Friday, September 21, 2007

Two Revealing Stories on Libraries and One on Peer Review

Moved up to September 21 because of the update below, which includes a link to a Times story which links to the books on the Bureau of Prison's approved list.

Been absurdly busy of late--teaching wills and trusts (the Christopher Benoit story makes for engaging class discussion on the Georgia slayer statute and it's a lot more complex that you'd think at first) and desperately trying to finish up papers on Thomas Dew and on Thomas Ruffin--so much so that I didn't realize until I got home last night that legal education was rocked by the story of UC Irvine's appalling mistreatment of superstar Erwin Chemerinsky (great commentary on this by Trina Jones).  This is sort of like 2003 when I was so consumed with work that I missed the story of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.

I must, though, notice two stories on libraries.  The first, sent to me by my favorite librarian, from the New York Times tells of the Bureau of Prison's recent decision to limit religious books in prison libraries to ones on an approved list.  Another shocking move (if true), but also one that reveals just how much we think ideas in books matter.  (Close readers of the legal blogosphere will recall that I'm interested in prison libraries as an indicator of ideas of prisoners.)  All of this is further evidence of the importance of the history of the book project.  Second, one from my hometown paper about a patron's removal of a book from a high school library.  Ditto to the last comment.

And now, thanks to Dan Solove's pointer, I see superstar historian David Oshinsky's story on the Alfred Knopf archives.  It contains decades of reader reports for Knopf and rejection letters.  Included among the reader reports, something on Jack Kerouac--“His frenetic and scrambling prose perfectly express the feverish travels of the Beat Generation. But is that enough? I don’t think so.”  Well, something else to think about as I work away (rather slowly) on hippie jurisprudence.

UPDATE:  A propertyprof reader was kind enough to alert me to this New York Times article, which provides links to the Bureau of Prison's list of approved books on religion.  Mighty, mighty interesting stuff.

Al Brophy
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