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Book News: 'Life Of Pi' Author Strips Down For Charity

Canadian author Yann Martel smiles for photographers after winning the Man Booker Prize.
John Li
/
Getty Images
Canadian author Yann Martel smiles for photographers after winning the Man Booker Prize.

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

  • A group of prominent Canadian authors are stripping down for a (mostly) nude calendar. Proceeds from the Bare It For Books project will go to PEN Canada, an organization that promotes freedom of expression. The (actually kind of hunky) Life of Pi author Yann Martel will be Mr. December.
  • Toni Morrison will use Google Hangouts to hold a "digital book signing" on Wednesday to talk about her novel Home.Minus the book signing part, presumably.
  • Renowned English poet Simon Armitage plans to walk 260 miles along the coast of England, trading poetry recitals for food and shelter. Let's hope he has a backup plan.
  • The legendary Beat novelist William S. Burroughs once appeared in a Nike commercial. Who knew? It's almost as weird as that time Jack Kerouac was featured in a GAP ad (also not a joke).
  • Sam Sacks, in The New Yorker, on why we should bring back illustrated literary fiction: "[T]he interplay between art and text is rich with possibilities that few fiction writers have even begun to explore. Illustrations are fun. Giving up on them sacrifices real pleasures for a needlessly narrow conception of literary purity."
  • The Best Books Coming Out This Week:

  • Gerbrand Bakker's Ten White Geese,the story of a woman who takes refuge on an isolated farm in Wales, is already an international bestseller. NPR's Jacki Lyden calls it "beautiful" and "mysterious and often menacing."
  • Ned Beauman's deeply weird novel The Teleportation Accident, about the misadventures of Weimar Republic-era stage designer Egon Loeser, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
  • NPR's Rachel Martin calls With or Without You, Domenica Ruta's new memoir about growing up with her wildly troubled mother, "beautifully written [and] harrowing."
  • Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Annalisa Quinn is a contributing writer, reporter, and literary critic for NPR. She created NPR's Book News column and covers literature and culture for NPR.
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    • In Gerbrand Bakker's mysterious — and often menacing — story, a Welsh woman seeks refuge from her past. But as she hopes of strength, she is also quickly reminded of her own mortality. Ten White Geese, which was translated from Dutch, has become an international best-seller.
    • Domenica Ruta grew up in a working-class Massachusetts town with a mother who dreamed big — but also bashed in windshields with a baseball bat and hung around with drug dealers. Her new memoir, With or Without You, is a harrowing but beautifully written account of her life with — and her efforts to break away from — her mother.
    • In a new novel, the 1920s writer known for her sharp wit becomes resident ghost and adviser to a modern woman struggling to find her own voice. And the two women — spirit and flesh — come to depend on each other.
    • Philida, a slave, is promised her freedom by her owner, who is also the father of her children. But the promise is broken and she takes the matter into her own hands, in this novel by acclaimed South African novelist Andre Brink that was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.