THE PROSE of best-selling author

James Patterson

is probably never going to be analyzed in

literature classes, but the man knows how to spin a yarn and churn out books perfect for airplanes,

beaches, armchairs and the john.

Now the author of the Alex Cross and Women's Murder Club series for adults, the Maximum Ride series for teens and oodles of other novels either written solo or with a co-author, has decided to give some of his money to school libraries.

(Patterson has already handed out more than $1 million to independent bookstores.)

Patterson, who's reported to have sold more than 300 million books, announced yesterday that he was donating $1.25 million through a grant program administered with Scholastic Reading Club. Libraries or supporters of libraries can seek donations of $1,000 to $10,000. Scholastic will match each donation with "Bonus Points" that can be used to purchase classroom materials. According to Patterson, requests can be for anything from fixing a computer system to paying for a school reading project.

To apply: (No hyphen.)

Director pleads guilty

A year after a freight train plowed into crew members for a movie about singer

Gregg Allman

, killing a young camera assistant, the director,

Randall Miller

, was sentenced to two years in jail yesterday as part of a plea deal.

The "Midnight Rider" helmer pleaded guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing as part of a last-minute deal in southeast Georgia, which got prosecutors to drop charges against Miller's wife and business partner, Jody Savin. Exec producer Jay Sedrish also pleaded guilty and got 10 years' probation.

Prosecutors said that all three defendants knew that CSX Transportation, which owned the trestle spanning the Altamaha River, had denied them permission in writing to film on its tracks.

The crew thought the rails were done for the day, but there's another train. There always is.







Sam Smith


Iggy Azalea


Florida Georgia Line


Jason Aldean


Meghan Trainor

will perform at the second-annual iHeartRadio Music Awards on March 29 at the Shrine Auditorium in L.A.

Jamie Foxx

will host.

Azalea and Smith are the top nominees, with five nominations apiece. Azalea, Smith, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and Luke Bryan are nominated for artist of the year.

It will air live on NBC and iHeartMedia's radio stations.

- Daily News wire services

contributed to this report.