The inside scoop on the book world

— REBEL YELL Critic Armond White is considering legal action against Thunder’s Mouth Press over the way it handled his just-published Rebel for the Hell of It: The Life of Tupac Shakur. According to White, the company shortened his acknowledgments section and added its own, revised his manuscript without showing him the changes, and inserted a five-page Editor’s Note that the author says ”forces a connection between the deaths of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls — which I took pains not to do and which I think reinforces certain racist stereotypes.” Thunder’s Mouth publisher Neil Ortenberg says his actions were the result of a contentious editing process that began when White — who had promised to write an instant bio — instead turned in a book heavy on critical analysis and light on information. Though Ortenberg has offered to make the changes White wants for the second printing, the author plans to seek legal redress through the Authors Guild, which is looking into the issue.

— MUSIC TO HER EARS Jewel Kilcher, the 23-year-old singer-songwriter better known as Jewel, who grew up on an Alaskan homestead without television or running water, has just made a $2 million, two-book deal with HarperCollins. In keeping with the wholesome tenor of Jewel’s multiplatinum-selling debut CD, Pieces of You, the first book, due in June ’98, will be an as yet untitled volume of poetry. ”They’re typical girl stuff,” an editor at a rival house says of the poems. ”Falling in love. Wanting to ride a horse. That kind of thing.” The second book, timed to coincide with her second album next fall, will be a memoir/scrapbook.