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Authors, readers, critics, media — and booksellers.


Book News for Thursday, August 30, 2007

  • Happy Feat: The American Library Association has released its list of the most challenged books, and the number one book that weathered the most complaints from parents, teachers, etc., was And Tango Makes Three, the "gay penguin" book. According to the New York Times:

    In all, the number of books challenged last year was 546, compared with 406 in 2005, but low in contrast to the figures recorded in the mid-1990s, when challenges exceeded 750 a year.

    Some might see the higher number in 2006 as a bad thing. Not me — I'm a "banned book half-read" kind of guy. Look at it this way: since everyone knows the best way to get kids to do anything is to forbid them from doing it and then make a huge deal out of how forbidden the activity is, 140 more challenges in 2006 means more people read challenged books last year!

    And that explains why so many American children have suddenly transformed into gay penguins. The challengers were right — the book is poisoning our young!

  • An Omnivore's Manifesto: If you've already read today's Review-A-Day from the Atlantic Monthly, in which B. R. Myers (of A Reader's Manifesto infamy) actually recommends Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, albeit hesitantly:

    In the first seven chapters, Pollan writes of the role of corn in American life in such an improbably thrilling manner that I have to recommend the book despite my reservations about the rest of it.

    Myers liked something?! Even a "kind of like" is impressive. Check out the full review and be amazed and astonished!

    What's next — Dale Peck fawning over the newest Rick Moody book? Dogs and cats living together?! Mass hysteria!

  • A Most Dignified Beast: Because this is such a slow news day, and because Ian McKellen is so damn awesome, why not listen to Sir McKellen read the final chapter of Wolf Brother — described as "the first of Michelle Paver's bestselling Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series" — via the Guardian?

    Close your eyes and imagine that Gandalf (or Magneto — or Richard III, if that's how you prefer to roll) is sitting next to you reading the book, and might at any moment pause to offer you a glass of cool lemonade. Just the word "lemonade," filtered through that Ian McKellen voice, makes the ice melt.

  • Confidential Splendor: Anthony Bourdain, meet Harvey Pekar.

    Harvey, Anthony.

    Anthony, Harvey.

    Everybody DUCK!!!

÷ ÷ ÷

Brockman is the head writer for the daily Book News posts on the blog. In his free time he's hard at work on his fictional memoir, which changes titles daily.

The views and commentary posted by Brockman are entirely his own, and are not representative of the whole of Powell's Books, its employees, or any sane human being.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. And Tango Makes Three
    New Hardcover $17.99

  2. The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural...
    Used Trade Paper $8.95

  3. Chronicles of Ancient Darkness #1:...
    Used Trade Paper $3.50

3 Responses to "Book News for Thursday, August 30, 2007"

    Alexis August 30th, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    The best part about And Tango Makes Three is that it's a true story about two penguins in the Central Park Zoo. People are all freaked out that books will make their kids gay, but seems to me it's zoos they should be worried about.

    Brockman (Post Author) August 30th, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    Excellent point, Alexis! I learned a few things from monkeys that would just horrify my parents, even today.

    Carla August 30th, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    What a coincidence.. I just finished Soul Eater the third book in Michelle Paver's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness:

    and it is such a good story. I'd recommend it to everyone ...

    ummm... except maybe Steven Cobert.. because of his.. umm issues with Bears..

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