Hungary fines bookshop chain over picture book with LGBT families

Líra Könyv fined £600 for selling a book with ‘a family that is different than a normal family’

A bookshop chain in Hungary has been fined for selling a children’s picture book that depicts the day to day life of a child with same-sex parents, a number of the countries officials have also publicly condemned the book.

The book is a Hungarian translation of two titles by the US author Lawrence Schimel. In it we are shown a young boys morning routine with his two mothers and the night time escapades of a girl with two fathers who doesn’t want to go to bed.

According to Reuters the fine of 250,000 forints (£600) was imposed on the bookshop chain, Líra Könyv, by Pest county, the local authority for the area surrounding Budapest. According to the county commissioner, Richard Tarnai, the bookshop chain had violated the rules on unfair commercial practices by failing to disclose that the book contained what he called “content which deviates from the norm”.

“The book was there among other fairy-tale books and thus committed a violation,” Tarnai said. “There is no way of knowing that this book is about a family that is different than a normal family.”

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The books author took to Twitter to accuse the Hungarian government of “trying to normalise hate and prejudice with these concerted attacks against books like mine … which represent for kids the plural and diverse world they live in.” He also spoke to the Guardian to say that the idea behind his books was to “celebrate queer families, to put more queer joy into the world, so that the only books available to children weren’t about conflicts”.

“In these stories, the fact that the parents are two mums or two dads is incidental to the story, as it is to the daily lives of children in rainbow families. These families don’t only experience homophobia, they also have fun,” he said.

Líra Könyv said in a Facebook post that it will now be putting up signs in its stores to warn shoppers that it sold “books with different content than traditional ones”.

“Rainbow families are completely normal, ordinary families,” the book’s Hungarian distributor, Foundation for Rainbow Families, said in its own statement. “These families haven’t had their own story book so far. That’s why we thought it was important to publish a fairytale book about them – and first of all for them.”

Despite what happened in Hungary Schimel has said that he is “more determined to keep trying to create books like these – books that respect the intelligence of children and offer the vast, complex world to them, in fun and accessible ways”.

These books will be published in the UK this autumn in both English and Welsh.

Trump believes Hitler did a lot of good according to new book

Remark shocked Chief of Staff John Kelly according to author MIchael Bender

During a visit to Europe to mark 100 years since the end of the first world war it is reported that Donald Trump turned to his then chief of staff, John Kelly and uttered the inexplicable words; “Well, Hitler did a lot of good things.”

This remark is said to have stunned Kelly, a retired US Marine Corps General, and is being reported in a new book by Michael Bender of the Wall Street Journal.

The book, “Frankly, We Did Win This Election” is being heavily advertised ahead of its publication next week.

According to Bender the then president Trump made the remark during a quick history lesson during which Kelly had to “[remind] the president which countries were on which side during the conflict” and had to “connect the dots from the first world war to the second world war and all of Hitler’s atrocities”.

Bender is one of a number of authors who has been able to interview Trump since he lost his second election to Joe Biden.

In a statement issued in response to this allegation a Trump spokesperson said: “This is totally false. President Trump never said this. It is made-up fake news, probably by a general who was incompetent and was fired.” This sounds a little familiar if truth be told.

Bender however claims that unnamed sources have reported that Kelly; “told the president that he was wrong, but Trump was undeterred”, apparently the president continued to emphasize the German economic recovery that occured under Hitler during the 1930s.

“Kelly pushed back again,” Bender writes, “and argued that the German people would have been better off poor than subjected to the Nazi genocide.”

Bender adds that Kelly had to tell Trump that even if that economic claim was true; “you cannot ever say anything supportive of Adolf Hitler. You just can’t.” I feel this is just common knowledge to most people.

This international trip saw Trump run into more trouble than normal. He controversially cancelled a trip to an American cemetery and is reported to have called US soldier who died in the war “suckers” and “losers”.

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Kelly, who lost his own son in Afghanistan in 2010, left the White House team in 2019 and has spoken critically of the former president ever since, even calling him; “the most flawed person I have ever met in my life”.

Bender reports that Kelly tried his best to educate Trump and overcome his “stunning disregard for history”.

“Senior officials described his understanding of slavery, Jim Crow, or the Black experience in general post-civil war as vague to non-existent,” he writes. “But Trump’s indifference to Black history was similar to his disregard for the history of any race, religion or creed.”

During Trump’s presidency concern over the countries far right movement grew drastically. This concern continues as even in defeat Trump maintains a tight grip over the Republican party. He continues to make positive remarks about far-right and white-supremacist groups.

