paper trail

Harper Lee sues museum; Kurt Vonnegut's term papers

Drink coasters are shown for sale in the gift shop of the Monroe County Heritage Museum in Monroeville, Alabama October 23, 2013. REUTERS/Verna Gates

Harper Lee is bringing suit against a local museum in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, for allegedly exploiting her fame and the prestige of To Kill a Mockingbird without compensating her for it. The lawsuit has divided the small town, reports the Guardian, and left many residents wondering whether Lee, who is deaf and blind, is being manipulated by lawyers. Lee’s lawyers filed a trademark application last August, and sued the Monroe County Heritage Museum two weeks ago, after receiving an opposition. The suit accuses the the museum of ““palming off its goods,’ including t-shirts, coffee mugs, other various trinkets with Mockingbird brands.”

Macmillan is expanding it’s in-house books-to-film division. Whereas Macmillan Entertainment used to focus only on titles published by its Thomas Dunne imprint, it will now include the entire company.

Margaret Atwood, Dana Spiotta, Tom McCarthy, Victor LaValle, Tao Lin and others talk to the Times about the effect that technology has has on their writing.

What are the best-selling book genres? Self-help, kid lit, and erotica, says a new study by USA Today. Slate reprints a term paper assignment that Kurt Vonnegut gave to his class at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. “I invite you to read the fifteen tales in Masters of the Modern Short Story," he writes. "Then reproduce on a single sheet of clean, white paper the table of contents of the book, omitting the page numbers, and substituting for each number a grade from A to F. The grades should be childishly selfish and impudent measures of your own joy or lack of it. I don’t care what grades you give. I do insist that you like some stories better than others. Proceed next to the hallucination that you are a minor but useful editor on a good literary magazine not connected with a university. Take three stories that please you most and three that please you least, six in all, and pretend that they have been offered for publication. Write a report on each to be submitted to a wise, respected, witty and world-weary superior.”

The Gambler, On the Road, As I Lay Dying, and A Clockwork Orange: a short list of classic novels written in six weeks or less.