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The Jordanian Bookstore Specializing in Banned Books

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"There are three no-nos," the owner of Al Taliya Books explains with a big smile to a reporter from the Los Angeles Times. "Sex, politics and religion. Unfortunately, that's all anyone ever wants to read about."

The Times reports:

"Yassin jokes that he's the Special Forces for getting banned or hard-to-find books. He makes allusions to a murky past as an underground revolutionary. He says he calls upon a network that stretches across the Middle East to locate and transport hard-to-find titles."

The most popular banned book at Al Taliya is, surprisingly--or not so surprisingly, really--Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses."

The newspaper says that "Other top requests include "23 Years," by the Iranian scholar Ali Dashti, which questions miracles ascribed to Muhammad in the Koran; and "The Joke in the Arab World," by the Egyptian writer Khaled Qashtin, a sarcastic view of the Middle East, its rulers and customs."

"I can get any book," Yassin says. "But don't ask how I get them."

Amazon? You've got a friend who works at Borders? That's got to be it. Mystery solved.
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