Salman Rushdie Is Joseph Anton; J.K. Rowling's Book Gets a Title

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Today in books and publishing: J.K. Rowling's new book has a title and skeletal plot outline, Salman Rushdie rechristened himself for his memoir, and what books people wanted banned in 2011.

J.K. Rowling's first non-children's book is coming out in September, and we now know the title: The Casual Vacancy. We also have a skeletal outline of the plot. What it lacks in potions and magic boarding schools, it makes up for in buried sins and class warfare. From the Little, Brown press release:

When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils...Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

Interesting! We'll even supply the first glowing blurb: "Municipal elections in rural England will never be the same." (Other options include: "The best book about a small town going nuts since Needful Things" and "Pagford may be Rowling's most magical creation yet -- and her most crushingly real."  And something that starts out "Move over, Harry, Ron and Hermoine" would be nice, but we need more details about who they're moving over for. [via Little, Brown]

Salman Rushdie's memoir of his fatwa years, Joseph Anton, is due out September 18 and we now know why it's called Joseph Anton: because Rushdie didn't feel comfortable using his own name. So he took the names of two of his favorite writers, Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekov instead. "Explains Rushdie: "I thought it might help dramatise, for the reader, the deep strangeness and discomfort of those years." Arty!  Random House's press release makes a point of making the book sound more like a novel than a memoir, promising a full account of the "sometimes grim, sometimes comic realities of living with armed policemen, and of the close bonds he formed with his protectors," with cameos from "governments, intelligence chiefs, publishers, journalists, and fellow writers" who supported and sustained him. [The Guardian]

Recommended Reading

Here's the American Library Association's list of the ten most-challenged books of 2011, just in time for National Library Week. 

1) ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle

Offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

2) The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa

Nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

3) The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins

Anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence

4)  My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler

Nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

5)  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

Offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

6) Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint

7) Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit

8) What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
Nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit

9 Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
Drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit

10) To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Offensive language; racism

The ALA logged a total of 326 challenges -- which they define as a "formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness" -- last year, down from 348 in 2010. [ALA]

William Boyd, who has been on the Man Booker shortlist twice, will be the author of the next officially-sanctioned James Bond novel, replacing Jeffrey Deaver as the keeper of the Ian Fleming flame. The book is due in late 2013 and being treated with all the secrecy of a Bond movie. Random House wouldn't let Boyd reveal the title, any details of the plot, or even what countries 007 might be visiting. He did confirm that it will involve "the classic Bond character in his mid-40s who is navigating the end of the swinging '60s." So expect plenty of Cold War intrigue, and a complete absence of undignified scenes where Bond has to hack into a computer to do something very, very important. We like it already. [Reuters]

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.