Literature

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Author Winston Groom dies at age 77
Forrest Gump author Winston Groom speaking at the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant event (cropped)
Forrest Gump author Winston Groom speaking at the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant event (cropped) Credit: Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Author Winston Groom has died at the age of 77. He is best known for his novel Forrest Gump, which was eventually turned into a global box office hit and award-winning movie.

"Saddened to learn that Alabama has lost one of our most gifted writers," Alabama governor Kay Ivey said when confirming Groom's death. "While he will be remembered for creating Forrest Gump, Winston Groom was a talented journalist & noted author of American history. Our hearts & prayers are extended to his family."

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Barack Obama's memoir to be published on November 17
Cover of "A Promised Land" by Barack Obama
Cover of "A Promised Land" by Barack Obama Credit: Crown Publishing Group

"A Promised Land", the first volume of former President Barack Obama's memoir covering his presidential campaign and first term in office, is set to be published on November 17.

"I've spent the last few years reflecting on my presidency, and in 'A Promised Land' I've tried to provide an honest accounting of my presidential campaign and my time in office: the key events and people who shaped it; my take on what I got right and the mistakes I made; and the political, economic, and cultural forces that my team and I had to confront then — and that as a nation we are grappling with still," so Obama in a statement. "In the book, I've also tried to give readers a sense of the personal journey that Michelle and I went through during those years, with all the incredible highs and lows."

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Australian bookshop to no longer stock Harry Potter books after JK Rowling's transgender controversy
Screenshot of Rabble Books & Games' post, announcing they will stop stocking JK Rowling's books
Screenshot of Rabble Books & Games' post, announcing they will stop stocking JK Rowling's books Credit: Rabble Books & Games, Courtesy of Facebook

Perth bookshop Rabble Books and Games has announced they will stop stocking JK Rowling's Harry Potter books to make the shop a "safer place" for its customers. This comes after Rowling came under fire for her comments about transgender people and her misleading portrayal of cross-dressing in her recent book "Troubled Blood".

"While stocking a book isn't an endorsement (good grief, that would be a minefield), and we will always take orders for books that aren't in stock, there are more worthy books to put on the shelf – books that don't harm communities and won't make us sad to unpack them," so the store's statement. "We know that HP means a lot to a lot of people and that often you want to share them with the youngsters in your life. We will always be happy to order them in for you, as with any books we don’t stock," they wrote and added that all the profits of those sales will be going to the Australian organisations TransFolk of WA.

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Mary Trump's memoir "Too Much and Never Enough" sold 1.35 million copies in first week
Cover of "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man" by Mary L. Trump, Simon & Schuster
Cover of "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man" by Mary L. Trump, Simon & Schuster Credit: Simon & Schuster, via Amazon

The memoir of Donald Trump's niece Mary Trump has solved 1.35 million copies in its first week after release. The book has been translated and sold in five different languages and is now in its 17th printing.

"Mary Trump’s memoir has transcended the usual ceiling for political books to reach a larger audience of people who want to read stories about unusual families," so CEO Jonathan Karp of Simon & Schuster.

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Mary Trump's memoir describes Trump as a cheater with a fragile ego
Cover of "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man" by Mary L. Trump, Simon & Schuster
Cover of "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man" by Mary L. Trump, Simon & Schuster Credit: Simon & Schuster, via Amazon

Various media outlets have obtained a copy of Mary Trump's memoir "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man", which is set to be released on July 14.

In her book, Ms Trump alleges that Donald Trump paid "a smart kid with a reputation for being a good test taker" to take his SAT test as he was "worried that his grade point average, which put him far from the top of his class, would scuttle his efforts to get accepted."

"Donald is not simply weak, his ego is a fragile thing that must be bolstered every moment because he knows deep down that he is nothing of what he claims to be," Ms Trump writes, adding that "this is far beyond garden-variety narcissism."

In her book, Ms Trump who has a has a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, reveals she was the source that supplied the New York Times in 2018 with Donald Trump's tax documents, providing them with 19 boxes of documents.

