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Book News: LBJ And Lady Bird Johnson's Love Letters Go Public

Posted: February 14, 2013

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Also: The Knight Foundation apologizes; more bad news for Barnes & Noble; and discontinued candy heart slogans.

Lady Bird Johnson and  President Lyndon Johnson at an election rally in 1964.

Lady Bird Johnson and President Lyndon Johnson at an election rally in 1964. Terry Fincher

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

  • The LBJ Presidential Library in Austin is releasing the love letters of Lyndon B. Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson, appropriately, on Valentine's Day. The letters were written when both were in their twenties, and most have never been publicly available. The future president's letters are both passionate and insecure: "I'm sure that there is nothing that could be more distracting, disturbing and estranging tome than a continued evidence of indifference upon your part...I'm lonesome. I'm disappointed but what of it. Do you care?"
  • Barnes & Noble warned this week that third-quarter earnings for fiscal 2013 will be less than stellar. In particular, sales of the Nook digital reading device and its associated content were down.
  • On Wednesday, we told you that the Knight Foundation paid disgraced ex-New Yorker writer Jonah Lehrer $20,000 to speak at a conference. Now the foundation has posted an apology on its blog: "In retrospect, as a foundation that has long stood for quality journalism, paying a speaker's fee was inappropriate. Controversial speakers should have platforms, but Knight Foundation should not have put itself into a position tantamount to rewarding people who have violated the basic tenets of journalism."
  • From The Atlantic: "Fax Me," "Let's Read" and other discontinued slogans on Sweetheart candy hearts, which have been around for nearly 150 years. "Fax Me," maybe, has outlived its usefulness, but "Let's Read"?
  • Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk announces with uncharacteristic brevity, "The next three books are written. Here are their titles, summaries and release years. Enjoy." His descriptions are pretty cryptic. One book is said to be "a comic/erotic thriller focusing on the apocalyptic marketing possibilities of feminine pleasure."
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