The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
Note: This post was written before news of writer Maya Angelou's death emerged. Annalisa will be away until early next week, but feel free to send her your bookish thoughts and questions on Twitter at @annalisa_quinn.
Snake-handling is a tradition for the Coots family of Kentucky. But months after taking over for his father to lead a Pentecostal church, Cody Coots says he was bitten this week. His father, Jamie, died of a poisonous snakebite in February.
The family has been featured on a reality TV show, as the Two-Way reported:
Poet, performer and political activist Maya Angelou has died after a long illness at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was 86. Born in St. Louis in 1928, Angelou grew up in a segregated society that she worked to change during the civil rights era. Angelou, who refused to speak for much of her childhood, revealed the scars of her past in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the first of a series of memoirs.
Seeking to correct what he calls "misleading" statements about his work for U.S. government agencies, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden tells NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams he "was trained as a spy" and worked for several.
Google gave us an update on its driverless car project Tuesday, posting video and images of people trying out its self-driving car. The tech company built three prototypes from scratch, creating compact cars that look like they're on an extreme no-options diet. For now, their top speed is 25 mph.
Chechnya's leader says the country hasn't sent fighters to join rebels in eastern Ukraine, denying a charge that gained substance after Chechens were reportedly found in the aftermath of recent fighting in Donetsk. Ukraine is continuing its offensive against the rebels.
Ukraine's President-elect Petro Poroshenko says he will crush the pro-Russian insurgency, promising to step up operations against armed men who have occupied buildings and set up barricades.
The oldest member of Congress has lost his bid for an 18th term in the House.
Rep. Ralph Hall of Texas, 91, was defeated in a Republican primary runoff by John Ratcliffe, 48, a former U.S. attorney with Tea Party support.
Hall, who has been in the House since 1981, is also the last member to have served in World War II, our Newscast Desk reports. No Democrat is running in the district, which runs from suburban Dallas to the Louisiana and Oklahoma borders.
The State Department has issued a new travel warning for Libya, saying U.S. citizens should leave the north African country immediately because of the "unpredictable and unstable" security situation and threats of attacks against Americans.
"[Various] groups have called for attacks against U.S. citizens and U.S. interests in Libya," the State Department said in a statement. "Extremist groups in Libya have made several specific threats this year against U.S. government officials, citizens, and interests in Libya."
White House Counsel Neil Eggleston has been asked to investigate what went wrong over the weekend when the name of the CIA's top official in Afghanistan was inadvertently made public.
Administration spokeswoman Caitlyn Hayden said Tuesday that Chief of Staff Denis McDonough has asked Eggleston to examine the matter and report back with recommendations on how to make sure something like this does not happen again.