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Book News for Wednesday, November 28, 2007

  • The Big, Brown Castle In the Thick, Dark Forest: The late Norman Mailer takes one more (slightly dubious) award to the grave with him — he's posthumously won the Bad Sex Award, beating out such stiff competition (sorry) as Ian McEwan, Jeanette Winterson, and Ali Smith.

    This year's Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction award has gone to the late Norman Mailer for a description of oral sex in his final novel, The Castle in the Forest, in which a male member is likened to a "coil of excrement".

    "It was the excrement that tipped the balance," admitted Philip Womack, assistant editor of the Literary Review, whose editorial staff judge the annual prize. "That, and the line about Alois [the male character] being 'ready at last to grind into her with the Hound, drive it into her piety'. That was pretty awful."

    Reached from the afterlife with the help of a psychic publicist, Mailer's ghost issued the following statement on a Ouija board: "Daddy, those sons-of-a-bitches wouldn't know the love from the sex and the shit from the love! I'm gonna make fiery-hot humpy-hump to that award like it's my own reflection in the mirror and ain't nothin' gonna stop me now!"

    Something may have been lost in the translation.

  • Turkey You Don't Want for Leftovers: Proving yet again that the Middle East is nothing if not a bastion of open-minded, forward-thinking progressiveness:

    A Turkish prosecutor is considering whether to prosecute the Turkish publisher of Richard Dawkins' bestselling atheist polemic, The God Delusion, on the grounds that it incites religious hatred.

    The prosecutor then went on to call Jesus a "silly, stinky poophead," referred to Buddha as "fat and dumb and really fat," and added that he can't tolerate intolerance of all religions.

    The publisher, Erol Karaaslan, said today that he expected to be questioned on Thursday by an Istanbul prosecutor as part of an official investigation, and faces prosecution both as its publisher and translator. The book has sold some 6,000 copies in Turkey since it was published by his Kuzey publishing house in June. The inquiry apparently began after one reader complained that passages in the book were an assault on "sacred values".

    Forgive me, but is this the same Turkey that tried Orhan Pamuk on the heinous charge of "insulting Turkishness"?

    Because you've got to wonder if Karaaslan pretty much thought it would be fun to see how long he could get away with publishing a book titled God's Delusion in Turkey before he ended up in a prison cell — or worse. Maybe he has some friends in the slammer he wanted to visit.

  • She's a Whole Lotta Rock'n Roll Fun: Not book news, per se, but Portland rock star news, which is just as good.

    Former Sleater-Kinney guitarist Carrie Brownstein (who has lately been all over the place) reviews the video game Rock Band for Slate.

  • The Quidditch Cup Runneth Over: USA Today has the full report on the Intercollegiate Quidditch World Cup Fall Festival.

    Yeah, for reals — flying broomsticks optional.

÷ ÷ ÷

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.

3 Responses to "Book News for Wednesday, November 28, 2007"

    manwith7talents November 28th, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    There should also be an award for the worst sex scene in a movie, since there are always plenty of candidates. I like a good sex scene as much as the next person, but in truth these scenes rarely advance the plot or the characters. Worse, they often aren't even hot. One great thing about nineteenth century novels is the way the sex scenes are elided, sparing us the awkward descriptions.

    Brockman (Post Author) November 28th, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    manwith7talents, your wish is granted!

    Worst nude scene ever (courtesy of Empire magazine).

    Entertainment Weekly's blog PopWatch asked readers which sex scene was the worst ever filmed. (My fave is Leah Thompson and a dwarf in a creepy costume in Howard the Duck.)

    manwith7talents November 28th, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    Thanks Brockman! I pretty much agree with those lists.

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