Between the Covers 13/01/2013

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

How depressing to see that four of the top 10 books in The Bookseller's "Accelerators" chart this week are diet books – proving that calorie counting remains a genre more lucrative than mummy porn for a certain category of book buyer. On the other hand, at the top of the chart of books which have sold more copies this week than last, we have Julian Richards' guidebook, Stonehenge. Perhaps people are planning to walk and educate off the pounds in 2013.

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Another grudging mention of a pre-Valentine's Day book launch: this time the pleasingly named Lovers' Lies, a collection of short stories about relationships, edited by Cherry Potts and Katy Darby. The book is to be launched at Keats House, where John Keats lived and fell in love with Fanny Brawne, the girl next door. Because, er, that went well.

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Thanks to thedailybeast.com for its list of startling similarities between the rapper Jay-Z and the character Jay Gatsby from F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Jay-Z has reportedly been commissioned to write an original film score for a new adaptation of the book, directed by Baz Luhrmann (of Romeo + Juliet fame) and starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role. As The Daily Beast points out: both use pseudonyms (their real names are Sean Carter and James Gatz respectively); they are both worth hundreds of millions of dollars (Z $500m and Gatsby $600m, according to Forbes); and both were born in poor areas: Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, and North Dakota. What's more, Z made his millions as co-brand director of Budweiser Select, Armadale Vodka and 40/40 nightclubs, while Gatsby made his by selling bootlegged liquor during the Prohibition, which is … kind of the same. Also, Jay-Z drives a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport, while Gatsby drove a yellow Rolls-Royce. Perhaps someone should tell Jay-Z to be careful in his.

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The American jobseekers' website CareerCast has named "librarian" as officially the country's least stressful job, above hair stylist, dietician, seamstress/tailor and jeweller. "A peaceful atmosphere and unlimited access to literature makes librarian a welcoming career option for the bookish", insists its report, to howls of derision from librarian users of the site. Perhaps mindful of this encouraging news, Gateshead Council is appealing for volunteers to run five of its libraries in a bid to keep them open despite cuts. "It is important to stress that there has been no decision to close these five libraries," says the council member with responsibility for looking on the bright side. Volunteers looking for a no-stress, no-pay lifestyle are invited to attend meetings in libraries across the authority for information on how to achieve the ultimate chilled out lifestyle.

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With libraries closing down and bookshops struggling, a new commitment from McDonald's to hand out 15 million books with its Happy Meals by 2015 will make it the UK's biggest distributor of children's books. If you wrote about it in a dystopian science fiction it would stretch credibility.

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