Anthony Shadid

Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist Anthony Shadid died of an asthma attack on Wednesday while on assignment reporting in Syria. Before joining the Times, Shadid was the Middle East correspondent for the AP and Boston Globe. Described by Steve Coll as "the most intrepid, empathetic, fully engaged correspondent working in the Middle East for American audiences," Shadid was the author of the forthcoming memoir House of Stone.

The New York Public Library is back on track to continue with a $1 billion, Norman Foster-led renovation of its Fifth Avenue flagship branch, officials announced this week. To pay for the facelift, $300 million will come from the NYPL, $150 million will come from the city, and the rest from donations. The plan was proposed in 2008, quickly derailed due to money trouble, and is now going ahead almost as intended. To accommodate an increase in visitors, roughly seventy percent of the library will be open to the public (now only about thirty percent is open) and there’s talk of keeping the library open until 11 p.m. several nights of the week. “We want this to be Writing Central for New York,” library president Anthony Marx told the New York Times. But there’s dissension in the readerly ranks over the plan. In a November article for The Nation, Scott Sherman noted that aside from the proposal’s exorbitant budget in an era of shrinking libraries, staffers worried that “the makeover would not only weaken one of the world’s great libraries but mar the architectural integrity of the landmark building.”

Garage Magazine thinks readers will be so excited to buy their second issue (on sex and relationships) that they’ve included artist-designed condoms.

What can we learn from the books writers disown? In Martin Amis’s case, a lot. According to an essay on The Millions, while he was writing Money, Amis was simultaneously working on a secret side project that he’d now rather forget: a history of 1980s arcade games. Featuring an introduction by Steven Spielberg (“read this book and learn from young Martin’s horrific odyssey round the world’s arcades”) and a full-portrait image of the young Mr. Amis, Invasion of the Space Invaders: An Addict’s Guide to Battle Tactics, Big Scores and the Best Machines is, in some regards, a lost classic. It’s now nearly out of print and selling for upwards of $150 on Amazon.

After protracted investigation, a Munich court has ruled in favor of international publishers and sent cease and desist letters to two Ireland-based websites that were hosting over 400,000 downloadable, copyrighted books for free.

“Low or not, romance is by far the most popular and lucrative genre in American publishing, with over $1.35 billion in revenues estimated in 2010,” Maria Bustillos writes at The Awl. And she’s reading them so you don’t have to. “Romance novels are feminist documents. They're written almost exclusively by women, for women, and are concerned with women: their relations in family, love and marriage, their place in society and the world, and their dreams for the future.”

The Women’s Media Center confirms it: The media is “male and getting maler,” although ladies are taking more newsroom jobs.

The vexed history of naming publishing houses.

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