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Jacket Copy Books, authors and all things bookish
Texas prisons ban books by Langston Hughes and Bob Dole - but 'Mein Kampf' is OK

If you're one of the more than 140,000 people doing time in a Texas state prison, you're not allowed to read books by Bob Dole, Harriet Beecher Stowe or Sojourner Truth. But you're more than welcome to dig into Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" or David Duke's "My Awakening."

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Cultural appropriation: It's about more than pho and sombreros

College students in blackface. A white chef telling people how to eat Vietnamese pho. Students of color who consider bad sushi in the dining hall to be a cultural insult. A white writer writing about nonwhite people in a clumsy fashion. These are some of the incidents of “cultural appropriation,” as some would call them, that have provoked important questions: Who owns culture?

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Bruce Springsteen on keeping life honest, real in 'Born to Run' autobiography

Anyone who has ever experienced the uniquely soul-stirring amalgam of musical celebration, spiritual rejuvenation, intellectual provocation and physical release-to-the-point-of-exhaustion that is a concert by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band will feel right at home in the 508 pages of “Born to Run” (Simon & Schuster, $32.50), his 67-years (as of Friday)-in-the-making autobiography.

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The price of free speech in Bangladesh

In February this year the authorities in Bangladesh took Shamsuzzoha Manik, a 73-year-old publisher, into custody for publishing a book titled “Islam Bitorko” (“Debate on Islam”).  His arrest and the shutting down of his stall marked a sour moment in the nation’s largest book fair, Ekushey Boi Mela, held annually at Bangla Academy in honor of the International Mother Language Day.

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John Scalzi on writing great big books

Writer Alan Moore, perhaps best known for the classic “Watchmen” graphic novel, has this month released a novel, “Jerusalem,” to generally very positive reviews. There are many words to describe the novel (“epic,” “Joycean,” “vast,” and “show-offingly brilliant” are some of them) but the one word I think that every reader and critic of the work can agree is accurate with regard to the book is “long.”

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Jay McInerney on brightness, couples and catastrophe

A moth to the flame, Jay McInerney is attracted to brightness. His new book, “Bright, Precious Days,” is his third to feature some form of the word. The first to do so was his debut novel, “Bright Lights, Big City,” which remains the quintessential documentation of the New York scene in the early ’80s.

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