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Judging A Book By Its Cover: Authors Who Stirred A Storm

Freshly Brewed Controversy
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Freshly Brewed Controversy

The Bombay High Court has restrained industrialist Vijaypat Singhania from releasing his tell-all memoir. Here are other tomes that took a page out of controversy’s book.

BCCL
Plagiarism Plague
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Plagiarism Plague

In June 2012, American rapper Jay-Z (in pic) was sued by writer Patrick White. The latter claimed that large parts of the musician’s 2010 autobiography, Decoded, was a product of plagiarism. White claimed that his laptop was stolen in 2009, a year before the book was published, and that the book contained “expressions/colours/ phrases” that co-related to his work. In fact, the book was a collection of Jay-Z’s songs and the story behind how each one was made.


(Image: AFP)

Agencies
Fallen Cyclist
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Fallen Cyclist

After Lance Armstrong (in pic) confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs, two of his fans sued him in January 2013 for lying in his two memoirs — It’s Not About the Bike (2000) and Every Second Counts (2003). Rob Stutzman and Jonathan Wheeler said they wouldn’t have bought the books if they knew they were works of fiction.

Agencies
A Fictional Saga
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A Fictional Saga

American author Augusten Burroughs (in pic) was sued by his foster family, the Turcottes, for defaming them in his 2002 memoir Running with Scissors. In his book, Burroughs describes his life after his chainsmoking mother asked her psychiatrist Dr Rodolph Turcotte to be his legal guardian so that he could attend school in Northampton, Massachusetts. The Turcottes filed a suit against him in 2005 claiming large parts of the book were untrue. These included the family condoning affairs between adults and children and keeping an electroshock machine hidden under the stairs. Burroughs settled the suit in 2007. The book was then classified as fiction instead of a memoir.

Agencies
Striking A Chord
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Striking A Chord

Celebrated English concert pianist James Rhodes (in pic) had to fight his ex-wife in court to publish his 2015 autobiography, Instrumental: A Memoir of Madness, Medication and Music. She filed an injunction in court in October 2014 that sought to stop publication on the grounds that it would psychologically harm their 12-year-old son who had been detected with Asperger’s Syndrome. The book gave details of sexual abuse that the pianist had faced as a child. In May 2015, the court overturned the injunction, clearing the path for the publication of the book.

Agencies
Witness Protection
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Witness Protection

Mineko Iwasaki, the inspiration for Memoirs of a Geisha, filed a lawsuit against author Arthur Golden (in pic) in 2001. She claimed that despite being promised that her name would be kept confidential, Golden mentioned her in the novel’s acknowledgments. While Golden had told Iwasaki that he was only researching for his book when he interviewed her, the lives of many of the characters in the book closely mirrored hers. The lawsuit was settled out of court in 2003.

Agencies
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