Random House had made Sherry Jones’ romance novel “The Jewel of Medina” ready for publication, and the Book of the Month Club had made it one of their picks. But as the Washington Post’s Michelle Boorstein reports, the Random House corporation then decided that it would rescind the book’s publication. Because the book was rotten? No. Because the book was incorrect? No, it’s fiction. Random House decided to rescind the book’s publication because it thought that some Muslims might get upset about it and blow up its corporate headquarters.
New Random House policy: we publish books so long as they don’t bother anyone.
No, no, that’s not fair, because it’s worse than that. You see, the decision is inconsistent. Random House has no problem publishing a book like Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity, which delivers a harsh and direct slam on fundamentalist Christianity. But if you write a book, even fictional, that might upset some Muslim somewhere, then the book can’t be seen. It’s inappropriately cowardly: people criticize Muslims and Islam all the time and live to tell the tale.
Random House has a lot of experience in the work of physically putting a book together, but after all these years they’re having trouble finding the spine.