- 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!
- 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.
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Brockman is the head writer for the daily Book News posts on the Powells.com 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.
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