The Future of Books, Sherlock Holmes Banned, 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:

Will the Kindle destroy printed books? Is the Internet making us less intelligent? Then why is there evidence I.Q. scores in the west are rising? If our attention is interminably divided by an onslaught of media, how does one explain that our popular novels are Victorian in length? The Guardian chimes in on the ongoing argument about the future of books.

Just last month Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five was banned by a Missouri school board. Now, in Virginia, the book pulled from the classroom is the Sherlock Holmes mystery A Study in Scarlet. But it wasn't Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's portrayal of gruesome murder that the offended parent found age-inappropriate, but rather, how he portrays Mormons. (Atlantic)

Amazon is attempting to clean up its Kindle store by cracking down on the publishers of redundant public-domain e-books. In the store now, for example, there are over twelve thousand books on Kindle marketing. (New York Times)

"Let's go to Bricktop's!" Zelda Fitzgerald exclaims in Woody Allen's new Jazz-Age fantasy, Midnight in Paris. On the occassion of her belated birthday, the Paris Review takes a look at the saloon-keeper and performer known as Bricktop, whose extraordinary life is "indispensable to the telling of a certain moment in the history of Americans in Paris and café society everywhere."

The names of the final fifty selections for the Best New Poets anthology, edited by D.A. Powell, were released, and Flavorwire highlights some of its favorite new voices.

Writers' houses have been in the news lately, and ignoring the fact that the gorgeous Brooklyn, New York, townhouse that Truman Capote called home is on the market for eighteen million (New Yorker), poet April Bernard decries what she hates about these shrines to writers, especially the Vermont home of Robert Frost. (New York Review of Books)

Citing the careers of John Cheever, Richard Yates, and Joseph Heller, and the revivification of Paula Fox's and Philip K. Dick's novels, Salon discusses the attempts to launch a writer into the literary canon, or "how to bring an author back from the dead."

Patti Smith, artist, rock singer, avant-garde poet, and best-selling memoirist, will collaborate on the screenplay of an adaptation of her book, Just Kids, which details her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. (Galleycat)

In other book-to-film news, cast photos have been released for the film version of Stieg Larsson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. (Entertainment Weekly)