Today in publishing and literature: a rare book thief is sentenced, a look at the decline of the short novel, and Philp K. Dick's estate drops a lawsuit.
Richard Abate, the literary agent tasked with getting New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin a book deal, tells Forbes' Jeff Bercovici, that Lin's representatives have put the project on hold. Per Abate, it's a temporary delay, so the Lin camp can give the project "the thoughtful consideration it deserves," and also presumably assemble a top-notch proposal to increase the size of their client's advance, Last week, publishing industry insiders told Bercovici that Lin was positioned to secure an advance of "at least $500,000" for the memoir, a figure that "could climb into seven figures given a strong proposal." So waiting would make some sense. [Forbes]
Historian Douglas Brinkley is taking heat for his New York Times review of Jodi Kantor's The Obamas in which he characterized the book as "chick nonfiction" because it's "about marriage, or at least one marriage, and a notably successful one.” Interestingly, people are less stirred up about the "chick nonfiction" remark than they are by Brinkley's suggestion a politician's relationship with spouse has little impact on their politics. "[A]nyone who thinks politics is not about relationships is hard to take seriously on the subject," notes Washington Post politics writer Melinda Henneberger. Jezebel's Anna North makes a similar point: "if their relationships affects all of us, why is a book about it just for chicks?" [The New York Times]
Are big, serious novels too long these days? These things tend to run in cycles, and it's worth noting that Vanity Fair and David Copperfield were both sprawling stories, but Robert McCrum makes a compelling case that modern novelists are losing the ability to write both short and long novels. That was a strength, he writes, that Robert Louis Stevenson and Charles Dickens had, but the modern marketplace and ability to go on and on and on using a computer have allowed 21st century novelists to run as long as they care to. [The Observer]
A man named Timothy Smith has been sentenced to 1 to 3 years in jail for poaching rare books from the collection of Fifth avenue widow Susan Burden. Among the items lifted by Smith: a signed first edition of an unidentified F. Scott Fitzgerald novel and a first edition of William Faulkner's first book, Soldiers' Pay. Smith initially said he gave the "discarded" books to charity, which looked dubious once it emerged that he arranged to sell the texts to a lawyer in upstate New York for $500,000. [New York Daily News via Page Views]
The estate of science-fiction author Philip K. Dick has dropped the lawsuit it filed against the producers of The Adjustment Bureau. The estate claimed the filmmakers were trying to avoid paying them $500,000 in bonuses back in October by claiming Dick's original short story "Adjustment Team" was part of the public domain. [Reuters]