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Book News: Notorious TV Pitchman Kevin Trudeau Gets 10 Years In Prison

Author and infomercial pitchman Kevin Trudeau.
Author and infomercial pitchman Kevin Trudeau.

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

  • Author and late night TV staple Kevin Trudeau was sentenced to a decade in prison for violating a 2004 court order that barred him from making deceptive infomercials about his book, The Weight Loss Cure 'They' Don't Want You to Know About. At Monday's sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Guzman called Trudeau" deceitful to the very core," and said that "since his 20s, he has steadfastly attempted to cheat others for his own gain." Over the years, Trudeau has hawked "free money," weight loss solutions and cures for cancer and other diseases. At the hearing, Trudeau claimed that he had undergone a "personal transformation" and said that if he does another infomercial, there will be "no embellishments, no puffery, no lies." Reuters reports that the courtroom was packed with Trudeau supporters. One of them was 80-year-old Ed Foreman, a motivational speaker and former congressman for Texas and New Mexico, the news service says. It notes that Foreman "tried twice to make a statement in Trudeau's support during the hearing. When Foreman failed to respond to the judge's order to be quiet, he was lifted up by his arms and legs and carried out of the courtroom by federal marshals."
  • HarperCollins has bought the rights to J.R.R. Tolkien's translation of the Old English epic poem Beowulf, edited by his son, Christopher Tolkien. The Bookseller notes that the book will include a series of lectures that J.R.R. Tolkien gave at Oxford in the 1930s, of which Christopher Tolkien says: "From his creative attention to detail in these lectures there arises a sense of the immediacy and clarity of his vision. It is as if he entered into the imagined past: standing beside Beowulf and his men shaking out their mail-shirts as they beached their ship on the coast of Denmark, listening to the rising anger of Beowulf at the taunting of Unferth, or looking up in amazement at Grendel's terrible hand set under the roof of Heorot."
  • Novelist Zadie Smith writes an "Elegy for a Country's Seasons," about the small losses that come with climate change: "The weather has changed, is changing, and with it so many seemingly small things — quite apart from train tracks and houses, livelihoods and actual lives — are being lost. It was easy to assume, for example, that we would always be able to easily find a hedgehog in some corner of a London garden, pick it up in cupped hands, and unfurl it for our children — or go on a picnic and watch fat bumblebees crawling over the mouth of an open jam jar. Every country has its own version of this local sadness."
  • Poet Bill Knott, who once faked his own death, has died for the final time, according to The New Yorker: "When word came again, last week, that Knott had died, no one knew quite whether to believe it. Death makes deniers of us all, but in Knott's case we had good reason to trust our instinctive disbelief. This time, unfortunately, the facts were unrelenting: on Wednesday, Knott died of complications from heart surgery. He was seventy-four."
  • 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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