Friday Reading Roundup

By Mary Hendrie — April 04, 2014 1 min read
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As the week winds down, dive into some of the recent literary discussions you might have missed.

April is the craftiest month

Authors and news sources got in on the April Fools’ day fun, stirring up fake literary controversy and feuds.

NPR garnered closed to 40,000 Facebook “likes” on an article asking, “Why Doesn’t America Read Anymore?” Hundreds of readers proudly took to the comment section to declare themselves the exceptions, presumably before clicking through to discover the article was an April Fools’ joke."We sometimes get the sense,” the article read, “that some people are commenting on NPR stories that they haven’t actually read.”

EdCentral, the New America Foundation’s education news site, exposed the shocking underbelly of Harry Potter’s wizarding world with an expose on the untenable student debt associated with pursuing a Master of the Dark Arts degree. In honor of the holiday, the Huffington Post, ranked the top nine most mischievous literary pranksters. Lemony Snicket accused fellow author Malcolm Gladwell of plagiarizing such words as “I,” “he,” and “like,” prompting a playful and pun-laced back-and-forth between the bestselling authors.

Tweets from the underground

A decision this week by the Meridian School Board to suspend The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, a young-adult novel by Sherman Alexie, from the 10th grade supplement reading list has sparked complaints against school censorship. Gretchen Caserotti, a public library director in Meridian, shone a light on the process by live-tweeting the school board meeting during which the book was eventually banned.

In a post on Library Babel Fish, a blog hosted by Inside Higher Ed, librarian Barbara Fister savages the decision, asking “What exactly is it we are protecting our children from? Sex? Teenagers know about it. Profanity? Give me a . . . break. Challenging ideas? Isn’t that why our kids are in school?”

This is not the first time the novel, which follows the struggles of an American Indian boy in a mostly white high school, has faced controversy. According to the ALA, the book ranked as one of the top 10 books most frequently challenged or removed in schools in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

A version of this news article first appeared in the BookMarks blog.