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Book News: World's Oldest Torah Scroll Found, Italian Scholar Says

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

  • A professor at the University of Bologna in Italy says he has found the world's oldest known complete Torah scroll. Hebrew scholar Mauro Perani says the manuscript had been mistakenly categorized as a 17th century work by a librarian at the university in 1889, and lay unnoticed in the archives until now. The sheepskin scroll, which contains the five books of the Pentateuch, dates from 1155 to 1225, according to carbon testing.
  • The Rev. Andrew M. Greeley, the Roman Catholic priest and novelist known for his outspoken opinions of his church, died Thursday morning, as NPR's Mark Memmott reported. He was 85. Greeley wrote more than 150 books, including nonfiction and thrillers. He once told The New York Times, "I suppose I have an Irish weakness for words gone wild. Besides, if you're celibate, you have to do something."
  • A new graphic novel about the Civil Rights movement has an unlikely blurber: former President Bill Clinton. The book co-written by Georgia Rep. John Lewis will tell the story of his fight for equal rights, including the 1963 March on Washington. Clinton wrote: "Congressman John Lewis has been a resounding moral voice in the quest for equality for more than 50 years, and I'm so pleased that he is sharing his memories of the Civil Rights Movement with America's young leaders. In March, he brings a whole new generation with him across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, from a past of clenched fists into a future of outstretched hands."
  • The French graphic novelist Julie Maroh, whose book Le Bleu Est une Couleur Chaude inspired the film which just took the Palm D'Or at Cannes, said that the film turned the relationship between two women into pornography for men. In a blog post, she called it "a brutal and surgical display, exuberant and cold, of so-called lesbian sex, which turned into porn, and made me feel very ill at ease."
  • Molly Fischer writes on Zelda Fitzgerland for The New Yorker: "Whether it's a critic restyling her as a feminist martyr or a novelist salvaging her story, the impulse to save Zelda animates the efforts of those invested in her legacy."
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