Nation & World News

Book News: U.S. Appeals Court Slams ‘Extortion’ By Conan Doyle Estate

By Annalisa Quinn on August 6th, 2014

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • The estate of Arthur Conan Doyle has been ordered to pay more than $30,000 in legal fees to Leslie Klinger, an author and Sherlock Holmes expert who successfully challenged the estate’s copyright. Calling the estate’s grip on the Sherlock Holmes story “a form of extortion,” a U.S. appeals court said Klinger “performed a public service” and deserved to be repaid. In December, a court ruled that the character of Sherlock Holmes, as well as Holmes stories written before 1923, are in the public domain. That ruling was upheld in June.
  • “Dubstep,” “mojito” and “frenemy” are among more than 5,000 new words added to The Official SCRABBLE Players Dictionary. “Selfie,” “mixtape” and “schmutz” also made the cut.
  • Christian Wiman has two new poems in Commonweal magazine. One of them, “Memories Mercies,” begins:

“Memory’s mercies

mostly aren’t

but there were

I swear


veined with grace”

  • “Not to brag, but I’ve been rejected by the five best Poetry MFA programs in the world.” — Marie-Helene Bertino (whose novel 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas came out this week) writes in Tin House about failure.
  • Abraham Lincoln’s handwriting was found in an 1854 book on race in an Illinois library. The name Clifton Moore — a local attorney and the book’s probable owner — was inscribed on one of the book’s first pages in handwriting long rumored to be Lincoln’s. Handwriting experts confirmed that the writing was the 16th president’s. The book, Types of Mankind, is a treatise written by proponents of slavery. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Curator James Cornelius told The Associated Press that Lincoln would likely have read it to strengthen his case against slavery: “Lincoln was worried that the whole idea that you could segregate one group of people based on some brand new thinking would just carry on into other realms.”
  • io9 collects some of the most egregious typos in history, including a 1631 Bible commanding, “Thou shalt commit adultery.”
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