A bunch of vaguely interesting book-ish links that have caught my eye of late. First up, an Italian NGO is calling for Dante’s ‘racist, Islamophobic and antisemitic’ epic poem, the Divine Comedy, to be removed from classrooms:
the Italian human rights organisation Gherush92, which advises UN bodies on human rights issues, wants it to be removed from school curriculums, or at least used with more caution, because it is “offensive and discriminatory” and young people lack the “filters” to understand it in context.
Always an interesting debate, this kind of thing, but I wonder what role teachers ought to play in establishing context. Surely if a book is on the curriculum, then context can and should be addressed. Should the so-called missing filters be introduced at this point? I’d rather kids were made aware of the failings of the past than have these books airbrushed from debate altogether. On a related point, if I was a publisher, I’d try an experimental marketing campaign trying to get a book banned or burned. Just watch the sales skyrocket…
That long-fated end of the book industry seems to be taking a halt as a new book chain dips its toes in UK waters:
The first Watermark bookshop in Europe has opened in the new London King’s Cross concourse with 7,000 books available for sale across the 1,100 sq ft shop.
Former Waterstones Islington manager Farah Taylor has taken charge of the shop as its manager and buyer and has employed 10 staff, who are all “from the book trade and passionate about books”.
Faber has a reasonably kooky but possibly cynical attempt at getting emotional/social buy-in to one of their books called Capital.
How will your life change in the next ten years? Will you be better or worse off? Sign up to Pepys Road and over ten days we’ll tell you how the world will change and what this will mean for you. We’ll also give you the prologue to Capital for free.
I remember the days where you got prologues for free without jumping through hoops! Finally, the Telegraph questions the teenage craze for dystopian fiction, and offers this ridiculous opening:
Many parents might feel worried on finding their teenage children addicted to grim visions of a future in which global warming has made the seas rise, the earth dry up, genetically engineered plants run riot and humans fight over the last available scraps of food.
Parents being worried about their kids reading that? Never mind the generations that grew up reading Stephen King. How terribly nasty. Or rather, how middle-class. How very Daily Telegraph.
Ironically, it’s denialist publications like the Telegraph that would contribute to such a future.