Banned Books in Missouri, Lorrie Moore on Friday Night Lights, and More

Evan Smith Rakoff

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today's stories:

A school board in Republic, Missouri has banned two books, Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five and Sarah Ockler's young-adult novel Twenty Boy Summer. Vonnegut's famous novel was removed from the student curriculum, and Ockler's book was eliminated from the school's library (Guardian). The Christian Science Monitor writes, "Somewhere, Kurt Vonnegut is laughing." Modern Library ranks Slaughterhouse-Five the eighteenth greatest English-language novel of the twentieth century.

Recent speculation that Apple may purchase Barnes & Noble is said to be unfounded. (Barron's)

In other Barnes & Noble news, two tech companies, Agere and LSI, are suing the company, claiming the Nook e-reader infringes on their patents (MSP News). This news follows on the heels of a compelling investigative report (National Public Radio) that explores the growing industry of patent lawsuits.

Lorrie Moore, author of the story collection Birds of America, writes about one of America's most critically acclaimed television shows, Friday Night Lights, as well as the film version, and the new book by H. G. Bissinger. (New York Review of Books)

Despite the trend of publishers hurrying the release of paperback books rather than waiting the customary year after the hardcover's release (New York Times), on rare occasions authors have their paperback releases pushed back. A delay can be a sign that the hardcover is selling well—case in point: Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken, which has over a million hardcovers in print and has sold over a half million e-books. (USA Today)

Novelist Colson Whitehead today concludes his report from the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas with part four of "Dispatches from the Republic of Anhedonia." If you've not been following the series, read it in its entirety here. (Grantland)

In book-to-film news, auteur director Terry Gilliam, perhaps best known for his 1985 film Brazil, is adapting Paul Auster's novel Mr. Vertigo. (Los Angeles Times)

Writer Edan Lepucki, whose recent literary novella is If You're Not Yet Like Me, explores how crime writer Tana French influenced her thoughts on plot. (Millions)