Among the many gaffes that Mitt Romney made on his recent trip to the Middle East, one in particular has raised the ire of Guns, Germs, and Steel author Jared Diamond. In a speech in Jerusalem, Romney characterized Diamond’s book as saying that “the physical characteristics of the land account for the differences in the success of the people that live there.” Not so, responds Diamond in a New York Times op-ed: “That is so different from what my book actually says that I have to doubt whether Mr. Romney read it.” Diamond ends on a particularly scathing note: If Romney is elected, will he “continue to espouse one-factor explanations for multicausal problems, and fail to understand history and the modern world?”
Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Identity wasn’t for sale as an e-book, so New York Times tech columnist David Pogue did what any tech-savvy Bourne fan might be tempted to do: he downloaded the book from a BitTorrent site. Then he did what most wouldn’t: He sent a $9.99 check to the publisher.
Play it as it Lays, Cassandra at the Wedding, and Another Country make The Millions’ list of burnt-out summer beach reads.
When Stephen King published his first novel, Carrie, it sold only 13,000 copies. It took Brian dePalma buying the rights, and the release of the novel in paperback, before it became a hit. All of which demonstrates, as Michelle Dean writes in an essay about the development of King’s career, that “it’s not just luck you need to have a successful literary career. It’s luck, piled on luck, piled on luck again, and around the corner, you need another sprinkling of it. That’s just the way the Fates roll.”
Why don’t publishers fact-check books? Author Michael Chorost explains at Psychology Today.