Michael Wolff will publish a third exposé of Donald Trump, covering his last days in office

Michael Wolff’s final book on Trump, Landslide, will cover his ‘tumultuous’ last months in the White House

Cover of Landslide

The American journalist Michael Wolff has announced that he will be publishing a third book about Donald Trump, this time focusing on his final days as US president. The book is set to be released in July and has the wonderfully provocative title: Landslide.

Trump lost the 202 election to his Democrat rival Joe Biden by more than 7m votes and by 306 – 232 in the electoral college, a result he himself called a landslide when it was in his favour against Hillary Clinton back in 2016.

Trump, never the one to admit defeat, has continued to spout the lie that Biden’s victory was the result of electoral fraud, a speech on this topic helped fuel the deadly attack on the US Capitol on 6th of January.

Wolff published his first book on trump’s presidency in 2018, rocking the White House and Trump’s administration.

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Trump attempted to block publication of the book, titled Fire and Fury, calling Wolff “a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book”. The public however ignored the president. The brilliantly explosive exposé went on to sell some 1.7m copies in just three weeks.

Wolff found himself marginalised and stripped of privileges by the White House press team, but that didn’t stop him publishing his next book, Siege, in 2019 which looked at a “presidency under fire”. The book tackled topics like Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference and possible ties between Trump and Moscow. He even managed to produce another bombshell by exposing the fact that Mueller and his team had shelved an indictment against the president on three counts of obstruction of justice.

While Wolff said that he has obtained documents relating to this revelation from “sources close to the Office of the Special Counsel”. The special counsel itself rejected his claim, saying: “The documents that you’ve described do not exist.”

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Due to this controversy, and a number of competiting Trump focused books, Siege did not sell as well as Fire and Fury.

According to his latest books publisher Wolff managed to interview the former president for an inside looks at what have been described as Trump’s “tumultuous last months at the helm of the country”.

Trump himself recently claimed to be writing “the book of all books” and according to the former president he has already “turned down two book deals, from the most unlikely of publishers”, adding: “I do not want a deal right now. I’m writing like crazy anyway, however.”

After major figures in the publishing world said they would not touch a Trump memoir he insisted “two of the biggest and most prestigious publishing houses have made very substantial offers which I have rejected”.

“That doesn’t mean I won’t accept them sometime in the future,” he said. “… If my book will be the biggest of them all … does anybody really believe that they are above making a lot of money?”

Mike Pence, Trump’s vice-president, has himself landed a seven-figure two book deal with Simon & Schuster, despite a staff rebellion at the publishing house.

Jared Kushner, the former presidents son in law, has already bagged himself a publishing contract with his book slated for release sometime in 2022, the details of this deal are not known.

Clearly there is still an insatiable appetite for books about the divisive Trump administration.

Trump says he’s writing ‘book of all books’ but it’s unlikely to find a big publisher

Figures at major publishing houses say it would be ‘too hard to get a book that was factually accurate’

Donald Trump has revealed he is writing “the book of all books”, this despite major figures within the US publishing industry saying it was unlikely that any big publishing house would touch the memoir of the 45th president as it may cause a “a staff uprising”, and that it would be difficult “to get a book that was factually accurate”.

To be fair that fear is not without merit. When Trump exited the White House for the final time in January the Washington Post reported that he had made 30,573 false or misleading claims while President.

It is common practice for former presidents to write their own memoirs when they leave office, Barack Obama’s “A Promised Land” was a roaring success. Trump’s announcement therefore is not unexpected.

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In a statement last week the 75 year old former president said he had already “turned down two book deals, from the most unlikely of publishers”, which he of course did not name. “I do not want a deal right now,” he said. “I’m writing like crazy anyway, however, and when the time comes, you’ll see the book of all books.”

The New York Times recently reported that a two-book deal Mike Pence landed with Simon & Schuster was “grating” on Trump, this was denied by a Trump spokesman. The Pence deal however caused problems for the publishing company, with many of its staff saying the company should not promote bigotry. Other rightwingers have run into publishing problems since the attempted coup on the 6th of January.

Simon & Schuster itself dropped a planned book on antitrust written by the Missouri senator Josh Hawley, a man who encouraged the rioters and objected to the electoral college results. His book was eventually picked up by rightwing publisher Regnery and will still be distributed by Simon & Schuster.

Any Trump memoir looks likely to be published in a similar manner, outside of the mainstream. Politico has reported that senior figures at Harper Collins, Penguin Random House, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster have said they would not touch a Trump penned memoir. “It would be too hard to get a book that was factually accurate, actually,” one was quoted as saying. “That would be the problem. If he can’t even admit that he lost the election, then how do you publish that?”

Another senior figure said he was “skeptical” about Trump’s claim to have had two offers, saying: “He’s screwed over so many publishers before he ran for president none of the big five would work with [him] any more.”

