Romance writer returns from the dead
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In a case of life imitating art, a Tennessee-based romance writer came back from the dead this month more than two years after her death was announced on a Facebook reading group.
NBC News reports that Susan Meachen’s “death” was announced in September 2020 by somebody claiming to be the writer’s daughter. The original announcement stated Meachen died by suicide after online bullying by members of the writing community. Following the announcement, the “daughter” finished and published what was described as Meachen’s last book.
Then on Jan. 2, of this year, the author returned to her Facebook page to announce she was still alive and planning to return to writing. The story can be found at wfp.to/SaG.
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An online AI chat tool launched in November, ChatGPT, became a sensation last month, as users experimented with having the AI bot write short essays and stories for them.
Now AI is promising another step forward in literature, with Apple Books launching what it calls “digital narration” as an option for audiobooks.
The company is offering two “digital voices,” named Madison and Jackson, and making the service available for books published on the platform in literary, historical and women’s fiction and romance. (You can’t yet get a robot to narrate your mystery, fantasy or, ironically, science fiction novel.)
There’s no word yet on development of an AI program to take on the task of listening to the audiobooks. The full story can be found at wfp.to/Sah.
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Two University of Manitoba professors of political science examine the North American Air Defence Command, better known as NORAD, in a new book that examines changes in technology and mandate at the Cold War-era military entity.
Andrea Charron and James Ferguson launch their book NORAD: In Perpetuity and Beyond (McGill-Queen’s University Press) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at McNally Robinson Booksellers’ Grant Park location. They focus on changes since 2006, when the Canada-U.S. joint entity acquired new missions in maritime and cyber defence.
The pair will discuss the book with U of M distinguished professor Rick Linden, who served more than 30 years in the air reserves, rising to the title Chief of Reserves and rank of Major-General.
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Manitoba poet and novelist Sarah Klassen launches her new historical novel, The Russian Daughter (CMU Press) Thursday at 7 p.m., at McNally Robinson’s Grant Park location.
Klassen, a former English teacher who has taught at summer institutes in Ukraine and Lithuania, takes readers back to the czarist empire in the era of the Russian Revolution in her new novel, in which a young Mennonite couple in what is now Ukraine adopts a Russian baby and faces a series of unexpected challenges.
Her 2013 novel The Wittenbergs won the Manitoba Historical Society’s Margaret McWilliams Award for popular history. She’s also a past winner of the League of Canadian Poets’ Gerald Lampert Memorial Award.
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The release last month of The January 6 Report, by the Congressional committee that investigated the riot that overwhelmed the U.S. Congress in 2021 in attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election, was the starting gun of a publishing industry race.
According to Publishers’ Weekly, three books featuring the text of the report hit the shelves by the end of the year. The first was from the Hachette Book Group’s Twelve imprint, featuring commentary from the New York Times, published two days after the text was made available on Dec. 22, 2022. Next was a second Hachette imprint, Celadon, in collaboration with the New Yorker, which published its print edition Dec. 27. Harper Paperbacks released its edition, with a foreword from lawyer and MSNBC legal correspondent Ari Melber, Dec. 29.
Sales figures from NPD BookScan show that the three editions sold more than 46,000 copies by early January. More publishers are expected to put out their own editions.