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May 10, 2010

Glenn Beck's followers now taking aim at gay library books

School ban on gay anthology challenged by US free speech organisations | Books | guardian.co.uk
American free speech organisations are fighting a decision by a New Jersey school to remove a critically acclaimed anthology of writing about teenage homosexuality from library shelves after parents described it as vulgar and obscene. Revolutionary Voices, a collection of stories, poems and artwork by young homosexuals, was banned at Rancocas Valley Regional High School last week following a campaign by the local chapter of Glenn Beck's conservative 9.12 project. Local grandmother and 9.12 member Beverly Marinelli told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the book was "pervasively vulgar, obscene, and inappropriate", while insisting that she is "not a homophobe". But a coalition of free speech groups has jumped to the book's defence, saying that residents "have no right to impose their views on others or to demand that the contents of the library reflect their personal, religious, or moral values". . . . "No one has to read something just because it's on the library shelf," the letter continued. "No book is right for everyone, and the role of the library is to allow students to make choices according to their own interests, experiences, and family values ... Even if the books are too mature for some students, they will be meaningful to others."

Bronte Sisters Action Figures!

Make sure and watch until the end. Bookninja -- Start your Monday right!

May 09, 2010

Charlie Stross on the future of e-books

CMAP #9: Ebooks - Charlie's Diary As always with Mr. Stross--and especially with his recent essay series explaining the nuts and bolts of the publishing industry--this essay is fascinating and erudite and easy to read. He lays out the history of e-books, the present, and likely scenarios for the future including some strengths of teh form that had never occurred to me. Below is a tiny bit from his preamble; please click through for the whole thing.
The lessons I'd like you to draw from those two earlier essays are: 1. A manuscript is not the same thing as a book. Just as a random sampling of 100,000 words is not a novel, so too does a finished book differ from a manuscript (the text an author writes, which forms the core of the book). In particular, about 80-90% of the cover price of a book has nothing to do with the paper and ink object you buy in a shop; indeed, using current production standards, ebook production requires nearly as much work as paper book production. (Paper and ink are dirt cheap; proofreaders and marketing teams aren't.) 2. Ebooks differ from paper books insofar as you need a device to read them with. This device, which may be hardware, software, or both, I shall henceforth refer to as a platform. Amazon's Kindle software (or reader) is a platform. The ePub file format standard is part of a platform, which may be the Sony Reader Store/Adobe Digital Editions, or Apple's iBooks (which is just a variant implementation of ePub), or Stanza. The hardware the platform runs on has hitherto been either a PC, or a PDA, or more recently an e-ink based ebook reader, and now (with increasing frequency) a smartphone. . . .

May 05, 2010

Why No Jewish Fantasy?

Publications > Jewish Review of Books" href="http://www.jewishreviewofbooks.com/publications/detail/why-there-is-no-jewish-narnia">Why There Is...

May 03, 2010

Bill Murray reads poetry to construction workers

They're working on the Poet's House in NYC.

April 30, 2010

Digested Classic: The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Digested classic: The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran | Books | guardian.co.uk I always love the Guardian's digested classics. Here they utterly savage the hippie-beloved "The Prophet." Please read the whole thing.
. . . So he said unto himself many more meaningless and contradictory statements until he reached the city. There the priests and priestesses said unto him. Fain, go not away from us. Much have we loved you, though speechless has been our love. Sadly, we've chosen this moment to put that love in words for otherwise you would have been out of here and we'd all have breathed a sigh of relief. Then a woman named Almitra stepped out of the sanctuary. Prophet of God, in search of the uttermost, please tell me what you know of Love before you go. He looked profoundly into the middle-distance before uttering. I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes, Love is all around me, And so the feeling grows. And what of Marriage, Almitra asked? Sometimes you shall be together, Sometimes you shall be apart. And then a woman who held a babe unto her bosom said, Speak to us of Children. People of Orphalese. Your children are not your children. Especially if they are adopted or have been kidnapped. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for the children invariably know best. So if they want to eat loads of sweets and beat the crap out of one another, you shouldst stand back and let them. . . .