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Book News: DC Comics Introduces First Transgender Character

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

  • Wednesday's issue of "Batgirl" introduced the first transgender character in a mainstream comic series: Batgirl's roommate, Alysia Yeoh. Speaking with Wired, "Batgirl" writer Gail Simone said the choice was inspired by the diversity of comics fans and asked, "Why in the world can we not do a better job of representation of not just humanity, but also our own loyal audience?"
  • James Joyce's mention of "spurious coins" in his most famous novel, Ulysses, turned out to be surprisingly prescient: As NPR's Krishnadev Calamur reported Thursday, Ireland printed commemorative James Joyce coins with a mangled Ulysses quote on them — and then claimed the error was a matter of "artistic representation."
  • Mental Floss collects the "strangest" adaptations of Shakespeare, including a Klingon Hamlet and a toy ninja Macbeth. (As someone who once accidentally attended a completely nude performance of Macbeth, I can confidently say that their list is only the tip of the iceberg.)
  • In a Times Literary Supplement essay that reads like a detective novel, Eric Naiman points to an elaborate literary hoax beginning with an invented meeting between Dickens and Dostoyevsky.
  • "Kite Runner Author Khaled Hosseini Wants to Chat with You": It might sound like a pop-up ad, but its actually the title of a discussion People magazine moderated Thursday between Hosseini and his fans. Although People may seem like a surprising choice, as Slate's Alex Heimbach recently pointed out, it actually has a distinguished literary history and once even sent James Salter to Switzerland to interview Vladimir Nabokov.
  • A recently discovered manuscript by D.H. Lawrence took a contemporary to task for his sexist attitudes: "Even the most 'beautiful' woman is still a human creature. If he approached her as such, as a being instead of as a piece of lurid meat, he would have no horrors afterwards."
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