Books

Book News: DC Comics Introduces First Transgender Character

An image of Batgirl from the cover of "Batgirl 19," in which it is revealed that Batgirl's roommate is transgender. i i

hide captionAn image of Batgirl from the cover of "Batgirl 19," in which it is revealed that Batgirl's roommate is transgender.

DC Comics
An image of Batgirl from the cover of "Batgirl 19," in which it is revealed that Batgirl's roommate is transgender.

An image of Batgirl from the cover of "Batgirl 19," in which it is revealed that Batgirl's roommate is transgender.

DC Comics

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • Wednesday's issue of "Batgirl" introduced the first transgender character in a mainstream comic series: Batgirl's roommate, Alysia Yeoh. Speaking with Wired, "Batgirl" writer Gail Simone said the choice was inspired by the diversity of comics fans and asked, "Why in the world can we not do a better job of representation of not just humanity, but also our own loyal audience?"
  • James Joyce's mention of "spurious coins" in his most famous novel, Ulysses, turned out to be surprisingly prescient: As NPR's Krishnadev Calamur reported Thursday, Ireland printed commemorative James Joyce coins with a mangled Ulysses quote on them — and then claimed the error was a matter of "artistic representation."
  • Mental Floss collects the "strangest" adaptations of Shakespeare, including a Klingon Hamlet and a toy ninja Macbeth. (As someone who once accidentally attended a completely nude performance of Macbeth, I can confidently say that their list is only the tip of the iceberg.)
  • In a Times Literary Supplement essay that reads like a detective novel, Eric Naiman points to an elaborate literary hoax beginning with an invented meeting between Dickens and Dostoyevsky.
  • "Kite Runner Author Khaled Hosseini Wants to Chat with You": It might sound like a pop-up ad, but its actually the title of a discussion People magazine moderated Thursday between Hosseini and his fans. Although People may seem like a surprising choice, as Slate's Alex Heimbach recently pointed out, it actually has a distinguished literary history and once even sent James Salter to Switzerland to interview Vladimir Nabokov.
  • A recently discovered manuscript by D.H. Lawrence took a contemporary to task for his sexist attitudes: "Even the most 'beautiful' woman is still a human creature. If he approached her as such, as a being instead of as a piece of lurid meat, he would have no horrors afterwards."

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