The Siege of Tel Aviv by Hesh Kestin, a parody novel, had been pulled by its independent publisher, Dzanc Books after a Twitter lynch mob claimed the book to be Islamophobic and racist.
Kestin explained that the publisher had initially
stood its ground against the Twitteridiots who attacked it, but later buckled under pressure.
The book had earlier been endorsed by some big names including Stephen King who said it was scarier than anything he ever wrote, but also that:
An irrepressible sense of humor runs through it ... it's stuff like the cross-dressing pilot (my favorite character) and any number of deliciously absurd situations (the pink jets). It's the inevitable result of an eye
that sees the funny side, even in horror. So few writers have that. This novel will cause talk and controversy. Most of all, it will be read.
The book's promotional material reads:
Iran leads five
armies in a brutal victory over Israel, which ceases to exist. Within hours, its leaders are rounded up and murdered, the IDF is routed, and the country's six million Jews concentrated in Tel Aviv, which becomes a starving ghetto. While the US and the
West sit by, Israel's enemies prepare to kill off the entire population.
On the eve of genocide, Tel Aviv makes one last attempt to save itself, as an Israeli businessman, a gangster, and a cross-dressing fighter pilot put
together a daring plan to counterattack. Will it succeed?
It seems to have been the promotional material that was the basis for the Twitterstorm. Writer Nathan Goldman Goldman said that as soon as he read the marketing copy of the
book -- he says he has not read the book in its entirety-- he knew the racist rhetoric it was implying.
Emmy Award-winning poet Tariq Luthun, who also engaged in the Twitter conversation, said that he doesn't know the writer's specific ideologies,
but what he read in the description and the excerpt available online goes beyond Islamophobia.
Steve Gillis, co-founder of Dzanc Books, apologised.
If an error has been committed, it is not in our intent, but in
the failure to consider how readers might perceive the novel. It was my own blindness, and reading the novel as a parody, which has me so troubled now.
Netherlands-based publishing house Brill recently ended its distribution agreement with a Chinese state-run publisher, after the latter was found to have censored out a paper submitted to one of its journals
In a statement published on its website on
April 25, Brill announced it would no longer partner with China's Higher Education Press to distribute four of its journals to customers outside China, effective in 2020.
The Dutch publishing house didn't provide an explanation for its decision.
A Barcelona school has removed 200 children's books it considers sexist including Little Red Riding Hood and the story of the legend of Saint George, from its library.
The TÓber school's infant library of around 600 children's books was reviewed
by the Associaciˇ Espai i Lleure as part of a project that aims to highlight hidden sexist content . The group reviewed the characters in each book, whether or not they speak and what roles they perform, finding that 30% of the books were highly sexist,
had strong stereotypes and were, in its opinion, of no pedagogical value.
According to Associaciˇ Espai i Lleure, if young children see "strongly stereotypical" depictions of relationships and behaviours in what they read, they will
consider them normal. Anna Tutzˇ, a parent who is on the commission that reviewed the books, told El PaÝs that "society is changing and is more aware of the issue of gender, but this is not being reflected in stories". Masculinity is associated
with competitiveness and courage, and "in violent situations, even though they are just small pranks, it is the boy who acts against the girl", which "sends a message about who can be violent and against whom".
The American Library Association (ALA) has released its annual list of most challenged books. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom chose the 11 most challenged works among 483 books that were either banned or restricted from public access in 2018.
Here is the complete list for 2018 and the reasons why the works were challenged --
George by Alex Gino -- The book, which was written for elementary-age children in 2015, was found offensive as its protagonist was a transgender child. Most recently, the Wichita, Kansas, school system decided to ban the book from the district
libraries citing that the work had references and language that wasn't appropriate for schoolchildren. The book also made it to ALA's list in 2016 and '17. The work is also believed to "encourage children to clear browser history and change their
bodies using hormones."
A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller -- The best-selling parody by John Oliver, which was written by "Last Week Tonight" staffer Jill Twiss, was in response to
the book "Marlon Bundo's Day in the Life of the Vice President" by Charlotte Pence, Vice President Mike Pence's daughter. The work pictured Pence's pet rabbit as gay and also criticized the family's conservative social viewpoint.
series, written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey -- The 10-part series revolves around two young boys creating a superhero. A complaint was filed against the book with the Office for Intellectual Freedom stating that the language used in it was not
appropriate for the targeted age group. The book also allegedly promoted "disruptive behavior.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas -- The novel, which revolves around the life of a young girl who became an activist after her unarmed
friend was killed by a police officer, was deemed "anti-cop." A complaint was filed against the book for explicit language and featuring drug use.
Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier -- The 2012 graphic novel was
banned in school libraries for featuring LGBTQ characters and themes. The work featured in ALA's previous lists for having offensive political viewpoints and for being sexually explicit.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher -- The work,
which was originally published in 2007, came under the scanner after Netflix aired a series with the same name in 2017. The book's depiction of suicide was the primary reason for it being banned. The book was deemed unsuited for children and teens as it
featured drug and alcohol use. It was also challenged for its sexual content.
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki -- The work, which topped ALA's list in 2016, was banned for featuring LGBTQ characters. The
book revolves around the life of a teen girl who navigates the start of adolescence with the help of a female friend. The book was also challenged for drug use, profanity and having sexually explicit themes.
Skippyjon Jones series written
and illustrated by Judy Schachner -- The series, which features a Siamese cat that assumes to be a Chihuahua, was criticized for depicting Mexican stereotypes.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie -- The work
has featured in ALA's list six times since its publication in 2007 for its sexual references, depiction of alcoholism, bullying and poverty. It was also deemed sexually explicit and challenged in school curriculums.
This Day In June by
Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten -- The children's picture book about a gay pride parade was challenged for including LGBTQ content.
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan -- The book, which was about two teen boys
participating in a 32-hour marathon of kissing in order to set a new Guinness World Record, was considered sexually explicit as the book's cover page has an image of two boys kissing. It was also banned for the LGBTQ content.