Today in books and publishing: Who will win the Nobel Prize in Literature?; British charity to hold Fifty Shades book burning; why would anyone make a 9/11 coloring book?
Put your Nobel bets on Haruki Murakami. The Nobel Prize in Literature might not provoke the kind of betting circus surrounding boxing matches or the Superbowl, but all you literary gamblers might want to put your money on Haruki Murakami. The betting site Ladbrokes has released stats on the authors it thinks are most likely to win, and the popular Japanese author behind 1Q84, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, and other hip-lit classics is the odds-on favorite at 10/1. Other authors with good odds include Cormac McCarthy and Philip Roth (both at 16/1) and Alice Munro (20/1). But if you're feeling lucky, put your money on underdogs like Jonathan Franzen, Paul Auster, and Anne Carson. With 100/1 odds, the returns on an upset award would be huge. [Galley Cat]
This 9/11 coloring book sure is tasteless. The 9/11 attacks may have happened over a decade ago, but the wounds still feel fresh. Which is why this coloring book seems not only misguided, but also just plain offensive. Big Coloring Books Inc. released We Shall Never Forget 9/11 Volume II: The True Faces of Evil as a "teaching and learning tool that's rated PG-13," according to publisher Wayne Bell. Maybe someone should inform him that coloring is more of a fun-time activity than an opportunity for discussing deeply traumatic events. Oh, and that kids over 13 don't color anymore. [Yahoo News]
Fifty Shades up in flames. The British domestic violence charity Wearside Women in Need has not been swept up by Fifty Shades of Grey fever. In fact, they're planning to burn copies of the BDSM-themed novel in protest of a story that they believe promotes sexual abuse. "I do not think I can put into words how vile I think this book is," said the organization's Clare Phillipson. She says, "My main objection is that at a time when local authorities are making cuts to outreach and refuge services for women experiencing domestic violence, we have libraries wasting and grossly misusing public to buy a book which says: 'domestic violence is sexy.'" This isn't the first time Fifty Shades has come under fire for its depiction of a sexuality that centers on domination. But it is the first major call for the book to be burned. Random House, the book's British publisher, insists that the characters' relationship is "entirely consensual." [Los Angeles Times]
Nicholson Baker writes a protest song. The author of stream-of-consciousness novels such as The Mezzanine and raunchy romps like House of Holes has branched out into songwriting. Baker wrote the minimalist, plaintive "Jeju Island Song" to protest the building of a military base in Gangjeong, a small town on Jeju island, a UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. Many have argued that South Korea is constructing at the secretive behest of the U.S. military, in a gesture against China. Baker sings, "The American generals want to project force against China in a beautiful place I've never been / From an island in the East China Sea / From Jeju Island / Island of peace." You can listen to the rest of Baker's song below. [Slate]
Chicken Soup books laddle up some Chicken Soup soup. Feel-good reading always feels a little better when paired with comfort food. Which is why the company behind the Chicken Soup books has decided to start selling actual chicken soup, along with 100 other products in their food line, starting in 2014. [Publishers Weekly]
Sex and the Single Girl in search of a voice. If you've got frisky, witty, feminine voice, Audible wants you to narrate their audiobook version of Helen Gurely Brown's classic. [Jezebel]