A 17-year-old Iowa boy who plans on going into "the ministry" says that the dirty language and the using of Jesus' name in vain that he found in Of Mice and Men made him uncomfortable, so he wants the Newton, Iowa school board to remove it from the classroom. Will there be any books--other than the Good One--left in Iowa and Kansas? Stay tuned.
Meanwhile for some news that proves that all ain't bad in the classrooms, an English teacher at a New Jersey school who amazingly is being allowed to teach On the Road this year will have her students do their reports on the book using typewriters instead of computers. Damn good idea.
Fiction meets reality, Big Brother edition: according to this story, there are thirty-two closed-circuit TV cameras within 200 yards of George Orwell's flat in Canonbury Square in Islington, North London.
Scientists in England plan on studying the smells emitted by aging books at Cambridge University's library in order to discover the whats and hows of book decomposition and to find ways to better preserve the collection.
Baton Rouge's The Advocate looks at the new noir anthology from Akashic Books:
The theme of these books is the dark side — usually involving some criminal activity. Every city has this underside, this hidden subculture whose members wouldn’t fit in suburbia. New Orleans is a natural, and crime writer Julie Smith, a resident of Faubourg Marigny, exploits the seamy side of the city in her detective stories. She’s a perfect choice to edit a noir fiction collection set in New Orleans.
New Orleans is really two places now: the city that was before Hurricane Katrina and the city that is left. Or, as Smith notes in her introduction, “pre- or post-K.” To accommodate both New Orleans incarnations, Smith has divided the stories in this collection into two parts, the first 10 stories, pre-K, are grouped in the section “Before the Levees Broke,” the second part, post-K, is called “Life in Atlantis.”
The Boston Globe's Frederick Burger examines Faulkner as a tourist attraction and gets this great quote from writer Bill Emerson who was sent to Oxford in 1954 to interview Faulkner for Newsweek:
"He couldn't have been more surly. He was wearing cutoff khaki pants and was bare chested and had a bristle beard. I didn't care how he looked, but I thought it was a fairly uncouth and primitive reception. There was the not-too-veiled suggestion that I might suffer physically for the intrusion and that the intrusion infuriated him. . . . He was a feisty cat, a plucky nipper. He had plenty of fury, but he also had a magnetic quality. He was short, but you didn't get a sense that he was little."
Benjamin Percy has been awarded the Paris Review's Plimpton Prize for his story "Refresh, Refresh".