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Book News: American Library Association, Barnes & Noble Called 'Facilitators Of Porn'

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • The American Library Association and Barnes & Noble were among the groups named by conservative group Morality in Media in its "Dirty Dozen List" of "the top 12 facilitators of porn." The list states that the ALA encourages libraries to have unfiltered computers, and that the bookstore chain "is a major supplier of adult pornography and child erotica." The top spot, however, went to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for "refus[ing] to enforce existing federal obscenity laws."
  • Squirreled away in a recent Wall Street Journal article about a concert DVD by singer Alanis Morissette was this revelation: "She's focused at the moment on writing a book, which she calls 'transpersonal psychology meets autobiography, with a little humor thrown in, I hope.' "
  • The latest "Mysteries of the Vernacular" installment — charming video etymologies of English words — locates the word "clue" in the Minotaur's maze and Chaucer's England.
  • A new book by comedian Cleo Rocos, The Power of Positive Drinking, which comes out in May, claims that she and Queen singer Freddie Mercury sneaked Princess Diana into a gay bar in the 1980s by disguising her as a male model.
  • In The Guardian, John Dugdale takes apart "campus fiction," and, in particular, Joyce Carol Oates' The Accursed: "Oates's bizarre, sprawling novel, in which the devil comes to Princeton in 1905, is especially saturated with other books, ranging from vampire and Stephen King shockers to the prototypical tale of a don driven mad, Goethe's Faust. Like other recent campus concoctions, it suggests a moratorium has long been overdue."
  • Jacob Harris, senior software architect at The New York Times, has developed an algorithm to find accidental haikus in the paper, from the mundane: "The one thing to be / careful about / is trimming the broccoli rabe," to the poetic: "The buzzing of a / thousand bees in the tiny / curled pearl of an ear."
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