The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
- U.S. District Judge Denise Cote appointed an external monitor to keep Apple in line with antitrust laws, she announced Wednesday. Michael Bromwich, attorney and former Justice Department inspector general, is charged with wing the company for two years, following an antitrust lawsuit brought against Apple by Justice Department for conspiring to fix prices with five major publishing houses: Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin, Simon & Schuster Inc and Macmillan. The publishers all settled out of court, but Apple went to trial and lost, with Cote ruling that Apple "participated in and facilitated a horizontal price-fixing conspiracy." She added that, "the evidence is overwhelming that Apple knew of the unlawful aims of the conspiracy."
- A new story by Joyce Carol Oates, "Lovely Dark, Deep" appears in the November issue of Harper's. It's about a young woman who comes to interview a lecherous and vain Robert Frost: "Unlike other poets, who would have become restless, irritable, and bored being asked familiar questions, Mr. Frost seemed to bask in the familiarity like a religious mystic who never tires of being worshipped." Oates notes that her characterization of Frost "is based on (limited, selected) historical research."
- The National Book Foundation has released a free downloadable ebook, The Contenders: Excerpts from the 2013 National Book Award Finalists. Meanwhile, check out Ellah Allfrey's essay on the five fiction finalists.
- Ed Park, author of "Personal Days," writes about the new Thomas Pynchon novel for Bookforum: "Bleeding Edge, [Pynchon's] latest, situates its heroine, Maxine Tarnow, and much of its action firmly on the 'Yupper West Side.' Though the area retains a rep as 'a vague sort of uptown Dubuque,' Pynchon's affection for Maxine means the neighborhood gets his signature treatment, three parts laughing gas to one part subterranean profundity."
- Sherman Alexie on how an encounter with the line "I'm in the reservation of my mind," by the poet Adrian C. Louis, made him into a writer: "I think every writer stands in the doorway of their prison. Half in, half out. The very act of storytelling is a return to the prison of what torments us and keeps us captive, and writers are repeat offenders. You go through this whole journey with your prison, revisiting it in your mind. Hopefully, you get to a point when you realize there was beauty in your prison, too. Maybe, when you get to that point, 'I'm on the reservation of my mind' can also be a beautiful thing. It's on the res, after all, where I learned to tell stories."