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Book News: Tom Hanks Turns To The Typewriter For His Debut Collection

Tom Hanks, perhaps imagining the loss of one of his typewriters.
The Kobal Collection
Tom Hanks, perhaps imagining the loss of one of his typewriters.

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

Gentlemen (and ladies), cue your clackers. Tom Hanks plans to share with the world his not-so-secret obsession: that elegant, ungainly machine, the typewriter.

Hanks — yes, that guy — plans to publish a collection of short stories. While neither the title nor the release date is known, one detail stands clear: It will be about typewriters. Specifically, it will be inspired by his own — a smattering of stories linked to photos of Hanks' personal array of machines.

The collection would mark Hanks' second foray into the world of fiction, having only dipped his toe recently with a story in The New Yorker. His obsession with typewriters, however, is nothing new. In introducing his Hanx Writer, an iPad app that clacks out the sound of the typewriter as you tap on the screen, Hanks explained to NPR's Audie Cornish the origins of his typewriter trove.

"I ended up just having them around because they're beautiful works of art, and I ended up collecting them from every ridiculous source possible," Hanks said. "It really kicked off probably when I had a little excess cash. But better to spend it on $50 typewriters than some of the other things you can blow show-business money on."

The book will see release from Alfred A. Knopf. While you wait, feel free to start warming up your puns — Hanks breaks type! But will he be typecast? — or, you know, don't.

Dunham Cancels Tour Dates: Lena Dunham has tweeted her intention to miss two tour dates, one in Antwerp, Belgium, and the other in Berlin. The cancelations come amid controversy over a passage in her book, Not That Kind of Girl, that has prompted accusations that she sexually molested her sister when they were young children. In a column last week for the National Review, Kevin D. Williamson refers to one scene in particular, writing, "There is no non-horrific interpretation of this episode."

Dunham has taken to Twitter to respond to the allegations.

And Dunham's sister, Grace, has also tweeted a response.

Grace Dunham continued, saying, "2day, like every other day, is a good day to think about how we police the sexualities of young women, queer, and trans people."

Abramson's Startup Advances: Jill Abramson, former executive editor of The New York Times, has announced she's working on a journalism startup geared toward long-form stories. Though the venture was revealed two weeks ago, Abramson recently unveiled new details during an interview at the annual Conference and Mentoring Project. Poynter reports that Abramson is partnering with entrepreneur Steve Brill, with aims to publish "one perfect whale of a story" digitally each month. Each story will be longer than a typical magazine article and shorter than a book. Perhaps even bigger than the published stories, though, is the paycheck: Abramson expects to pay writers advances averaging $100,000.

Holmes For All: Sherlock Holmes will remain in the public domain. As Michael Schaub of the Los Angeles Times reports, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a case brought by the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle, preserving a lower court ruling that the author's creation is no longer under copyright. Tough news for everyone hoping to procrastinate some more on their fan-fiction.

Unearthing Brecht: Great news, however, for everyone devoted to German Marxist, avant-garde playwrights: the late Bertolt Brecht has had a big week in print. This literary titan of the early 20th century has been revived in Poetry magazine, where his poem "When I'd reported to the couple, thus" has just been published and paired with a note from his translator, Tom Kuhn. Kuhn writes: "Brecht was always more or less in love; in his total oeuvre love, or let us say Eros, is expressed, discussed, enacted in an astonishing variety of modes, forms, tones, and circumstances."

Yet, if you're hoping the man was as nice as his poetry, Anthony Daniels is prepared to disappoint. In reviewing a new biography of Brecht, Daniels observes: "Throughout his life, Brecht absorbed generosity like a sponge, but he dispensed it like a stone."

Dogged By A Comma: And then there's this correction note sent to The New York Times, spotted by Tom Bonnick of the publisher Nosy Crow: Novelist Ann Patchett would like to clarify that she is not married to her beloved dog. At least, she wouldn't be if only a comma had come between them.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Colin Dwyer covers breaking news for NPR. He reports on a wide array of subjects — from politics in Latin America and the Middle East, to the latest developments in sports and scientific research.
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