Bill Cosby biographer will not revise his book, for now
-Bill Cosby biographer Mark Whitaker has decided that as of now he will not revise Cosby: His Life and Times, published in September, to include the numerous recent allegations of sexual assault against the comedian. Whitaker’s bio paints a sunny picture of Cosby. Last week he told the The Daily Beast that future editions may be revised. “Well, look, obviously the story has changed, and I’m going to have to address that in future editions of the book, if not sooner,” he said, adding, “If it happened, and it was a pattern, it’s terrible and really creepy.”
Yet Whitaker also appeared to defend his subject, citing his age and the scandal’s damage to his career. “He’s routinely called a rapist everywhere. That’s a big price.” On Monday, David Carr named Whitaker in a New York Times piece calling out Cosby’s “Media Enablers.” Whitaker tweeted in reponse: “I was wrong to not deal with the sexual assault charges against Cosby and pursue them more aggressively,” and “I am following new developments and will address them at the appropriate time. If true the stories are shocking and horrible.” [Publishers Weekly]
-Aretha Franklin isn’t getting any respect from David Ritz, author of a new unauthorized biography of the singer called Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin—or what Franklin calls “a trashy book full of lies.” The conflict is particularly strange because the two have worked closely before. Ritz worked with Franklin, 72, for her authorized 1999 biography, Aretha: From These Roots, and wrote the album notes on her 1992 box set release Queen of Soul: The Atlantic Recordings (for which he won a Grammy). Ritz covers Franklin’s purported teenage pregnancies, family dysfunction, and alleged alcoholism—as well as her extreme jealousy of singers like Diana Ross and Whitney Houston. Franklin slams all these allegations, saying in a statement:
“As many of you are aware, there is a very trashy book out there full of lies and more lies about me. Clearly the writer has no class, no conscience or standards! His actions are obviously vindictive because I edited out some crazy statements he had the gall to try and put in my book written 15 years ago. Evidently, he has been carrying this hatred ever since.” [The Telegraph]
-In the midst of the tragedy and chaos taking place in Ferguson, Missouri—after the announcement of the jury’s decision not to indict the police officer who killed Michael Brown—there is an unexpected outpouring of generosity at the Ferguson Public Library. The Los Angeles Times reports that the library received tens of thousands of dollars in online donations from nearly 3,000 people on the evening of and day after the controversial verdict and the violent riots it sparked. Authors and journalist have been encouraging people via Twitter to help the town by donating to the library.
-A librarian stumbled upon a Shakespeare treasure in a little French town this Fall—a four century-old First Folio by the Bard himself, valued at £3.5 million ($5.5 million). It is believed that only 230 copies or so of the book—the first compilation of Shakespeare’s plays—exist in the world, and this one was sitting untouched on the shelves of a library in France for a couple hundred years. The librarian, Rémy Cordonnier, was looking for books for a library exhibition of Anglo-Saxon authors when he discovered the well-worn compendium, which had been wrongly identified in the catalog as an 18th century item. “I didn’t instantly recognise it as a book of value. It had been heavily used and was damaged. It had seen better days.” [The Guardian]