As if the guy needs any additional distractions to keep him from writing the seventh (or eighth!) books in his Song of Ice and Fire series, George R. R. Martin recently decided to join Twitter. If he ends book six with ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, then I presume you’ll know why.
Lots of new books out this week: Where Mortals Sleep, previously unpublished short fiction by Kurt Vonnegut, with a foreword by Dave Eggers; A Life, one of what will be several biographies of J.D. Salinger arriving over the next couple of years; Stanley Fish tells us How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One; Brian Greene introduced the masses to string theory with The Elegant Universe, and now he's back with The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos; Julie Orringer's The Invisible Bridge is out in paperback; and finally, from Penguin Classics, The Penguin Book of Victorian Women in Crime: Forgotten Cops and Private Eyes from the Time of Sherlock Holmes.
There’s a scandal gaining traction in the UK, and it involves sending books through the mail. The country’s justice secretary, Chris Grayling, is standing by a new law that bans inmates from receiving parcels of books. According to him, the law is intended to make inmates “earn [their] privileges.” (h/t Page-Turner)
Some copies of Mad About the Boy – the latest installment in Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones series – included passages from British actor David Jason’s memoir, which was being released on the same day. Supposedly the entire thing was one big mistake. Over at the LA Times, however, Dan Zevin imagines “a juicier scenario.”
The premier English-language translator of modern Chinese fiction, Howard Goldblatt, says flatly that Western audiences don’t read Chinese books. However, with last year’s Nobel Prize win for Mo Yan (and the rave review his novel Pow! received in the Times), Goldblatt and other scholars are hoping that could change.