Banned Book Week ~ Sept 24 – Oct. 1st

“Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.  Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week.  BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.” – from ALA website

As an English major, Reference Librarian wanna-be, parent, and firm believer in the freedom of choice I had to blog about BBW and what it means to all of us. So many people think that banned books are just books filled with smut or hard core porn but the dirty little secret is that most of the books on the list are banned because the content represents an opinion or idea that differs from the person or group challenging the title. Classic titles like To Kill A Mockingbird, Lord of the Rings, Native Son and The Call of the Wild were challenged based on racial issues,  use of violence and profanity, along with sexual reference.

But wait, there’s more – classics aren’t the only titles challenged in school & library boards across America. Current reader favorites like Harry Potter (right here in Gwinnett County in ’06), Crank by Ellen Hopkins (drugs, sex, language), Hunger Games (sexually explicit, violence) and Nickel & Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich (political & religious viewpoints) were challenged last year.

Why does this matter? It matters because a person or a group of people want to remove or restrict a book from everyone in their community because they don’t agree with what the author has written. Did I ask you to do that? Did I ask you to think for me? Did I ask you to make my decisions for me or protect me from something you perceive as evil? No, I don’t believe I did.

God gave me a brain and I enjoy using it. My parents taught me right from wrong and I understand actions & consequences. The Constitution gave me the 1st Amendment and I hold that privilege near and dear to my heart. Please don’t speak for me – I can do that fine all by myself.

Intellectual freedom should be protected, promoted and embraced and that is why I support Banned Books Week & the 1st Amendment. I don’t have to agree with everything you say or how you say it but I’m not going to stop you from saying it (no matter how annoying I find the message & delivery) because it is your right as an American.

If you don’t like what I have to say don’t censor or arrest me. Just don’t listen (or read). I didn’t make you find this post or force you to read it. You sought me out and decided to read what I have to say. That is the beauty of having a choice  and no one should take our right to choose  anything, even books, away.

Does the Internet make us stupid?

Just read the two articles for tomorrow’s class Is Google Making Us Stupid? & Spreadable doesn’t make it viral (which for some reason made me think of diseases and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches). After I read the Google piece I immediately thought to myself  “Well, welcome to my world people.” I’ve never been able to focus and concentrate on much my whole life – it’s called ADD. My brain flits from one shiny distraction to another shiny distraction.

More

September 11th

Last December my family went to NYC to see the Christmas windows, revisit my husband’s old neighborhood on Staten Island, eat real New York bagels & pizza and to see the work being done at the WTC.

The actual location (and official memorial site) was still blocked off by big construction screens and scaffolding but there was this memorial on the corner of the building across the street from Ground Zero. It’s a metal relief plaque with images of the buildings, the Transit Authority, the Fire Department, and the Police Dept on it. The names of everyone who died during the attack were also listed – it was amazing to see and to touch.

Today is the dedication and official opening of the  national 911 memorial. Hopefully we will also get to visit this new memorial soon. Until then we’ll have to make do with the virtual tour offered online.

For anyone who wants to learn more about 911 here is a link for an extensive (and impressive) digital internet archive regarding the attacks that occurred that day. Be sure to check out the special collections and 9/11 links – it’s incredible! 

Extra Indians by Eric Gansworth

Extra Indians by Eric Gansworth, is a jumble of characters and their stories. Ranging from a lost Japanese tourist in search of the buried treasure mentioned in the movie Fargo to Frank, a struggling Native actor and the legacy he leaves his son, Gansworth fills his fourth novel with memorable characters. Vietnam, life on the Rez, and Dear John letters fill in all the blanks. Worth the effort it may take the casual reader to get to the conclusion.

. Due to the push-n-pull nature of the story I can only give it a 5 out of 10. 

A dystopian Sleeping Beauty

 

 

 

    Just finished the debut YA novel by Anna Sheehan, A Long LonSleep, a story loosely based on the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. It has all the requirements for YA fiction; unrequited  love, evil adults, strong male lead character, high school cliches. The twist in this retelling is in the setting and the characters Sheehan creates. I like that  Sheehan keeps the dystopian future believable and more importantly,  relatable to her young readers.

         I look forward to her next novel. I’m giving this one 8 out of 10.

Readers Advisory on the web

The biggest challenge I have at work is remembering all the different books that I read (or read about)  when a customer asks me to recommend a title to them – there are so many to choose from. Instead of trying to remember everything or writing random titles down on scraps of paper I can use a blog to record & save my personal book reviews. I think this is a great way to integrate technology and best work practices! 

Here are just two bloggers offering reviews of newly published material in very different styles. When I’m done with this class I think I’ll have to keep my blog rolling with book reviews : )

http://sharonsgardenofbookreviews.blogspot.com/

http://inkweaver-review.blogspot.com/2009/08/book-review-blog-carnival-24.html


Welcome to my world!

     I’m an avid reader with a strong belief in the restorative properties of retail shopping therapy. I love Entertainment Weekly,the Huffington Post, Sirus XM and lots & lots of chocolate. Music and medication keep me sane when the children of the corn come and greet me at the door, which believe it or not, is often. My husband loves to cook, talk about collecting guns and read Sci-Fi. My kids love to leave every light on, play strange games on the computer against each other and sing out loud in the shower (I have audio to prove it). My life is rich and full of love, laughter and laundry.  

Oh, and if I had a million dollars, I’d be rich.