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West Virginia House Passes Bill Allowing Prosecution of Librarians

Welcome to Today in Books, where we report on literary headlines at the intersection of politics, culture, media, and more.

Suspense-thriller fans, take note! We’ve got an exclusive excerpt of The Guest by B.A. Paris today on Book Riot. And it’s Tuesday, so you know I’m picking the “it books” of the week. Keep a-scrolling!

West Virginia House Passes Bill Allowing Prosecution of Librarians

The West Virginia House of Delegates has passed a bill that removes protection for public and school librarians if minors encounter obscene material on their watch. This tells you everything you need to know (emphasis mine): 

The lead sponsor of the bill — Del. Brandon Steele, R-Raleigh — said the criminal charge of showing pornography to minors without parental supervision can’t be made against potential bad actors who decide to bring pornography into public and school libraries and show young children in order to desensitize them. However, Steele provided no examples of someone committing similar acts in state libraries.

The bill will now move on to the state senate. May Mr. Steele and his colleagues’ efforts fail. 

Standing in stark contrast, legislators in Maryland have introduced the Freedom to Read Act, which would protect library workers and library material from discrimination and removal. (You’re subscribed to our Literary Activism newsletter, right?)

Watch Oscar-Nominated NIMONA for Free

Netflix’s adaptation of Nimona, the utterly charming graphic novel by ND Stevenson, is available for free on YouTube. And it was put there by Netflix, so it’s legal and legit. The film is up for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film, and while it and the rest of the contenders may have an uphill battle against Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron, it is hard to beat if you’re looking for a family flick everyone can enjoy.

Much Ado About Anyone But You

The Glen Powell-Sidney Sweeney rom-com Anyone But You has set the box office record for highest-grossing live action Shakespeare adaptation. Before you scream in Baz Luhrmann, allow me to clarify: Anyone But You has set the box office record in absolute, not inflation-adjusted, dollars. The film, which is a loose adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing, has grossed $189 million. That means it still has a way to go to catch 1996’s Romeo + Juliet, whose $147.6 million back in the day would be equivalent to almost $300 million today. Adjusting for inflation, Sweeney and Powell come in second to the iconic DiCaprio and Danes, followed by 10 Things I Hate About You (equivalent to nearly $100 million today) and She’s the Man and 2021’s West Side Story (both around $86-87 million today). Here’s Julie Stiles reading her wonderfully awful poem about Heath Ledger in 10 Things, as a treat. 

HEA Take Me Away

Whether you’re planning a spring getaway or just pining for some fun in the sun, you’re bound to find your Happily Ever After with one of these new romance beach reads. I’ve gotta say, The Catch looks super fun—love a grumpy hero!—but my goodness, can we please get some variety back in romance cover design?!

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