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Between the Covers: 20/01/2013

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

Fans of the novelist, playwright and performer Stella Duffy should put in an early order for the special 200th edition of Diva magazine, which is out next weekend. Duffy is one of the magazine's 12 cover stars, and she's also written a short story for the occasion which, Between the Covers can confirm, is pure filth. "We asked her to write an erotic short story and she gave us something that seems to be inspired by Judy Chicago's dinner, set at a speakeasy, with an orgy for afters," says Diva's editor, Jane Czyzselska. The story is called "200 Divas".


Don't get over-excited about the new idea sweeping the publishing world: "All you can eat textbooks." This turns out to be an online platform to which users can subscribe to access expensive textbooks for a modest monthly fee. It's nothing to do with edible paper and the latest best-selling Jamie Oliver. Meanwhile, Bloomsbury has teamed up with Masterchef to publish a series of cookery books, beginning with the Masterchef Series 9 (2013) Winners and Finalists' Collection, and Sphere has bought Gwyneth Paltrow's second cookbook, It's All Good, which will be published in April. The recipes were put together after Paltrow's doctor put her on an "elimination diet" involving "no coffee, no alcohol, no dairy, no eggs, no sugar, no shellfish, no deep-water fish, no wheat, no meat, no soy, nothing processed at all!" It's fair to say that there will not be much overlap between it and the Masterchef cookbook.


Vintage Books seem optimistic about the habits of book-buyers as they launch a new Haruki Murakami diary app containing six new short stories and a selection of quotations. The publisher's Murakami print diary was a roaring success in 2009, apparently, and now something called an iOS6 operating system allows for "seamless purchase of the iBooks edition in-app", so that fans can read the stories and then buy the books. "We hope it will ease new readers into Murakami's world literally day by day", says Vintage's digital publisher, Dan Franklin. Buy it if you dare ….


Between the Covers is delighted to hear that the Rugby World Cup is supporting the Six Book Challenge run by the Reading Agency. The last time we can recall the rugby world supporting a reading initiative was at the launch, at Twickenham stadium, of Mills & Boon's rugby romances, where drinks were served by waiters in only rugby socks and pinnies. But this latest is even more likely to make the girls swoon. The new ambassador for the Six Book Challenge, which encourages unsure readers, is the Leeds and England rugby league player Jamie Jones-Buchanan, who only started to enjoy reading in his twenties. "When I was young I used to see other people reading, especially girls, and I always wished I could read like that. But for me, at that age, it was futile …. Now I read with my three sons as often as I can. My life is more rounded because of reading. My message to any rugby fans thinking of signing up for the Six Book Challenge would be give it a go. Don't be shy or embarrassed... No one will be judging you and it can only bring you good things."