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POSTED March 18, 2013 10:32 p.m.

FREE E-'DA VINCI CODE' OFFERED UNTIL MARCH 24: NEW YORK (AP) — Ten years and tens of millions of copies later, "The Da Vinci Code" is on the house.

Doubleday announced Monday that a free e-book edition of Dan Brown's blockbuster novel will be available at online retailers through March 24. The e-book will include the prologue and first chapter of Brown's next novel, "Inferno," coming out in May. "The Da Vinci Code" was published March 18, 2003. It has since sold more than 80 million copies worldwide.

Doubleday also announced that Brown will make a single promotional appearance in the U.S. for "Inferno." He will speak at Avery Fisher Hall in Manhattan's Lincoln Center on May 15, the day after his new book is released. A livestream of his appearance will be shown at libraries and bookstores around the country.

RETURNING 'THE VOICE' ADDS EXTENDED EPISODES: LOS ANGELES (AP) — NBC is making the most of its returning hit series "The Voice."

The network said Monday the show will double to two hours on April 30 and May 7 to showcase pivotal rounds in the singing competition.

"The Voice" begins its new season at 8 p.m. EDT on Monday, March 25, with another two-hour episode. NBC, struggling in the ratings, is counting on the show to provide a boost.

Returning coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton will be joined by newcomers Usher and Shakira. They're stepping in for Christina Aguilera and CeeLo Green, who are taking a break from "The Voice" to focus on their music and other projects.

BOOKS ON FISHING, WARTIME WIN BANCROFT PRIZE: NEW YORK (AP) — A history of fishing in the Atlantic Ocean and a close study of wartime conduct have been named winners of the prestigious Bancroft Prize.

Columbia University announced Monday that the winners were W. Jeffrey Bolster's "The Mortal Sea: Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail" and John Fabian Witt's "Lincoln's Code: The Laws of War in American History." Each author will receive $10,000 for one of the most coveted awards among historians.

The winning books were chosen from 223 submissions.

The Bancroft Prize was established in 1948 and is administered by Columbia. Previous winners include Eric Foner's "The Fiery Trial" and Sean Wilentz's "The Rise of American Democracy."

POET PONSOT, 91, WINS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD : NEW YORK (AP) — Poet, teacher and translator Marie Ponsot has won a $100,000 lifetime achievement award.

The Chicago-based Poetry Foundation announced Monday the 91-year-old Ponsot has been awarded the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.

Ponsot has written six books of poetry and translated more than 30 books from French into English. Her previous honors include the Robert Frost Poetry Award and the National Book Critics Circle award.

The Ruth Lilly prize was established in 1986. Richard Wilbur, Philip Levine and John Ashbery are among the previous winners.

MEMBER OF MUSIC GROUP "THE SPINNERS" DIES IN FL: ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A former lead singer of the soul music group "The Spinners" has died in Orlando.

A statement released Monday by the manager of the rhythm and blues group said Bobbie Smith passed away Saturday morning due to complications from pneumonia and influenza. He was 76.

The statement says Smith had been diagnosed with lung cancer in November.

Smith was the group's original lead singer and was the voice on their first hit "That's What Girls Are Made For." Also called the "Detroit Spinners," the group earned nearly a dozen gold records and half a dozen Grammy award nominations.

The group's biggest hits in the 1970s included: "I'll Be Around," ''Could It Be I'm Falling In Love" and "Games People Play."

 

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