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On The Books: F. Scott Fitzgerald's racy and racist uncensored short stories

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An uncut edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s fourth short story collection, “Taps at Reveille,” was published this week in the U.K. by the Cambridge University Press. A Penn State English professor discovered that the original editors had deleted or replaced many words in Fitzgerald’s stories to make the book more acceptable to the public. “They excised or inserted substitutions for profanity and certain slang words, cut out references to sex and drugs and drunkenness, masked specific locations and names, and either deleted or softened several anti-Semitic slurs uttered by some of the author’s less pleasant characters,” writes the New York Times. Some changes completely altered the characters and plot of the stories, and other changes merely took the spice out of his tone. We can expect the uncensored collection to be published in the U.S. in June.

The Mystery Writers of America announced the Edgar Awards winners last night. You can check their website for a complete list of winners, but the category of Best Novel went to William Kent Krueger for Ordinary Grace. Krueger’s website gives this synopsis:

Minnesota, 1961. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder. Told from Frank’s perspective forty years after that fateful summer, “Ordinary Grace” is a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.

Since March, people have been protesting the British prison system’s new rules that effectively prevent prisoners from accepting books in the mail. The protests have garnered the support of high-profile authors like Salman Rushdie, but apparently things are still pretty hairy because Philip Pullman, current president of the Society of Authors, has sent a snarly letter to justice minister Chris Grayling denouncing the law. No one wants to draw the wrath of Pullman’s sharp tongue (just ask the Catholic Church.) [Guardian]

Have you ever gone to a book reading by your favorite author and agonized over what question to ask. You want to ask something smart, but deferential; something that reveals you are a true fan, but not truly creepy. Well, keep agonizing. According to this article, writers really do notice the questions you ask and judge the heck out of you for it. [NY Books]

To close, let’s appreciate this photo of Pablo Picasso dressed as Popeye. Happy Friday, folks!