Out of Order

For a while there, it was a nice conspiracy theory.

A local reader e-mailed to complain that he/she was trying to get the new Christopher Hitchens’ book God Is Not Great through the Harris County Public Library System, as were at least 13 other people, if the library’s Web catalog is to be believed.

But all were searching in vain: “HCPL owns no copies of this title,” the Web catalog says.

Huh? The book is on the New York Times’ bestseller list, it’s been out a month and Hitchens is a well-known TV presence. Was it religious yahoo-ism keeping the controversial item off the shelves of the Harris County system?

We’re glad to say it wasn’t. Instead, says Elaine S. Plotkin, the adult specialist for the system, the book will be included in the system’s next group of purchases. It won’t hit the shelves for a month or so, though.

“The customers will just have to be a little patient with us,” Plotkin says.

Essentially, Plotkin was taken by surprise that the book turned out to be so popular. “It’s so hard to tell, especially with non-fiction, what is going to sell,” she says. “If I could predict what all the best-sellers would be I’m not sure I’d still be a librarian. I think I’d be a stockbroker.”

So no religious censorship here. You’ll just have to wait a little bit, but we’re sure God will still be not great when the book arrives. – Richard Connelly

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