Between The Covers: 10/07/2011

Your weekly guide to what's really going on in the world of books

*We're sorry to report that the title of the authorised biography of Steve Jobs, iSteve: The Book of Jobs, has been changed by its author in favour of "something simpler and more elegant".

The book, by Walter Isaacson (who has previously written biographies of those other great geniuses Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein), will now be called just: Steve Jobs. How boring.

*On its 40th birthday, Project Gutenberg is giving a gift to readers: a free, 15-page ebook about the history of the project, from its founding by Michael Hart in 1971 to the 36,000th free ebook, which was put online this year. The first text to be available by the project – which aimed to make books available to readers in much the same revolutionary way that Gutenberg's printing press did in the 16th century – was The United States Declaration of Independence, on 4 July 1971. Hart typed it in upper case, because there was no lower case on his computer, and alerted all of the 100 users of the pre-internet system that was then used. The file size was 5k, and was downloaded by six users.

*Caps off to this column's favourite equestrian, Clare Balding, whose agent has sold her memoir of childhood to Viking. The book will be called My Animals and Other Family, and is due for publication in September 2012.

*And fascinators on for the novelist Amanda Craig, who has just heard that her novel Hearts and Minds (Little, Brown) has been reprinted for the fourth time this year, and who is also off to the Royal Garden Party this week. Craig has been asking friends what to wear to the glamorous occasion. We hear that suggestions from some author friends (Amanda Vickery, Susan Hill) have been more useful than those from others (Nick Cohen, Marcus Berkmann)...

*Congratulations, too, to The New Puritans, the group of 15 young authors including Nicholas Blincoe, Matt Thorne, Alex Garland, Toby Litt, Scarlett Thomas, Daren King, Geoff Dyer and Rebecca Ray who contributed to the All Hail the New Puritans anthology of short stories in 2000. (Though, as Blincoe points out, 10 years on some of them are more Middle-Aged Puritans now.) We're told that the anthology is to be the subject of an academic monograph dedicated to the group and its legacy, compiled by a team of 10 Spanish academics led by one Dr Jose Francisco Fernandez at the Universidad de Almeria. The project was based on the Danish Dogme 95 movement, and had a 10-point manifesto which promised textual simplicity, grammatical purity, linear narratives and absolutely no poetry. Bizarrely, it is not thought to have been the subject of a serious academic work to date. "We were going to demand 15 academics, so that we had one each," Blincoe tells The IoS. "But Daren would probably want two." We're just pleased that the Puritans are being hailed, at last.

*Commiserations, however, to the authors of News of the World? Fake Sheiks and Royal Trappings, whose Amazon bestsellers' ranking strangely dropped from 11,962 to 13,548 in the hour following the news of the paper's closure. Readers, you don't have to boycott everything with NotW in the title, you know.

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