Round-Up: Beverly Cleary, a Book Heist, and Partisan Reading Preferences

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From Beverly Cleary’s 101st birthday to the connection between politics and reading preferences, here’s the latest literary news:

  • Beverly Cleary, an icon of children’s literature, celebrated her 101st birthday on April 12th. Best known for characters Henry Huggins and Ramona and Beezus Quimby, Cleary has sold nearly 100 million novels in over twenty-five languages. Discovering Beverly Cleary, a documentary produced in honor of her hundredth birthday last year, details Cleary’s legacy and her impact on readers and writers alike.
  • A Mission: Impossible-style book heist remains unsolved. On the night of January 29, thieves broke into a London warehouse through a skylight and stole rare and antique books worth roughly $2.5 million. The stolen books were headed to Oakland’s California International Antiquarian Book Fair. Rare book dealer Jeremy Norman commented that “this is a very exotic commodity so this is not something that the average person thinks they can sell . . . . You really wonder how they knew the stuff was there.”
  • A study conducted by Cornell, Yale, and University of Chicago researchers shows that preferences in science-related literature are linked to political ideology. Using data collected from millions of Amazon and Barnes & Noble book purchases, researchers were able to analyze “co-purchase links” between books that express specific political inclinations and books on a variety of scientific subjects. The study suggests that liberal readers gravitate towards books on physical sciences like astronomy or zoology, while conservative readers prefer applied sciences such as criminology and medicine.