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On the Books: Tom Hanks pens short story for The New Yorker

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– We know how much Tom Hanks loves typewriters—but since he co-wrote 2001’s Band of Brothers, the actor hasn’t had much original writing to show. Maybe he wiped the dust off his favorite typing device for “Alan Bean Plus Four,” a fictional story he penned for the new issue of The New Yorker.

The humorous story, about four buddies who journey to the moon in a capsule made from duct tape, is positively Hanksian. As an author, Hanks uses similar themes to the roles he has championed—limitless ambition, vivid detail, and emotional depth. Or maybe that could all stem from the 18-minute recording The New Yorker provided of Hanks reading the story himself. [The New Yorker]

– “Jimmy Fallon” may be a household name, but that wasn’t enough to convince his daughter, Winnie Rose, to devote her first words to him. Now the late-night host has concocted a board book to right this wrong. Aptly titled Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada, the book features illustrations by Miguel Ordóñez and will be available June 9, 2015. Says Fallon: “This is one of the few celebrity books that you can tell was actually written by a celebrity.” [People]

– New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has taken on another major topic, setting his sights on Amazon’s book-selling policies. In an article published today, Krugman argued that whether or not you use and enjoy the service—both of which he says he does—Amazon is on the wrong side of history. He pulls out some surprising parallels between Amazon’s monopolistic tendencies and those of Standard Oil over a hundred years ago. Here’s Krugman’s argument, in his own words:

Don’t tell me that Amazon is giving consumers what they want, or that it has earned its position. What matters is whether it has too much power, and is abusing that power. Well, it does, and it is. [The New York Times]

– Last week, the University of South Carolina claimed author Elmore Leonard’s archives. Now Princeton has claimed an even bigger literary prize: the papers of Nobel laureate Toni Morrison. The author’s materials will not become part of the school’s permanent library collection. Morrison served on Princeton’s faculty for 17 years, and the development was announced on Friday at a conference named “Coming Back: Reconnecting Princeton’s Black Alumni.”

The 83-year-old Morrison has an impressive résumé: She has written 10 novels and received awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. But the number to remember is 180. That’s the number of linear feet Morrison’s papers—which include manuscripts, drafts, and proofs—comprise. [Princeton University]

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