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Book News: Fight Over Philosopher Ends With Gunfire In Russia

An artist's rendering of German philosopher Immanuel Kant.
Hulton Archive
Getty Images
An artist's rendering of German philosopher Immanuel Kant.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • One Russian man reportedly shot another during an argument about the 18th century German philosopher Immanuel Kant, The Wall Street Journalreports. Two men standing in line for beer in southern Russia began arguing about the Critique of Pure Reason author, and "decided to find out which of them is a bigger fan of this philosopher, and a tempestuous argument escalated into a fist fight." At that point, investigators say, one man shot the other with a non-fatal bullet. The injured man will recover. The suspected shooter was picked up by the police and charged with "intentional infliction of serious harm."
  • Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates will publish a memoir, Alfred A. Knopf announced Monday. DUTY: Memoirs of a Secretaryat Warwill be published in January. In the book's introduction, excerpted in a press release, Gates writes that he will address not only the wars inIraq and Afghanistan, but also "my political war with Congress each day I was in office and the dramatic contrast between my public respect, bipartisanship, and calm, and my private frustration, disgust, and anger."
  • James Patterson, the novelist who has sold more than 280 million books, has pledged to donate $1 million to various independent bookstores. The author tells CBS, "We're making this transition to e-books, and that's fine and good and terrific and wonderful, but we're not doing it in an organized, sane, civilized way. So what's happening right now is a lot of bookstores are disappearing." The author says his two conditions for donating to a bookstore are, "one, is it a viable bookstore, and secondly, do they have a children's section?"
  • Tessa Hadley has a new short story, "Bad Dreams" in The New Yorker:"Cold night air struck her shoulders. It was strange to stare into the room with wide-open eyes and feel the darkness yielding only the smallest bit, as if it were pressing back against her efforts to penetrate it. Something had happened, she was sure, while she was asleep."
  • NPR's Lynn Neary reports on changes at the NBA (books, not basketball): "In recent years, the National Book Awards have been criticized for nominating obscure authors. ... Thus the changes instituted this year: nonwriters such as librarians, booksellers and critics have been included in the judging panels. And instead of one announcement of five nominees in each category, this week's rollout of longer lists, 10 in each category, followed in about a month by a short list."
  • Brad Leithauser writes about pet words for The New Yorker: "They are stray cats taken in by the author — as in John Updike's adoption of 'lambent' and 'crescent' or Anne Tyler's of 'nubbin' or John Cheever's of 'inestimable' or H. G. Wells's of 'incontinently' or Thackeray's of 'artless.' Each of these words presents the critic with a little puzzle of devotion: What was it about this particular package of syllables? Why was this stray cat escorted into the author's studio and offered a saucer of cream and a plump pillow by the fireplace?"
  • Update at 9:45 a.m. ET: The National Book Awards' poetry longlist was announced on Tuesday morning. The list of 10 poetry collections includes:

    Frank Bidart, Metaphysical Dog.
    Roger Bonair-Agard,Bury My Clothes.
    Lucie Brock-Broido, Stay, Illusion.
    Andrei Codrescu, So Recently Rent a World, New and Selected Poems: 1968-2012.
    Brenda Hillman, Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire.
    Adrian Matejka, The Big Smoke.
    Diane Raptosh, American Amnesiac.
    Matt Rasmussen, Black Aperture.
    Martha Ronk, Transfer of Qualities.
    Mary Szybist, Incarnadine: Poems.

    The longlist for the "young people's literature" category was out Monday, and the lists for nonfiction and fiction will be announced later this week. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in November.

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    Annalisa Quinn is a contributing writer, reporter, and literary critic for NPR. She created NPR's Book News column and covers literature and culture for NPR.
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