Turkey Distracted You? From Obama to JD Salinger, Here's The Book News You Missed
As you emerge from the daze of Thanksgiving food comas and Black Friday shopping madness, I’m sure the burning question on your mind is “What book news did I miss over the weekend?” Because even though you totally beat out that foul mouthed grandmother for the last copy of The Hunger Games at Barnes and Noble, you probably weren’t in the right frame of mind to check up on the, ahem, larger goings on.
This Saturday was Small Business Saturday, so naturally you hit up your local independent bookstore, right? Especially since author Sherman Alexie suggested that authors spend the day being booksellers and over 1,000 answered the call. Maybe you noticed bowling over Sarah Dessen as you raced to buy Amy Tan’s new book. Or, if you were at the iconic bookshop Politics & Prose in Washington DC, you might have noticed President Barack Obama supporting small business by purchasing a diverse array of books including a few YA titles, spy novel Red Sparrow, some literary titles such as Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland, the Chechen novel A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon by Anthony Marra and My Antonia by Willa Cather, as well as two books about sports. Hopefully none of these were gifts, because the national media has now thoroughly spoiled the surprise.
The most important book purchase this season, however, wasn’t made at a small bookstore but at an auction house where the oldest book first printed in North America sold for $14.1 million. The Bay Psalm Book, first printed by the Puritans in 1640, set a record for the most ever paid for a book at auction. At 373 years old, it is one of 11 surviving copies.
And if you’ve turned your “To Be Read” list into your Christmas wish list and now find yourself with nothing to read, you can check out the three previously unpublished JD Salinger short stories which have been leaked online. The stories appear to be genuine, and were probably illicitly hand copied by researchers who visited them at Princeton and University of Texas. Though the ethics of such a move are questionable, we’ve all been dying for more of Salinger’s writing ever since his death in 2010, but new manuscripts have been slow in coming. So by all means, enjoy yourselves!