism.

    Last year a federal judge threw out the plagiarism claims and declined to consider the slander claim.

    In upholding that ruling, the appeals panel found there were major differences in the content, style and presentation of the two books.

    "Stockpiling vegetable purees for covert use in children's food is an idea that cannot be copyrighted," the appeals court ruled.

    Yadda yadda yadda, case dismissed.

  • Heart Less: The New York Times' Michiko Kakutani reviews Spoken from the Heart, former First Lady Laura Bush's brand-new memoir, which includes "a remarkably raw and searing account" of the fatal 1963 car accident in which she killed a classmate.

    Overall, Kakutani calls it a mixed bag, saying it's "really two books":

    The first is a deeply felt, keenly observed account of her childhood and youth in Texas — an account that captures a time and place with exacting emotional precision and that demonstrates how Mrs. Bush's lifelong love of books has imprinted her imagination. The second book is a thoroughly conventional autobiography by a politician's wife — a rote recitation of travel, public appearances and meetings with foreign dignitaries that sheds not the faintest new light on the presidency of the author's husband, George W. Bush.

    Guess we'll have to wait until November for that new light. Or rather, more shadows and cobwebs, as the case may be.

  • Ursula Major: Lately, Oregon Public Broadcasting's call-in radio show Think Out Loud has focused quite a bit on local writers.

    Last week they profiled Willy Vlautin; today's guest was legendary SF author Ursula K. Le Guin.

    Oregon icon Ursula K. Le Guin writes science fiction, fantasy, poetry, and children's books. She has won multiple honors for dozens of works, starting with her early novel A Wizard of Earthsea, and including the Library of Congress' Living Legends award and several honors for lifetime achievement.

    The Oregonian recently called her the "Queen Mother of Science Fiction." I asked her if she was, and she laughed.

    "You should hear what my family did with that. Don't ever let anyone call you Queen Mother."

    Click here to listen to the show.

Book News Round-up:

  • The Washington Post has a transcript of an online chat with unauthorized Oprah biographer Kitty Kelley, who answered questions and defended her mud-slinging ways.
  • Marilyn Monroe's actual correspondence will be collected into a book due this fall. Titled Fragments, the book will "contain rare photographs of Monroe...as well as reproductions of her typewritten and handwritten letters from the late 1950s and early '60s."
  • The newly elected leaders of the Authors Guild make for quite an all-star turnout: Scott Turow is the new president, while Judy Blume will serve as VP. That's a ticket I can get behind.
  • "The most notorious American traitor you've probably never heard of" is the subject of Andro Linklater's book An Artist in Treason: The Extraordinary Double Life of General James Wilkinson, which was featured today on NPR's Morning Edition.
  • Just in time for Mother's Day, USA Today offers five books only a mother could love. Assuming your mother doesn't have a Ph.D and read lots of philosophy, history, science, or other complicated subjects that can't be reduced to a brightly colored greeting card or a Lifetime movie of the week.
  • The lit magazine n+1 now offers all of its past content online. (Via.) [Note: Please read our update in Friday's post.]

÷ ÷ ÷

Chris Bolton co-created the all-ages webcomic Smash, which will soon be published by Candlewick Press, and created the comedy series Wage Slaves. His short story "The Red Room" was published in Portland Noir from Akashic Books.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. Portland Noir (Akashic Noir)
    Used Trade Paper $8.50
  2. Deceptively Delicious: Simple...
    Used Spiral/comb $9.95
  3. Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for...
    Used Trade Paper $6.95
  4. A Wizard of Earthsea: The First Book... Used Trade Paper $8.00
  5. Spoken from the Heart
    Used Hardcover $3.38
  6. Oprah: A Biography
    Used Hardcover $3.48
  7. Lavinia: A Novel
    Used Hardcover $9.50
  8. An Artist in Treason: The... Used Hardcover $11.95

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