What can you do when a customer wants a book that you not only find objectionable but also believe actually dangerous in the lessons it portends amidst such a politically precarious time?
Considering the book in question is Hillbilly Elegy, a New York Times bestseller by an author with whom I have enjoyed a correspondence, and whose personal story [he was born in a poor town in the nowhere of Ohio and worked his way through the Marine Corps and into Ivy League] rather resembles my own [I was born just miles from where he was, ditto the rest], that speaks eloquently of the role of personal responsibility and community in lifting oneself out of poverty and ignorance, I think it dangerous only to one.
Namely, the linked article's precious writer.
You work at a bookstore, sparky. Just sell the books and take the money.
The worst part about this, and a real indictment of "writing programs" and their faculty, is that it's obvious that the grad student/author of the article has never read the dang book. "Hey, don't read that book that I've never read. Some of its reviewers didn't like it." He then makes it about his struggle against his censorious nature and, ta-dah, he comes out of this existential limit situation as the hero of his self-created drama.
[For those wondering about today's heavy blogging, I'm at a conference that is so dull I stopped paying attention three hours ago. Any minute now, I may pull the fire alarm.]