By September 10, 2008 2 Comments Read More →

Quickly: Booker, Rushdie, Rowling, Palin, Challenged Books

The Booker shortlist has been announced: Aravind Adiga (The White Tiger), Sebastian Barry (The Secret Scripture), Amitav Ghosh (Sea of Poppies), Linda Grant (The Clothes on Their Backs), Philip Hensher (The Northern Clemency), Steve Toltz (A Fraction of the Whole)–but no Salman Rushdie (The Enchantress of Florence). Why not? The book wasn’t good enough (“Rushdie ‘not good enough’ for Booker shortlist,” by Michelle Pauli and Alison Flood, The Guardian). Not sure about the quotes in that headline, though–they seem to be quoting the authors of the article, not the judges of the contest.

Faring better are two first novelists, although Barry is currently a 2/1 favorite (“First-timers seeking Booker glory,” BBC). Again, not sure about that headline. Did they write their books specifically for the Booker? If you’re not Bookered out by now, you may enjoy scrolling through 40 years of Behind the Bookers (“Tears, tiffs, and triumphs,” The Guardian). They certainly don’t make judges like Rebecca West any more:

“Miss Murdoch writes good and bad novels in alternate years,” she said. “This is a bad year.” Muriel Spark: “clever but too playful.” And out they went.

In other news, the case of  J. K. Rowling and the Adoring Librarian has been adjudicated, and it appears that the plucky young author, Ms. Rowling, has escaped with her intellectual property intact. Reported, appropriately enough, in the Financial Times (“Harry Potter author wins case,” by Matthew Garrahan in Los Angeles). Saying she “took no pleasure” in the lawsuit, she then retreated to her castle, where she peered into her crystal ball, seeking out other would-be authors in their bedroom and basement offices. The authors will be defended by a plucky band of hobbits, dwarves, and sentient woodland creatures–emake that The Right to Write Fund (“Right to Write Fund to Back Creative Artists,” by Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly).

The list of books that Sarah Palin allegedly wished to remove from the library was bogus. I could have told you that, which is why I never linked to it in the first place. But if you want more details, visit Galleycat, who refers you to the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman (“Palin: Library censorship inquiries ‘Rhetorical,’” by Paul Stuart, not the clothier).

Far less rhetorical: ALA’s 10 Most Challenged Books of 2007.



About the Author:

Keir Graff is Executive Editor of Booklist Publications and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix (2011). Follow him on Twitter at @Booklist_Keir.

2 Comments on "Quickly: Booker, Rushdie, Rowling, Palin, Challenged Books"

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  1.' Pete says:

    I highly doubt that Palin’s question was rhetorical. You don’t ask a librarian about how to go about banning books just to pass the time of day.

  2. Keir says:

    Maybe it’s the same level of rhetoric employed by the guy who asks you, “How would you like a punch in the face?”

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