Today in books and publishing: Details from the upcoming David Foster Wallace biography are trickling in; Neil Gaiman inks a multi-book deal with HarperCollins; fantasy author wreaks viral vengeance on ebook pirate; remembering E.B. White's sense of humor on his 113th birthday.
David Foster Wallace, angry Republican. D.T. Max's biography of David Foster Wallace, Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story, won't be released until September, but galleys are already making the rounds with reviewers. Those lucky enough to get their hands on a copy have been leaking some interesting details from the book that touch on the towering literary figure's personal life. Apparently Wallace, who seems so hesitant in that now-iconic Charlie Rose interview, had quite the temper on occasion. Time book critic Lev Grossman was taken aback by an account of Wallace's nasty road rage. Every Love Story... may also shed some light on Wallace's political beliefs. Though Wallace covered John McCain's 2000 presidential bid extensively, he never wrote plainly about his own politics. According to author Tom Bissell, the biography reveals that Wallace cast a ballot for Ronald Reagan, though he does not say whether it was in 1980 (the year Wallace could first vote) or 1984. We can expect to find out more revelations about DFW in Max's book, which is "very well-researched, deeply sympathetic, and incredibly painful to read," in Dave Eggers' early appraisal. [Time / The Howling Fantods]
Coraline author set to write new books. Neil Gaiman—winner of the Hugo, Nebula and Bram Stoker Awards, the Newbery and Carnegie Medals, and probably a few other laurels—has signed on to write three novels and two picture books for HarperCollins. The novels will be targeted at a young audience, one of them being a sequel to 2009's Odd and the Frost Giants. The picture books will feature a new character from Gaiman's imagination, the painfully cute-sounding Chu, a little panda with a big sneezing problem. [Publishers Weekly]
The wrath of a ripped-off fantasy author. No one likes having their e-book pirated, but most authors these days accept piracy as an unfortunate reality of digital publishing. Some actually accept it and cheer it on. But when fantasy author Terry Goodkind discovered that his self-published, ebook-only release of The First Confessor: The Legend of Magda Searus had been put online for free, he outed the man he believed was responsible on his Facebook page. "How ironic you claim to be a fan of books that uphold truth and honour above all else," Goodkind wrote, chastising the alleged pirate. "We hope the price of fame is worth the cost of your infamy." Goodkind even went so far as to post a photo of the accused pirate and links to his accounts on various social media sites. [The Guardian]
Happy birthday, E.B. White! Today would have been E.B. White's 113th birthday. His legacy comes to us in fragments. Maybe you remember him best as one of the the strict, prescriptive grammarians behind The Elements of Style. Maybe to you he's the endearing author of such lovable children's classics as Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little. Or maybe you're most familiar with the witty articles he wrote as one of The New Yorker's earliest staff writers. But why not remember him as a subtle, charming humorist? Exhibit A: This absurd, rambling response White penned upon receiving a letter from the ASPCA accusing him of harboring an unlicensed dog:
I have your letter, undated, saying that I am harboring an unlicensed dog in violation of the law. If by "harboring" you mean getting up two or three times every night to pull Minnie's blanket up over her, I am harboring a dog all right. The blanket keeps slipping off. I suppose you are wondering by now why I don't get her a sweater instead. That's a joke on you. She has a knitted sweater, but she doesn't like to wear it for sleeping; her legs are so short they work out of a sweater and her toenails get caught in the mesh, and this disturbs her rest.