Today in publishing and literature: Foul-mouthed Y.A. characters are everywhere nowadays, pregnancy books have changed, George Bush is writing a book about economic growth, and Twitter book clubs are a thing.
According to a study by Sarah Coyne, a professor at Brigham Young University (she's in the "department of family life"), 35 out of 40 books on the adolescent bestsellers list, which she analyzed for profanity, had at least one swear word. Damn. On average, the novels included 38 "instances of bad language," though one very, very, very naughty book had 500 instances. (The Harry Potter and Twilight series both include language that parents consider "obscene" or "vulgar.") And the swearers were also generally the characters who were the "most popular, attractive, and rich." The worry is, kids will emulate their favorite characters. And with no content warning or indication of what said books have inside (save for bannings, of course) parents are powerless to stop it! But assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Steven Schlozman, said that this is just an indication of our time. Everyone swears, even politicians! In Y.A. novels, this is "a kind of challenging that is characteristic of identity formation for all adolescents and young adults, especially in Western culture." Also, there's probably a lot more swearing in life than there is in books. Read on, kiddos. [ABC News]
The Daily Beast's Nicole LaPorte talks to the author of What to Expect When You're Expecting (now a major motion picture), Heidi Murkoff, who wrote the pregnancy manual in 1984. Since its release, the book, said to have "revolutionized parenting books," has sold 34 million copies, "making it one of the most recognized and ubiquitous accoutrements of American pregnancy." Plus, there's that movie. But things about pregnancy books have changed since 1984. Said Murkoff, "The first edition cover showed a woman in a rocking chair wearing a frumpy, potato-sack dress. She was sitting down and she looked kind of ambivalent about the whole thing. Or constipated. Now there's a woman who is proud to be pregnant; happy to be pregnant. Maybe constipated but still proud of her body and showing it off." We've come a long way, baby? [Daily Beast]
Jolie Kerr, who writes the Ask a Clean Person column for The Hairpin and has given advice to The Atlantic Wire as well, has spun her blog work into a larger enterprise. Her book deal, via Alison Lorentzen of Plume, has been announced. The upcoming title will be called My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag... And Other Questions You Can't Ask Martha. We can't wait. [The Hairpin]
Former President George W. Bush is writing a book on strategies for economic growth. Given the recession and all, not everyone thinks that's a good idea. "This is like Tim Tebow writing a treatise on passing accuracy, like Fox News releasing a how-to guide on fairness and balance in television coverage, like Rush Limbaugh teaching a gender sensitivity class, like Newt Gingrich lecturing about the sanctity of marriage, like Emily Post publishing a collection of "Yo Mamma" jokes," writes Robert Schlesinger. That Emily Post book sounds delightful. [US News]