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Sequel to "Ready Player One" to be published in November
Cover of "Ready Player Two"
Cover of "Ready Player Two" Credit: Penguin Random House

"Ready Player Two" the sequel to Ernest Cline's bestseller "Ready Player One" is set to be released by Penguin Random House on November 24. No synopsis has been given yet.

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Mary Trump's memoir to be released two weeks earlier due to high demand
Cover of "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man" by Mary L. Trump, Simon & Schuster
Cover of "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man" by Mary L. Trump, Simon & Schuster Credit: Simon & Schuster, via Amazon

Mary Trump's memoir "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man" will be released two weeks earlier than planned. The book was scheduled to be released on July 28 but due to "high demand and extraordinary interest in this book", it will now be available on July 14, so publisher Simon & Schuster in a statement on Monday.

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Judge rules Simon & Schuster can move forward with distributing Mary Trump's memoir
Cover of "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man" by Mary L. Trump, Simon & Schuster
Cover of "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man" by Mary L. Trump, Simon & Schuster Credit: Simon & Schuster, via Amazon

On Wednesday, a New York appellate judge lifted the temporary restraining order against Simon & Schuster and ruled that the publisher can move forward with printing and shipping Mary Trump's memoir "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man". Simon & Schuster previously said that they had already printed and distributed 75,000 copies and that they support Mary Trump's "right to tell her story."

The New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division has not lifted the restraining order against Mary Trump until her hearing on July 10.

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Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafón passed away aged 55
Carlos Ruiz Zafón at a book signing
Carlos Ruiz Zafón at a book signing Credit: Mutari / Public domain

Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafón has died at age 55 in his Los Angeles home. According to La Vanguardia, the bestselling novelist was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2018. Zafón wrote eight novels that were translated into over 40 languages and sold more than 38 million copies.

"We have lost one of the world’s most read and most admired Spanish writers. Carlos Ruiz Zafón, a key novelist of our epoch, made a significant contribution to modern literature," so Spanish prime minister Predo Sánchez on Twitter.

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Memoir of Trump's niece Mary Trump to be published on July 28
Trump  at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Md, 2020
Trump at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Md, 2020 Credit: The White House from Washington, DC / Public domain

Mary Trump's book "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man" is set to be published on July 28, according to publisher Simon & Schuster. The 55-year-old trained clinical psychologist is the daughter of Donald Trump's late brother Fred Trump Jr and has described the time spent at her grandparents' estate with Trump and his siblings as "a nightmare of traumas, destructive relationships, and a tragic combination of neglect and abuse".

The memoir's description on Amazon says the book is "revelatory, authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him" and that it "shines a bright light on the dark history of their family in order to explain how her uncle became the man who now threatens the world’s health, economic security, and social fabric".

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"The search is over!" - Fenn Treasure hunt solved
The search is over! Forrest has confirmed that the treasure has been found (6/6/20)
The search is over! Forrest has confirmed that the treasure has been found (6/6/20) Credit: Screenshot, Old Santa Fe Trading Co

In his 2010 self-published memoir "The Thrill of the Chase: A Memoir" Forrest Fenn, art and antiquities collector, describes a treasure chest containing gold, rare coins and other treasures hidden in the Rocky Mountains. On Sunday, Fenn announced on his website that the treasure, believed to be worth over $1 million, was found by an unnamed man "under a canopy of stars in the lush, forested vegetation of the Rocky Mountains."

Fenn wrote he had not moved the treasure in the ten years since hiding it and congratulates the "thousands of people who participated in the search and hope they will continue to be drawn by the promise of other discoveries."

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NYC libraries to reopen as early as July
The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library Credit: © Ashley Winkler, Pendect

New York City libraries, which experienced a surge in sign-ups since March, announced their reopening plans for their 92 branches. Libraries will reopen as early as July in a slow and deliberate multi-step process.

"There is going to be a lot of prep time at our facilities for our custodial staff and our IT teams to go out to each of our 60 libraries to see how we can reconfigure workspaces and place floor decals and safety signage before we even start bringing the public and service staff in. Once we figure that out and the commutes are nailed down and we have enough staff, we will slowly open the doors for a limited amount of service to the public," so Nick Higgins, Chief Librarian at Brooklyn Public Library.

