Today in books: There are more than fifty shades of grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey headlines; we're still awaiting the news of the inevitable Fox Mole book deal; and the most awful short sentence is not that terrible. Really.
Fifty Shades of Grey is in the headlines again, though somewhat gratuitously so: If it's not a book, it's an era, a cultural movement, an employment opportunity. Amanda de Cadenet is a British photographer (and friend of Demi Moore) and, most importantly for these purposes, the host of a new talk show on Lifetime, The Conversation, in which she talks with lovely ladies about sex. Why are women talking about sex? Fifty Shades of Grey, of course. It all comes full circle. According to Lifetime's Nancy Dubuc, "We are in a cultural moment"—thanks to the book—and “literally and figuratively, women are coming out of the closet about how they feel and asking tough questions, which is what this show is about.” Whatever we did before this book, God only knows. [New York Post]
Joe Muto, the Fox Mole, who took the Internet by (some) storm last week with his Gawker blog posts revealing, briefly, the inner workings of Fox News—until he was busted by week's end—is "weighing a lot of options," as he told Howard Kurtz on Sunday. What might he do next, aside from appearing on Howard Kurtz? We predicted a book deal, and we still do; after all, his career at Fox is done-zo. He told Kurtz: "I think it's pretty safe to say my career in cable news is over. I don't foresee anyone outside of Current TV hiring me. I don't know what the future holds, but I’m looking forward to some new opportunities." Our agent experts predict he's probably already been approached. Any bets on when we'll find out for sure? [Capital]
There's a controversy surrounding Britain’s biggest book fair, which opened Monday, and it's about China. The London Book Fair's directors invited Communist-party approved authors, chosen by the British Council in collaboration with China's administration of press and publications (the agency that regulates printed media), while excluding dissident voices (and Nobel prize winners) like Gao Xingjian and Liu. Fair organizers say this is an opportunity to "deepen understanding and strengthen cultural and business links between the U.K. and China,” and that "Chinese writers not on the official list, including exiles, will attend the fair outside the official China Focus slate." They also insist that censorship will be a topic of discussion—though apparently not with the authors so censored. [Washington Post]
The New York Public Library has come under fire for its plan to incorporate the Mid-Manhattan branch and the Science, Industry and Business Library into the main building on Fifth Avenue (you know, the one with the lions!). Critics think the $300 million projected to make those changes should instead be spent making the citywide branches better. They're also (seemingly reasonably) worried that the wait for books will be longer for researchers, since those books will be moved into storage in New Jersey "to make room for new work areas and computer terminals," writes Robin Pogrebin in The New York Times. Library president Anthony W. Marx is taking questions in the Times comments, to be answered later this week. Ask, and you shall receive answers, without having to travel to New Jersey. [New York Times, ArtsBeat]
In slightly less high-minded news, the winning writer of the most awful sentence in 25 words or fewer has been declared. His name is Davian Aw, and his sentence is this: “Agent Jeffrey’s trained eyes rolled carefully around the room, taking in the sights and sounds.” Huh, seems like it could have been worse. As for why he won, Lyyttle Lytton contest founder Adam Cadre said, it was a combination of "craft, plausibility, and cringe factor—and, yes, laughs." Eyes cannot take in the sounds of laughter, nor of groans. [GalleyCat]