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SHORTS




V**** a censorship


The title of feminist firebrand Naomi Wolf's new book, Vagina: a biography, which explores why the vagina is still thought of as "slightly shameful" even today, has been figleafed by Apple. The Guardian reports that Apple's iTunes store has starred out part of the title of Wolf's new book Vagina, calling it instead V**** a, and replaced the word throughout the book's description. So, according to Apple, Wolf's book is "an astonishing new work that radically changes how we think about, talk about and understand the v**** a". The author, writes Apple, "looks back in history and show[s] us how the v**** a was considered sacred for centuries until it began to be cast as a threat", and asks why "even now in an increasingly sexualised world, it is thought of as slightly shameful". Wolf herself was startled to hear about the censorship. Wolf is not the only writer to have had her title censored by Apple: Eve Ensler's play has become The V**** a Monologues on iTunes.

Dylan Rolls On


Bob Dylan has started writing the follow-up to his 2004 memoir Chronicles: Volume One. The first book spent 19 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and received rave reviews. "The reviews of this book, some of 'em almost made me cry - in a good way, " Dylan said. "I'd never felt that from a music critic ever. " Dylan, now 71, told Rolling Stone Magazine in a recent interview that he had already completed chapters on his albums The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan and Another Side of Bob Dylan. "It would definitely start with records, " he said. "I stumbled into a strategy of going into the future and into the past. . . The whole early part of the first Chronicles was supposed to be based on some old record - maybe Another Side of Bob Dylan. . . Well, what happened was that I kind of just stayed there, and didn't really go into the future. When I started writing about the early days in New York, I found it all extremely interesting. When you start doing that, it amazes you what you uncover without even trying. " He added: "I don't mind writing it, but it's the rereading it and the time it takes to reread it - that for me is difficult, " he explained. "The last Chronicles I did all myself. " Since the first volume barely touched the mid Sixties when Dylan was at the apex of his career, his fans hope that Volume Two will step into the breach.

Poirot a bore?


A1945 essay by writer Agatha Christie on the history of English detective fiction has been found. Most of the essay is quite run of the mill - she is all admiration for Arthur Conan Doyle as "the pioneer of detective writing"and scolds Dorothy Sayers for allowing the enigmatic Peter Wimsey to devolve into a boring handsome hero figure. But most surprising is the way she speaks of her most famous creation, the fussy, dandy, cerebral Belgian detective Hercule Poirot who solves cases with the help of his little grey cells. "My own Hercule Poirot is often somewhat of an embarrassment to me - not in himself, but in the calling of his life. Would anyone go and 'consult' him? One feels not, " writes Christie. Later in the essay she adds: "Poirot has made quite a place for himself in the world and is regarded perhaps with more affection by outsiders than by his own creator! I would give one piece of advice to young detective writers. Be very careful what central character you create - you may have him with you for a very long time!" Monsieur Poirot would not have been amused.

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