12 Books We’re Excited About This Year

A few things to put on your 2015 book list. Read More

Alex Malarkey, the “boy” featured in the popular book The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven has reportedly sent an open letter to the site PulpitAndPen.org, recanting the story told in the book. In the letter (which you can read in full here), Malarkey, who is now 17 years old, said,

I did not die. I did not go to Heaven. I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention. When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible.

The letter is addressed to “Lifeway and Other Sellers, Buyers, and Marketers of Heaven Tourism, by the Boy Who Did Not Come Back From Heaven.” Over the summer, Malarkey’s mother took to her blog to criticize the publisher for listing her son as the book’s co-author, adding that the book could lead people away from the Bible. She outlined the ways that her young son—who was only 6 years old and recovering from major brain surgery when the events occurred—had recently attempted to tell a pastor how “wrong the book was.” She also said, “There are many who are scamming and using the Word of God to do it.” Alex’s father (his parent’s are divorced) is listed as the book’s co-author. Alex is a quadriplegic after suffering severe injuries in the car accident outlined in the book. The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven is thematically similar to several other recent books about people “visiting” heaven, including the best-seller Heaven Is For Real, which was just made into a major movie ... Discuss

For Serial-heads, one of the biggest pieces of Sarah Koenig's puzzle is "the deal with Jay," Adnan Syed's chief accuser in the 1999 murder of 18-year-old Hae Min Lee. (If none of this looks familiar to you, might we suggest you start here, because it's a long story.) Listeners know that Jay Wilds' single interview was not exactly revelatory, and the holes in his narrative never seemed to totally square with the evidence that actually put Syed away.

Now, after all but stonewalling Serial, Jay has given his first open interview to The Intercept, with a yet another new outline of the day's events. It's not a wild departure from his previous story, but there are a few key changes. In the new version, Jay maintains that he picked up Adnan from the Best Buy parking lot, but says he didn't see Hae's body until later, at his grandmother's house (he says he kept this detail a secret to protect her). He also says he wasn't with Adnan all day, as he originally claimed, and says the holes in his story are there because he wasn't fully willing to cooperate with the police. Read the first part of the interview here ... Discuss

War & Peace, probably on the shortlist of the greatest books of all time, is getting yet another adaptation. Wisely, producers have chosen to turn the book into neither a movie or (God forbid) a trilogy, but are teaming up with the BBC to make it into a miniseries—"mini" in this case being a figure of speech. The project was actually announced last year, but now Tolstoy's epic has a real cast, and it's an impressive one. Lily James (Downton Abbey) will split leading duties with Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood), as Natasha Rostov and Pierre Bezukhov, respectively. The script is being written by Andrew Davies, who handled the original British production of House of Cards. Emmys, make ready your nomination stations ... Discuss

J.K. Rowling is returning to Hogwarts. The author has announced that starting on Dec. 12, she’ll be releasing one new story on the site Pottermore every day leading up to Christmas. According to the Pottermore newsletter, the 12 days of Christmas style roll out will include "moments from Half-Blood Prince, shiny gold Galleons and even a new potion or two." Rowling has stayed busy since concluding the Harry Potter novels: In addition to writing detective fiction under the name Robert Galbraith, Rowling’s also written the script for the upcoming Harry Potter spinoff film, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, which is currently in the works ... Discuss

Your 2014 Book-Giving Guide

How to find the perfect books to give every person in your life this Christmas. Read More