What happens when one of the “Big Three” science fiction writers decides to take on the most widely-read book in the world? Over at Open Culture, Josh Jones takes a look at Isaac Asimov‘s “fun, chatty, non-academic” exploration of The Bible. “[Asimov] explains that while humans are inherently irrational creatures, he nonetheless felt a duty ‘to be a skeptic, to insist on evidence, to want things to make sense,’” Jones writes. “Part of that duty, for Asimov, included making the Bible make sense for those who appreciate how deeply embedded it is in world culture and history, but who may not be interested in just taking it on faith.”
New releases this week include the much-hyped The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume I. Also out in nonfiction is President Obama’s picture book Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (author of Seabiscuit), as reviewed by the New York Times, Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, and, for hip-hop fans, Jay-Z’s memoir Decoded.
Henry Holt & Company stopped printing and selling Charles Pellegrino‘s The Last Train From Hiroshima last week, following allegations of fraudulent sources and fabrication in the work. The New York Times examines the debacle: “If book publishers are supposed to be the gatekeepers,” novelist and Studio 360 host Kurt Anderson asks, “tell me exactly what they’re closing the gate to.”
Anyone who cares about the financial viability of the book business should read Author’s Guild President Scott Turow’s open letter on the implications of the government’s threatened anti-trust suit against major publishers and Apple over alleged collusion in e-book pricing.