Keith Urbahn of Javelin, an agent who has represented numerous Trump books told Politico: “It doesn’t matter what the upside on a Trump book deal is, the headaches the project would bring would far outweigh the potential in the eyes of a major publisher.

“Any editor bold enough to acquire the Trump memoir is looking at a factchecking nightmare, an exodus of other authors and a staff uprising in the unlikely event they strike a deal with the former president.”

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Trump hit back by once again insisting that “two of the biggest and most prestigious publishing houses have made very substantial offers which I have rejected”. Once again he wouldn’t name them.

“That doesn’t mean I won’t accept them sometime in the future, as I have started writing the book,” he added. “If my book will be the biggest of them all, and with 39 books written or being written about me, does anybody really believe that they are above making a lot of money?

“Some of the biggest sleezebags [sic] on earth run these companies.”

Trump’s personal worth has plummeted since his first year in office, and now he faces extensive legal proceedings. The fact that memoirs written by his predecessor sold for $65m may have given him some idea on how to raise some more funds.

A Hunter Biden memoir about his drug addiction to be published

Hunter Biden will be publishing a memoir in April that explores his struggle with drugs.

Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden recently announced that his memoir, titled Beautiful things, will be published in April.

The focus of the memoir will firmly be on the lawyer’s struggles with drug addiction and his path to sobriety. The title is taken from an expression he and his brother Beau would use after Beaus fatal brain cancer diagnosis, it allowed them to emphasise what was important in life.

In a brief extract published alongside the announcement, Hunter Biden writes; “I come from a family forged by tragedies and bound by a remarkable, unbreakable love.”

The book is already receiving glowing praise from the likes of Stephen King.

“In his harrowing and compulsively readable memoir, Hunter Biden proves again that anybody, even the son of a United States president can take a ride on the pink horse down nightmare alley,” King writes. “Biden remembers it all and tells it all with a bravery that is both heartbreaking and quite gorgeous. He starts with a question: Where’s Hunter? The answer is he’s in this book, the good, the bad and the beautiful.”

Hunter Biden is the oldest surviving of the president, who sadly lost both his wife and one year old daughter Naomi in a 1972 car accident, and his son Beau to brain cancer in 2015.

Books by presidential family members are nothing new. During the Trump presidency his son Donald Trump Jr released two books, Triggered and Liberal Privilege, though the contents are somewhat different.

The memoir will be published by Simon & Schuster who have previously released book by Trump supporter Sean Hannity, and anti-Trump bestsellers such as national security adviser John Bolton’s The Room Where It Happened and Too Much and Never Enough by the former president’s niece Mary Trump.

The publisher had also been planning to release a book by vocal Trump supporter and US senator Josh Hawley later this year. That book deal however was cancelled in the wake of his supporter for the attempted coup by Trump supporters on the 6th of January.

Publisher cancels book by senator Josh Hawley following Capitol Hill riots

Josh Hawley’s rhetoric has cost him his book deal.

The Tyranny of Big Tech cover

An upcoming book by US senator Josh Hawley has been cancelled by its publisher after the senator backed baseless claims that the US election was stolen. Hawley helped enflame an already tense situation which ultimately led to the insurrection and attempted coup at the US Capitol last week. The Missouri Republican has called the publishers decision “Orwellian” and has vowed to fight them in court.

The books publishers, Simon & Schuster, released a statement on Thursday: “After witnessing the disturbing, deadly insurrection that took place on Wednesday in Washington, DC, Simon & Schuster has decided to cancel publication of Senator Josh Hawley’s forthcoming book, The Tyranny of Big Tech.

“We did not come to this decision lightly,” the publisher added. “As a publisher it will always be our mission to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints: at the same time we take seriously our larger public responsibility as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom.”

Hawley is considered a rising star within the Republican party and is seen by some as a future presidential candidate. His book, which was originally scheduled for June, would have focused on one of his favourite themes, the undue power of the tech giants.

Shortly after the news broke that his book deal had been cancelled Hawley took to Twitter: “I was representing my constituents, leading a debate on the Senate floor on voter integrity, which they have now decided to redefine as sedition.”

“This could not be more Orwellian… Let me be clear, this is not just a contract dispute. It’s a direct assault on the First Amendment… I will fight this cancel culture with everything I have. We’ll see you in court.”

Simon & Schuster were quick to hit back with another statement which said that they were “confident that we are acting fully within our contractual rights.”

This is not the first time Simon & Schuster has clashed with right wing supporters of Donald Trump. It called off a deal with right wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos while publishing a number of best-selling anti-Trump tomes, including his niece Mary Trump’s Too Much and Never Enough, and The Room Where It Happened by former National Security Advisor John Bolton.

