A few words on censorship

“All of us can think of a book… that we hope none of our children or any other children have taken off the shelf. But if I have the right to remove that book from the shelf – that work I abhor – then you also have exactly the same right and so does everyone else. And then we have no books left on the shelf for any of us.”
— Katherine Paterson, American author of childrens books (1932-)

“Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.”
— Mark Twain

“The sooner we all learn to make a decision between disapproval and censorship, the better off society will be… Censorship cannot get at the real evil, and it is an evil in itself.”
— Granville Hicks (1901-1982)




Banned Book Quiz

Go ahead and guess.  It’s fun!

1. Most challenged book between 2000-2005?  The Harry Potter series, from the muggle Kathy

2. Why was Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll banned in China in 1931? The portrayal of animals on the same level as humans – thanks to the adventurous Don

3. Why was the American Heritage Dictionary banned in a Missouri library in 1987In 1978, an Eldon, Missouri library banned the dictionary because it contained 39 “objectionable” words. And, in 1987, the Anchorage School Board banned the dictionary for similar reasons, i.e., having slang definitions for words such as “bed,” “knocker,” and “balls.”  – Cindy

4. What were the top 5 reasons given for a challenge between 1990-2000? (Hint-#6 is homosexual theme or promoting homosexuality)

 1. Sexually Explicit – Cindy

 2. Offensive Language – Cindy

 3.Unsuited to Age Group – Cindy

 4. Occult theme or promoting occult or Satanism

 5. Violent – Cindy

5. What Aldous Huxley novel was banned because it “centered around negative activity”?  Brave New World, from the positively centered Elena

6. What book was banned in 2 California schools in 1989 because parents were concerned of the use of alcohol in the book? Little Red Riding Hood (an illustrated version) – for a display of alcohol (taking wine to grandma)  – a toast to Don

7. Why was Of Mice & Men by John Steinbeck banned? Vulgar language

8. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner was banned in Kentucky for being antiChristian? bless you Kathy

9. Why was Anne Frank:The Diary of a Young Girl challenged?  It’s a “real downer” (1983, Alabama), a perky thanks to Cindy

10. What group of people is the largest initiator of banning attempts? Parents, of course!, the answer initiator Cindy

Banning Books, day 2

“Censorship, like charity, should begin at home: but unlike charity, it should end there.” — Claire Booth Luce

“Every burned book enlightens the world.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

 “Censorship of anything, at any time, in any place, on whatever pretense, has always been and always be the last resort of the boob and the bigot.”
— Eugene Gladstone O’Neill, American playwright (1888-1953)

Why do people attempt to ban books?  I think the biggest reason is fear.  Fear of the unknown, or in some cases the known but despised.  The problem with banning books is who decides what is offensive?  As I was looking around at the multitude of sites out there about challenging books I found more than one offensive, but that doesn’t mean I am going to try and deny access to these sites or flood their message boards with hateful email. 

Also, I do see the difference between finding a book that is required reading in high school offensive and trying to get offensive books removed from the public library.  I tend to think that they are both misguided, but the intent from the parent is from a different, more understandable place.  But, unless the parent plans on keeping the child at home or on a commune for the rest of his or her life I think it’s important for said parent to realize that there is a big world out there that kids need to be aware of.  Find a book distasteful or dangerous?  Why not use it for teaching a life lesson instead of trying to hide from them what is out in the big, bad world. 

Judy Blume has written some wonderful things about censorship and she should know since many of her books have been challenged.  http://judyblume.com/censorship.php

I was surprised that so many books are still being challenged and in some cases banned.  Too many to list today, but tomorrow I’ll have a quiz to see if you can guess why a book was banned.  Some of them are pretty funny.

OSU vs. Minnesota

OSU 34 Minnesota 21

True freshman Terrelle Pryor started the game.  He is already good and it’s a comfort to fans that he’ll be around awhile.

Beanie Wells was back!  Not up to par, but back for a solid game.

The game served as the kick-off for the 2008-09 Scarlet and Gray games, a program for Ohio State student-athletes to support each other at designated games throughout the year. The members of Ohio State’s varsity teams, comprising more than 850 athletes, were recognized on the field during halftime. Four spring 2008 Buckeye conference championship teams – women’s basketball, men’s lacrosse, men’s tennis and men’s volleyball – were recognized as well.

