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Book News: Zimmerman Juror Drops Book Plans

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

  • Juror B37 has dropped her plans to write a book about the George Zimmerman trial. In a statement released by literary agent Sharlene Martin of Martin Literary Management, Juror B37 wrote, "I realize it was necessary for our jury to be sequestered in order to protest our verdict from unfair outside influence, but that isolation shielded me from the depth of pain that exists among the general public over every aspect of this case. The potential book was always intended to be a respectful observation of the trial from my and my husband's perspectives solely and it was to be an observation that our 'system' of justice can get so complicated that it creates a conflict with our 'spirit' of justice." Juror B37 told CNN's Anderson Cooper in an anonymous interview on Monday night that she thought Zimmerman's "heart was in the right place," but that "it just went terribly wrong." Martin told The Wall Street Journal that the decision on the book "was joint."
  • BookRiot features photos of the Cleveland Public Library's outdoor "reading nest," an enormous nest for sitting and reading perched outside the library. Designed by the artist Mark Reigelman, the nest is made from more than 10,000 pieces of wood and measures 13 feet high and 36 feet in diameter.
  • Patrick Juola, one of the linguistic experts who helped The Sunday Times determine that The Cuckoo's Calling was written by J.K. Rowling, tells TIME magazine that writers' fingerprints can be found in the little words: "Pr[e]positions and articles and similar little function words are actually very individual. It's actually very, very hard to change them because they're so subconscious."
  • Following the news that Robert Galbraith is actually a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, our colleagues at The Onion reveal that J.K. Rowling is, in turn, a pseudonym for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich: "Gingrich went on to say while he mostly tried to keep his political life separate from his fiction, the character of Ron Weasley was based almost entirely on Tom Daschle."
  • In 2011, the controversial French novelist Michel Houellebecq failed to show up for part of his book tour, and speculation ran wild that he had been kidnapped, perhaps by al-Qaida. Houellebecq reappeared a few days later with no explanations. The Guardian reports that a French film company has now announced that it completed filming a movie starring the author and called L'enlèvement de Michel Houellebecq (The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq). Director Guillaume Nicloux has promised to reveal where the writer was for those mysterious several days. Houellebecq is notorious in France for his claim that Islam is "the stupidest religion" and his subsequent trial for inciting racial hatred. (He was found not guilty.)
  • The New York Times' David Carr explains why Barnes & Noble is good for Amazon: "One of the parties that might want to root for Barnes & Noble is Amazon. Sales of e-books fell immediately after Borders went under, leading some to suggest that reduced opportunity to browse the physical artifact resulted in less online buying."
  • Copyright 2021 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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