The Year’s Most Challenged Books, Improbable Libraries, and More


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:

The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom released its annual “Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books” yesterday. The list is based on reports of community members who attempted to have literature removed from schools and libraries over the past year. Sherman Alexie’s novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, was found to be the most-challenged book of 2014. (Los Angeles Times)

A new data-mining project created by the Stanford Literary Lab mapped emotions conveyed in common novel settings in Victorian London. Researchers analyzed text from 741 Victorian authors including Dickens, Thackeray, and Austen. The project is part of a “growing movement in the humanities to harness digital technology for cultural analysis—like treating books as data to create ‘literary geography,’” the New York Times reports.

Publisher HarperCollins issued a statement yesterday saying it had reached an agreement with Amazon. The agreement follows speculations that HarperCollins would refuse to sign a new contract with Amazon once its existing contract expired. (Publishers Weekly)

Musician and author Patti Smith will publish a second memoir, M Train, in October. Smith won the 2010 National Book Award for nonfiction for her first memoir, Just Kids. (New York Magazine)

Published in time for National Library Week, Alex Johnson’s new book, Improbable Libraries: A Visual Journey to the World’s Most Unusual Libraries, shows how the concept of the library is evolving worldwide. (SF Gate)

Over 1,100 European authors, including late Nobel laureate Günter Grass and Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek, have signed a petition calling for greater protection for refugees in Europe. The letter, which will be delivered to the president of the European parliament by members of English PEN, PEN International, and German PEN, proposes the creation of a European refugee fund that would “ensure that the fate of refugees is independent of regional prejudice or changing attitudes towards immigrants.” (Guardian)

Ahead of Litro’s seminar on Mexican literature in translation at the London Book Fair today, Polish novelist A. M. Bakalar offers a reading list of ten books in translation by women.