The Room Where It Happened By John Bolton Review

The fallout between president and national security adviser makes for an interesting but grandiose ego stoking read

Most Washington insiders knew it wouldn’t work, it was a bad idea, but did Trump listen? No of course he didn’t, listening to others is not really something narcissists do well. When Trump first hired John Bolton as national security adviser they had a sort of good cop, bad cop recipe in mind. For that to work though one of them actually has to have some qualities of a good cop.

After just 18 months this at best rocky relationship fell apart spectacularly. Bolton claims he quit while Trump claims he fired him, shock horror.

Now Bolton is openly declaring Trump unfit for the office of President, and is also accusing him of using foreign dictators and tyrants for an electoral leg-up in Novembers elections. According to Bolton Trump is quite happy to ignore Chinese concentration camps for Muslims if they can somehow help him.

Trump provides no defence for himself from these claims and has instead fallen back on his favourite tactic of name-calling, specifically he has called Bolton both a “wacko” and a “sick puppy.” I’m not sure calling somebody disgusting and in need of being put down is all that presidential. This is political warfare at its most loathsome, its most based and perverse, but that seems to be the only level within which Trump can feel at home.

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Bolton of course is no better.

Bolton is a cold warrior, or as Roger Ailes once referred to him, a “bomb thrower.” In just this vein of cold heartlessness Bolton’s book is a sneering attack on the diplomatic peace process of “international governance,” he even goes on to attack and blindly label Europeans as weak-kneed ninnies.

Like Trump, Bolton seems to enjoying showcasing himself as a fighter, going so far as to say that juggling phone calls at a G7 event made him feel like he was “[part] of the Light Brigade,” or that his “scar tissue had scars.” These powerful metaphors are just that though, Bolton may love sending men and bombs at the enemy but when it came time for him to serve he dodged the draft and joined the non-combatant guard instead, citing that he did not want to join a losing war.

John Bolton pictured here with Donald Trump at a G7 meeting.

Like Bolton himself the Trump outlined in this tell-all book seems eager for conflict. “Hit ’em, finish ’em,” he yells during a dispute with the Turkish president, “Kick their ass,” he orders an envoy to China during the well publicised trade dispute.

Yet Trump is all bark and no bite, he could never bring himself to actually follow through on any threat made. This is no different according to Bolton from the way Obama “graced the world with his views, doing nothing to see them carried out.” Like the president Bolton also hated Obama, and just like Trump Bolton never quite explains why, presumably they hated his ability to maintain graceful and keep his class even when under pressure.

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To give Trump a little bit of praise though he resisted Bolton’s continued attempts at what he called a “kinetic response.” First Trump called off joint exercises in an attempt to ease tensions with North Korea, then he called off a strike on Iran because 150 civilian casualties were predicted.

Apparently even changing his mind about invading Venezuela gives Bolton cause for frustration. Bolton’s Trump is a coward in his eyes, eyes that appear to love the thought of American soldiers standing on hostile foreign soil the world over.

Easing tensions with North Korea led to the first meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.

There was one topic of conversation though that Bolton admits he was too afraid to broach, the topic of Putin. Bolton states he was “afraid of what I might hear.” Bolton sells this book as “The Room Where It Happened” referencing a meeting between Putin and Trump, a meeting Bolton was not present for and neither does he ever explain what “It” refers to.

If we ignore all the bravado and false impressions Bolton gives us this book really is nothing more than a catalogue of his failings to incite American showdowns with the EU, Nato, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela and more. Bolton gave up his greatest shot at changing American history when he refused to stand up and testify during Trump’s impeachment hearing. In the books epilogue Bolton gives us a rather familiar excuse for his absence from the trial, why bother when impeachment was a lost cause. Clearly Bolton’s moral compass is not just broken, I think it’s fucking missing.

The Room Where It Happened is a book of two halves, on one hand it’s a book attacking Donald Trump, and on the other it’s a monument to Bolton and his own ego. For Bolton Trump is akin to Julius Caesar, a tyrant looking to change the political landscape for his own gain while Bolton is a true Republican standing up for the values his country was built upon. It’s a lofty standard and one that Bolton falls far short of. Bolton colluded with a vicious and morally corrupt man and only now that he has fallen from favour does he paint himself in this manner.

No matter how much Bolton may try and blindfold the reader to the truth it is quite clear that he and Trump, the man he so vehemently attacks, are one and the same. They are cut from the same cloth and rather than vindicating himself with this book all he has done is make it clear that he should be nothing more than a footnote in American history.

Rating

Rating: 7 out of 10.

You can grab copy for yourself at Amazon.

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