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On the Books: Flanagan's Man Booker Prize keeps him from returning to mines

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Richard Flanagan
Alastair Grant/Getty Images

– Earlier this month, Aussie author Richard Flanagan won the Man Booker Prize for his novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North, about World War II POWs who are forced to build the Thai-Burma “death railway.” Flanagan’s book may have been compelling written and about an interesting topic—but it was selling poorly. So poorly, in fact, that Flanagan was considering going back to work in the mines.

Well, he’s doing okay now. Last week, Flanagan’s book sales earned the U.S. equivalent of about $220,000, which is more than his combined BookScan sales for the previous 10 years. The $80,000 prize money also helped. Says Flanagan: “In essence, this means I can continue to write.” [L.A. Times]

– Harry Potter fans waiting with bated breath for a romance novel featuring Hermione and Ron should probably exhale. Earlier this week a report by the Daily Mail claimed J.K. Rowling was in a bar Monday celebrating the completion of a romantic novel. Rowling took to Twitter to explain that she’s only halfway through her current book, that that book isn’t a romance, and that “(brace yourselves) sometimes I have a drink even when I haven’t finished a book. Yes, that’s how rock and roll I really am.”

Of course, Rowling is already working on a screen adaptation of the Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and there are no guarantees her next novel will even be Potter-related. Looks like it’ll be a while before Rowling fits into this billion-dollar affair. [USA Today]

– All too often, the cycle in which washed-up celebrities cash in with pulpy memoirs and as guests on reality TV series repeats itself. But hip-hop legend Darryl McDaniels, a founder of Run-D.M.C., is doing something way, way cooler. McDaniels has loved comics since he read them as a kid in Queens, and now he has launched Darryl Makes Comics to put his own spin on the genre.

DMC No. 1 hits shelves on Oct. 29 and follows an alternate New York reality where DMC never became a rapper. Instead, the comic’s description explains, DMC wears a tracksuit and Adidas sneakers to defend “the city’s marginalized citizens against super villain and super hero alike,” allying himself with a reporter and a band of graffiti artists. The comics will blend “traditional comic book storytelling with the pressures and anxieties of 1980’s NYC.” This week has been a great one for comic lovers. [Mediabistro]

– Getting ahold of books in the Bronx will soon get tougher. At the end of the year, the only Barnes & Noble in the borough will close after 15 years in business. This Barnes & Noble was the last major full-service bookstore the area had, and many traveled by bus and train to peruse its books; now only specialty booksellers will remain in the Bronx. [The New York Times]

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