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LitBits: Brief stories about books and writers

  • This photo provided by Penguin Group US shows author, Karen Joy Fowler. Fowler is a finalist for the prestigious PEN/Faulkner award for fiction. The PEN/Faulkner Foundation announced Wednesday, March 5, 2014, that Fowler has been nominated for "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves," (Penguin Group US) the story of a Midwestern family's travails. (AP Photo/Penguin Group US)

    This photo provided by Penguin Group US shows author, Karen Joy Fowler. Fowler is a finalist for the prestigious PEN/Faulkner award for fiction. The PEN/Faulkner Foundation announced Wednesday, March 5, 2014, that Fowler has been nominated for "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves," (Penguin Group US) the story of a Midwestern family's travails. (AP Photo/Penguin Group US)

  • This photo provided by Penguin Group US shows author, Karen Joy Fowler. Fowler is a finalist for the prestigious PEN/Faulkner award for fiction. The PEN/Faulkner Foundation announced Wednesday, March 5, 2014, that Fowler has been nominated for "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves," (Penguin Group US) the story of a Midwestern family's travails. (AP Photo/Penguin Group US)

    This photo provided by Penguin Group US shows author, Karen Joy Fowler. Fowler is a finalist for the prestigious PEN/Faulkner award for fiction. The PEN/Faulkner Foundation announced Wednesday, March 5, 2014, that Fowler has been nominated for "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves," (Penguin Group US) the story of a Midwestern family's travails. (AP Photo/Penguin Group US)

  • This photo provided by Penguin Group US shows author, Karen Joy Fowler. Fowler is a finalist for the prestigious PEN/Faulkner award for fiction. The PEN/Faulkner Foundation announced Wednesday, March 5, 2014, that Fowler has been nominated for "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves," (Penguin Group US) the story of a Midwestern family's travails. (AP Photo/Penguin Group US)
  • This photo provided by Penguin Group US shows author, Karen Joy Fowler. Fowler is a finalist for the prestigious PEN/Faulkner award for fiction. The PEN/Faulkner Foundation announced Wednesday, March 5, 2014, that Fowler has been nominated for "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves," (Penguin Group US) the story of a Midwestern family's travails. (AP Photo/Penguin Group US)

PEN/Faulkner prize finalists announced

NEW YORK — Karen Jay Fowler, best known for her novel “The Jane Austen Book Club,” is a finalist for the prestigious PEN/Faulkner award for fiction.

The PEN/Faulkner Foundation announced Wednesday that Fowler has been nominated for “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves,” the story of a Midwestern family’s travails. The other four finalists are Daniel Alarcon’s “At Night We Walk In Circles,” Percival Everett’s “Percival Everett By Virgil Russell” and a pair of short story collections, Joan Silber’s “Fools” and Valerie Trueblood’s “Search Party.” The winner, to be announced April 2, will receive $15,000. Finalists receive $5,000.

Charged with stealing rare books, man gets probation

EAST BROOKFIELD — A Leicester man charged with stealing rare books worth more than $100,000 from Becker College — including an original copy of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and a book signed by Abraham Lincoln — has been sentenced to probation and ordered to pay restitution.

Joseph Heath pleaded to sufficient facts for a guilty finding Monday to charges of receiving stolen property and larceny.

The Telegram & Gazette reports that he was put on probation for three years and ordered to pay $3,000 restitution.

The 53-year-old Heath was a janitor at the library when the books went missing in 2012. Prosecutors say he sold some to book dealers and others on Craigslist. Many have been recovered.

Heath told police the librarian often gave him books and told him to “take whatever you wanted.”

Publisher cancels book on Goldman Sachs Twitter feed

NEW YORK — Publication has been canceled for a planned book based on a popular and anonymous Twitter feed about Goldman Sachs and the financial industry.

Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, announced Thursday it would not release John Lefevre’s “Straight to Hell: True Tales of Deviance and Excess in the World of Investment Banking,” which had been scheduled to come out in October.

The Twitter feed, (at)GSElevator, had hundreds of thousands of followers and purported to offer an inside and irreverent take on the financial giant. But just weeks after Touchstone announced in January that it had reached a deal with the feed’s purported author, The New York Times revealed his identity as John Lefevre, a former bond executive who was based in Texas and had never worked for Goldman Sachs, despite earlier public comments that he did.

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