Cover Stories: Your reading records; Milne's missing detective story; Commemorating Kennedy
Friday 09 May 2008
* In a move that echoes President Bush's post-9/11 Patriot Act, UK police forces are asking librarians and booksellers for the reading records of those they see as suspicious. Inevitably, requests are highest in areas with a significant Muslim population but Ayub Khan, head of Warwickshire's library services, believes that forces "right across the country" have put in requests – for books and also websites visited. The Home Office shrugs off complaints, saying this is a matter for individual police authorities and is just "another form of enquiry". The revelation comes alongside the release of draft guidelines on what is termed "controversial stock". Happily, librarians are preparing to take a firm stand, with one pointing out that "public libraries are one of the last public spaces where people don't have to justify themselves".
* Staff have been rooting around in the Random House archives and believe they have come up with a gem: The Red House Mystery by one AA Milne, "a classic example of the golden age of crime writing" that should appeal to fans of Allingham and Christie. Milne worked on Punch as an assistant editor and had established a reputation before Pooh, Tigger and friends appeared in the mid-1920s. Red House dates from this period – the House itself is in the Hundred Acre Wood and secret passages, uninvited guests, a sinister valet and a puzzling murder combine to make it a classic crime caper, which Random House has scheduled for late autumn. Milne had apparently set himself the task of writing the perfect detective story.
* The current vogue is to look back to 1968, year of revolutions, but also when Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated. Preparing a commemorative volume for Kennedy, US publisher Aperture discovered almost 2,000 photos, taken by Look photographer Paul Fusco from aboard his funeral train. Fusco captured the thousands – black and white, rich and poor – who came to bid farewell. Only one shot was printed and when Look folded in 1970, the photos were deposited in the Library of Congress. They will be published, accompanied by essays, this autumn. Meanwhile, Fusco, 77, spends his time taking photos of the flag-draped coffins of returning American soldiers, a project he calls "Bitter Fruit".
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