It’s time for some afternoon trivia; Hemingway or my mother’s email?
Haruki Murakami‘s Norwegian Wood has been dropped from one New Jersey school’s syllabus due to “some words and language that seemed to be inappropriate as far as the parents and some of the kids were concerned.” His publisher A. A. Knopf has issued a statement in response.
The Chicago Tribune is rolling out a new premium books section for $99 a year. The Printers Row offering (named for a Chicago neighborhood) “will feature 24 pages of book reviews, author interviews and Chicago-focused literary news, along with a weekly bonus book of short fiction.” You can either feel validated (special HBO-style “premium” section for readers!) or marginalized (so few people care about this that you have to pay extra if you want it.)
The International Writing Program at the University of Iowa is offering two seven-week online seminars free of charge this summer: Advanced Poetry and Poetry Masterclass. The seminars are intended for emerging and published poets, respectively, and they will be taught by Micah Bateman and Nick Twemlow. Anybody with an internet connection is allowed to apply, and applications are due May 8th.
On the heels of a New Mexico school district banning Neverwhere because a mother considered it “R-rated,” Neil Gaiman delivered a lecture for the Reading Agency about the importance of libraries and reading for children. “It’s tosh. It’s snobbery and it’s foolishness. There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different,” he said about banning books.
“Their staff is always sharp, and they seem to cover politics more robustly now. But through the 1960s there were so many political trends they ignored, pretending to be focused on craft and art for art’s sake.” An interview with Joel Whitney about his forthcoming book Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World’s Best Writers, which tells the story of how the intelligence agency helped found The Paris Review. With this backstory in mind, you may read the journal’s author interviews in an entirely new way.
“Nathan Englander’s characters have invented ‘the Anne Frank game’ whose major question is ‘who would hide you if there were another Holocaust.’ By making this a game, the characters demonstrate their affective distance from the event, but at the same time Englander illustrates that the Holocaust remains a touchstone for the marijuana-smoking, Orthodox Jews who bring the game to their secular Jewish friends.” On the fictional afterlife of Anne Frank.