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Mikel Jollett releases memoire 'Hollywood Park'
Mikel Jollett performing with The Airborne Toxic Event
Mikel Jollett performing with The Airborne Toxic Event Credit: Brennan Schnell / CC BY (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Mikel Jollett, lead singer of The Airborne Toxic Event, has released his first book, a memoir 'Hollywood Park'. In it, he chronicles his life, from growing up in the cult Synanon and his subsequent escape to his struggles with relationships in his later years. The memoir is accompanied by an album with the same title.

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J.K. Rowling has started releasing her new book chapter by chapter for free

The author of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling, has launched a new website where she has started publishing a children's book that she initially wrote for and read to her own children years ago. On the website she states that the book called "The Ickabog" will be released in instances of one to three chapters over the course of seven weeks. The book is free to read and the first two chapters are already available.

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Jim Morrison's Paris Journal is up for auction

Jim Morrison's Paris Journal is up for auction in Beverly Hills this June. The journal, which he kept in Paris until his death in 1971, contains handwritten poems and reflections of the musician. Its value is set between $80,000 and $100,000.

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Captain Tom Moore to release two books this year

Captain Tom Moore, the British WWII veteran who has raised millions for health care workers by walking laps in his garden, is set to release two new books this year. His autobiography will be titled "Tomorrow Will Be A Good Day" and will be published on September 17. His yet-unnamed children's book is set to be released on October 1.

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Andy Serkis does a live reading of 'The Hobbit'

Andy Serkis, the actor who portraited Gollum in the Lord of the Ring movies, is hosting a live reading of 'The Hobbit' on YouTube on Friday to raise money for UK charities. The 12-hour live stream starts at 10am on Friday 8th May BST (5am EST, 2am PST).

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Daniel Radcliffe reads first Harry Potter chapter on WizardingWorld.com
Hogwarts letter
Hogwarts letter Credit: unsplash.com/@liamtruong

Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe is reading the first chapter 'The Boy Who Lived' of Philosopher’s Stone/Sorcerer’s Stone, the first books in the Harry Potter series, on the Wizarding World website. The platform has introduced their new program 'Harry Potter At Home' and will release more chapters read by celebrities over the next weeks.

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The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead wins 2020 Pulitzer Prize
Colson Whitehead holding a trophy
Colson Whitehead holding a trophy Credit: Mccormickbenjaminj / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Colson Whitehead's novel The Nickel Boys has won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for "distinguished fiction published in book form during the year by an American author, preferably dealing with American life". Whitehead, who also won the prize for his 2016 novel The Underground Railroad Whitehead, is now the fourth writer to have won the Pulitzer for fiction twice.

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Stephenie Meyer to publish new Twilight Book 'Midnight Sun'

Stephenie Meyer, author of the YA vampire book series Twilight, has announced the publication of her new Twilight book Midnight Sun on her website. The story is retelling the first Twilight book from the perspective of the vampire Edward Cullen. Meyer had abandoned the book after the first chapters leaked online 12 years ago. The book is set to be published on August 4, 2020.

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Stephen King apologizes that the pandemic feels like living in one of his stories

The author has said that fans told him that the coronavirus pandemic feels "like we're living in a Stephen King story" and said his "only response to that is, 'I'm sorry'". Having covered the topic of a global pandemic in his book "The Stand" from 1978 the author added, "that sooner or later, there was going to be a virus that was going to communicate to the public at large".

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Non-profit Internet Archive provides free access to 1.4 million books

Announcing a "National Emergency Library" the non-profit organization Internat Archive makes 1.4 million books online for free. The organization stated that the measure was taken in order to provide "a global community of displaced learners" with access to learning materials. The collection mainly contains digitalized books that don't have an ebook version available.

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French illustrator Albert Uderzo dies aged 92

Albert Uderzo, the illustrator behind the french comic Astérix le Gaulois (Astérix​ and Obelix) has died in his sleep after suffering a heart attack on March, 24th. He passed away at his home in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. His son-in-law, Bernard de Choisy stated, that Uderzo's death was unrelated to the coronavirus.