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Fri June 7, 2013

Book News: The Bible An Unexpected Best-Seller In Norway

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

  • A new Norwegian language translation of the Bible was the secular country's best-selling book of 2012. (By comparison, the Bible didn't even break the top 100 in the U.S. last year). The Associated Press credits a marketing campaign by Norway's Bible Society for at least part of the Bible's popularity there: The society "promoted the new translation like a pop fiction novel, stirring anticipation by giving out teasers of biblical stories before its release," and "targeted teenagers with pink leather or denim covers, and adults with bridal or sophisticated literary covers." A popular six-hour play called Bibelen ("Bible" in Norwegian) just closed in Oslo after a successful three-month run.
  • Jean Rabe, editor of the Science Fiction Writers of America Bulletin, has stepped down after recent controversies surrounding the magazine's treatment of women. A cover featuring a scantily clad woman received a good deal of press, and after complaints from readers, two of the magazine's writers wrote a controversial column claiming that they were being censored by "liberal fascists." Another article said Barbie was a "role-model" because she maintained "quiet dignity the way a woman should." SFWA President John Scalzi has apologized: "The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America is an organization that acts to support, inform, defend, promote and advocate for our members — all of them, not just some of them. When members believe that they or other members are belittled or minimized by our official publications, that's a problem."
  • The disgraced ex-New Yorker writer Jonah Lehrer has a book deal with Simon and Schuster, according to The New York Times. Lehrer was caught fabricating quotes, recycling material and plagiarizing, and resigned his position at The New Yorker last year. The Times, which obtained his book proposal, writes that in the new work, he "uses his journalistic misconduct as a case study of the mysterious and redeeming power of love."
  • The Hurriyet Daily News, an English-language newspaper in Turkey, reports that a makeshift library has sprung up among the protesters in Istanbul's Gezi Park. Hurriyet reports that Sel Publishing House and more than a dozen others have been donating books to support the demonstrators.
  • For the London Review of Books, the poet Charles Hartman writes about the experience of being plagiarized: "The insult was partly that the plagiarist assumed my poem was too obscure for anyone to discover his theft."
  • Kevin Barry's City of Bohane won the 2013 International Impac Dublin Literary Award, worth 100,000 euros, or a little more than $132,000. In a press release, Graywolf Publisher Fiona McCrae wrote, "Reading him is pure joy, and Graywolf is honored to publish his work." You can read his 2010 short story "The Fjord of Killary" in The New Yorker.
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