paper trail

Everybody lies about reading Orwell, Harper Lee drops lawsuit

A new UK survey finds that 62 percent of the British public has lied about reading classic novels, with George Orwell’s 1984 being the novel that most Britons have falsely claimed to have read, followed by War and Peace and Great Expectations. According to the Daily Mail, “women are more likely than men to bluff that they are well read when they have often only seen literary classics dramatised in films or on TV.”

Matthew Shear, the publisher of St. Martin’s Press, died of complications arising from lung cancer last week at his home in Manhattan. He was 57.

Harper Lee has dropped a lawsuit against her former agent Samuel Pinkus after claiming that Pinkus convinced the author to transfer the copyrights of her novel To Kill a Mockingbird to him while she was recovering from a stroke in an assisted-living facility. The suit said that after acquiring the copyright, Pinkus "moved the copyright around through various companies he created, making it hard for Lee to track.” Without going into details, Pinkus’s lawyer told the New York Daily News that the dispute has been resolved: "We have reached a mutually satisfactory resolution."

Giovanni’s Room, the country’s oldest LGBT bookstore, might close in January unless the 73-year-old owner finds a buyer. Ed Hermance has run the Philadelphia store, named after a James Baldwin novel, for four decades, and hasn’t collected a salary since he started working at the bookstore. “It just can’t go on like this,” he told Publishers Weekly.

Irvine Welsh reviews a new book about Britain in the nineties: “the Nineties were a celebration but also a requiem mass for British culture, pulling it all together in a big party, before selling it off to the global market place. It was probably the last decade where being British constituted something unique and distinctive.”

Tolstoy’s great-great granddaughter has made all of the author’s collected works—roughly 90 volumes’ worth of material—free and available to the public at a new website, All of Tolstoy’s novels, essays, letters, and other writing will be downloadable in PDF format, and the site “will feature the 90-volume edition that was scanned and proofread three times by more than 3,000 volunteers from 49 countries.”