Today in publishing and literature: Paramount is suing to prevent the publication of the newest sequel to The Godfather, municipal bond market doomsayer Meredith Whitney lands a book deal, and former Grove Press owner Barney Rosset has died.
Paramount Pictures is going to the mattresses and seeking an injunction to prevent the July publication of The Family Corleone, the fourth print sequel to Mario Puzo's The Godfather. The studio insists it just wants to "protect the integrity and reputation of The Godfather trilogy" from an inferior (and unauthorized) sequel. Paramount had no such qualms when they were inflicting The Godfather Part III on audiences in 1990, but apparently they're more protective of the Corleone legacy these days, even though the new book has the approval of Puzo's literary estate and is based on an unfilmed screenplay written by the late author. [New York Daily News]
Barney Rosset, the founder of Grove Press who fought to publish the uncensored versions of Lady Chatterlay's Lover and The Tropic of Cancer, and provided a literary home for the likes of Malcolm X and Che Guevera, has died. He was 90. Rosset was the subject of a 2008 Newsweek profile by Louisa Thomas and is the subject of the documentary Obscene, which can be found streaming on Netflix. [Notebook]
Mark Kelly, astronaut and husband of Gabrielle Giffords, is writing a children's book called Mousetronaut. According to Kelly, the story of a mouse who goes to outer space and gets to be a hero was inspired by an incident on his first space shuttle flight, when one of the 18 mice that had been brought along for experiments appeared unaffected by the lack of gravity. "[The mouse] seemed comfortable through the whole mission, like he was enjoying it," recalls Kelly. That sounds unnerving and mildly terrifying, but the book promises to be fun and full of pictures. Simon & Schuster is publishing it, and it's slated to arrive in October. Washington attorney Robert Barnett negotiated the deal for Mousetronaut, just like he did for Gabby, the memoir Kelly co-wrote with Giffords. [AP]
Meredith Whitney, the financial analyst whose report on Citigroup's head-scratching dividend payment program earned her a spot in The Atlantic's 2009 Brave Thinkers issue and made her persona non grata on Wall Street, has landed her first book deal. It will focus on municipal bond markets, which she predicted were on the verge of imploding in a 2010 interview with 60 Minutes. That hasn't exactly come to pass, but the book -- tentatively titled Downgraded -- is going to explore the reasons why cities are "in deeper trouble than is commonly realized," says publisher Penguin. The book is slated to arrive in November. It's unknown what kind of advance Whitney received, though the deal was brokered -- again -- by Robert Barnett. [Dealbook]