Banned Books Week, Sept.27-Oct.4

Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you are going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don’t be afraid to go into your library and read every book.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
 This week I’ll be focusing on banning books and censorship.  To get the week started I copied this from the American Library Association website.  www.ala.org 
Banned Books Week
Celebrating the Freedom to Read
Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. This year, 2008, marks BBW’s 27th anniversary (September 27 through October 4).
BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.
BBW is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, National Association of College Stores, and is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

The most frequently challenged books of 2007

The following books were the most frequently challenged in 2007:
The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom received a total of 420 challenges last year. A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.  According to Judith F. Krug, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom, the number of challenges reflects only incidents reported, and for each reported, four or five remain unreported.
The “10 Most Challenged Books of 2007” reflect a range of themes, and consist of the following titles:
1) “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group
2) The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence
3) “Olive’s Ocean,” by Kevin Henkes
Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language
4) “The Golden Compass,” by Philip Pullman
Reasons:  Religious Viewpoint
5) “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain
Reasons:  Racism
6) “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,
7) “TTYL,” by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
8) “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou
Reasons:  Sexually Explicit
9) “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris
Reasons:  Sex Education, Sexually Explicit
10) “The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons:  Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
Off the list this year, are two books by author Toni Morrison. “The Bluest Eye” and “Beloved,” both challenged for sexual content and offensive language.

The most frequently challenged authors of 2007

1) Robert Cormier
2) Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
3) Mark Twain
4) Toni Morrison
5) Philip Pullman
6) Kevin Henkes
7) Lois Lowry
8) Chris Crutcher
9) Lauren Myracle
10) Joann Sfar

Finding Grace: The Face of America’s Homeless, photographer Lynn Blodgett

The Face of America's HomelessFinished 9-26-08, rating 3/5, photography, pub. 2007

This is a coffee table book with a social conscience attached.  Blodgett went around the country to a dozen different cities and visited homeless shelters so he could photograph the people who used them to survive.  The photographs are all in black and white and he lets the photos alone tell the story.  I felt that he could have included more details about the people.  The photographs compelled me to want to know more, which may be the point, but it was a little unsatisfying.

The forward had some interesting statistics about the homeless (I wish I could include them, but I’ve lost the paper I wrote them down on) and it was heartbreaking to read how many are children, families, and women escaping abusive relationships.

I think this book is perfectly timed.  With the current forclosure rates and the state of our ecnomy as a whole, I think only more of our fellow citizens will be joining the plight of the homeless. 

This is not a book to lift your spirits or rattle of numbers and stories about the homeless.  This is a book to look into the faces of the forgotten, to appreciate what you have, and then to question how you might be able to help those people who need it.

This would probably be a great gift for photographers.

Free books at Writerspace

I’ve mentioned writerspace.com before as a great site for romance lovers.  Every month the authors give away prizes to readers who stop by and enter, much like we do at other book blogs.  This is a list of the participating authors and what they are giving away this month.  If you see something that interests you hop on over to http://www.writerspace.com/contests/ and enter.  If you see a few favorite authors you should bookmark it and stop by every month for new prizes.  Good luck!

