The novel that had Scarlett Johansson filing charges of “fraudulent and illegal exploitation of (her) name” is due out next month in its English-language iteration. The First Thing You See by Grégoire Delacourt is ostensibly about a garage mechanic who ends up falling for a Johansson lookalike. For more on the legality of literature, here’s an essay for The Millions on J.D. Salinger and U.S. copyright.
Canonical literature isn’t the only way to learn about America. The bestseller list can be equally as telling. Matthew Kahn is reading 100 years of No. 1 bestsellers from 1913 to 2013. He blogs about the books and discusses the project in an interview with Salon’s Laura Miller. When Miller asks what makes a bestseller, he claims, “A lot of it is just a matter of accessibility. A focus on plot and character rather than structure and the prose itself.”
The folks at The New Yorker’s Book Bench offer their take at The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books. (Spoiler Alert: Katherine Hepburn gets a shoutout.)
You may have heard that J.K. Rowling published a crime novel last year under the pen name Robert Galbraith. According to her alter ego’s website, Rowling will publish another novel as Galbraith, one featuring (again) the private investigator Cormoran Strike. (If you missed it, you should definitely read Elizabeth Minkel’s recent piece on Ron/Hermione and authorial regrets.)
“We have documented cases of at least 47 writers and journalists currently imprisoned in China. The average sentence for a writer is eight years in prison, and some sentences are even harsher.” PEN American Writers send a letter to Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, in response to his visit to the U.S. We have a few pieces about censorship to pair with it.