  • Catherine Anderson – an autographed book by Catherine Anderson
  • Stella Cameron – an autographed paperback edition of A MARKED MAN
  • Christina Dodd– a signed copy of both SCENT OF DARKNESS and TOUCH OF DARKNESS (1 winner)
  • Brenda Joyce – a Masters Of Time Gift Package, which includes a signed copy of DARK SEDUCTION and DARK RIVAL, a DARK EMBRACE mouse pad, a DARK EMBRACE computer cloth and a DARK RIVAL Flashlight (3 winners)
  • Jayne Ann Krentz – an autographed copy of ZINNIA, writing as Jayne Castle
  • Elizabeth Lowell – an autographed hardcover edition of RUNNING SCARED to one winner and THIS TIME LOVE to another winner (2 winners)
  • Susan Elizabeth Phillips– an autographed paperback editon of NATURAL BORN CHARMERand an autogrpahed trade paperback edition of IT HAD TO BE YOU (1 winner)
  • Leanne Banks – a Leanne Banks FOOTLOOSE Book Bag with a few extra goodies added in!
  • Jill Barnett– a $25 gift certificate to BN.com
  • Anya Bast – a copy of her e-book, STRANDS OF SUNLIGHT
  • Berkley~Signet Mystery Authors – a selection of previously released books (1 winner)
  • The Best Reviews– winners choice of a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.com or BN.com
  • Sandy Blair – a hardbound, autographed copy of A THIEF IN A KILT
  • Barbara Bretton– a signed copy of both JUST DESSERTS and JUST LIKE HEAVEN, plus a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.com (1 winner)
  • Robyn Carr – a signed Advanced Reading Copy of A VIRGIN RIVER CHRISTMAS <!–
  • Kristina Cook – a signed copy of Sandy Blair‘s A ROGUE IN A KILT, along with a signed TO LOVE A SCOUNDREL cover flat (1 winner) –>
  • Claudia Dain – an autographed copy of PRIVATE PLACES, containing Claudia’s novella, A Night at the Theater
  • Thea Devine – a signed copy of her novella, The Guy Diet in WHAT I DID ON MY SUMMER VACATION…, plus a goody basket(1 winner)
  • Marie Ferrarella – a signed copy of THE BACHELOR (2 winners)
  • Elizabeth Grayson– choice of one of Elizabeth Grayson’s historicals or Karyn Witmer’s A SIMPLE GIFT <!–
  • Amelia Grey – an autographed copy of one of her backlist titles –>
  • Elizabeth Guest – a signed copy of NIGHT LIFE and a signed copy of NO ORDINARY MAN, written as Suzanne Simmons (1 winner)
  • Lisa Hendrix – a signed Advanced Reading Copy of IMMORTAL WARRIOR
  • Metsy Hingle – an autographed copy of both BLACK SILK” and WHAT THE MILLIONAIRE WANTS…and the winner’s choice of any book from her backlist (1 winner)
  • Emma Holly– a Levenger ballpoint pen and a signed copy of STRANGE ATTRACTIONS (1 winner)
  • Jillian Hunter – a signed copy of THE SINFUL NIGHTS OF A NOBLEMAN
  • Madeline Hunter– winners choice of ONE of the Rothwell series books; THE RULES OF SEDUCTION, LESSONS OF DESIRE, or SECRETS OF SURRENDER (2 winners)
  • Shirley Jump – ONE of these Melissa Jamesbacklist titles: LONG-LOST FATHER, OUTBACK BABY MIRACLE, HER OUTBACK KNIGHT or A MOTHER IN A MILLION (4 winners)
  • Angela Knight – a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate
  • Cathie Linz – a signed copy of BAD GIRLS DON’T
  • Sarah McCarty– a $15 online gift Certificate to Amazon.com
  • Cheyenne McCray – an autographed copy of SHADOW MAGIC
  • Lucy Monroe – a signed copy of HIRED: THE SHEIKH’S SECRETARY MISTRESS and some miscellaneous goodies (bath items, romantic stationary, etc.) (1 winner)
  • NAL/Signet/Onyx Authors– a selection of previously released NAL/Signet/Onyx books (1 winner)
  • Joy Nash – an autographed copy of IMMORTALS: THE CROSSING and 50 other chances to win a copy of IMMORTALS: THE CROSSING. The contest starts on August 12th and ends on September 30th.
  • Mary Paine – a paperback edition of A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon
  • Diana Palmer -an autographed hardcover edition of FEARLESS
  • Caridad Piñeiro – a CALLING T-shirt and an autographed copy of an earlier release (1 winner)
  • Francis Ray – a signed copy of THE WAY YOU LOVE ME
  • Karen Robards – an autographed paperback edition of BAIT
  • Eden Robins – an autographed trade paperback edition of AFTER SUNDOWN: REDEMPTION
  • Running With Quills – an autographed book from each of the Quills authors (1 winner)
  • Susan Sizemore – a signed copy of I THIRST FOR YOU
  • Christina Skye – a Foxfire t-shirt with Izzy’s signature (3 winners)
  • Bertrice Small – a Basket of Cookies and Nibblers from Mrs.Fields
  • Annie Solomon – a signed copy of LIKE A KIFE or DEAD RINGER (winner’s choice)
  • Susan Squires – a signed copy of ONE WITH THE DARKNESS and Godiva chocolate (1 winner)
  • Roxanne St. Claire – a signed copy of KILL ME TWICE
  • Mariah Stewart – a signed copy of DEAD END
  • Susan Wiggs– a free Booklovers’ Bag of goodies, a “Laugh Cry Dream Read” totebag filled with wonderful things to eat, read and pamper yourself with (1 winner)
  • Sherryl Woods– a $25 Starbucks giftcard

American Pastoral, by Philip Roth

Book CoverFinished 9-23-08, rating 3.5/5, fiction, pub. 1997

“Was everyone’s brain as unreliable as his?  Was he the only one unable to see what people were up to?  Did everyone slip around the way he did, in and out, in and out, a hundred different times a day go from being smart to being smart enough, to being as dumb as the next guy, to being the dumbest bastard who ever lived?  Was it stupidity deforming him, the simpleton son of a simpleton father, or was life just one big deception that everyone was on to except him?”           Chapter 8

This multigenerational story encompasses the social upheaval of the 1960’s and the issue of Jewish assimilation with authority and skill.  Nathan Zuckerman, a writer and fan of Seymour (Swede) Levov, the Jewish golden boy of New Jersey, is asked to to dinner by Swede and is excited at the prospect of helping a childhood hero.  After a disappointing dinner Zuckerman learns of Swede’s death at a class reunion and feels compelled to tell Swede’s story as he sees it.

Swede is the pride of the Jewish community, the blond, confident, athletic boy bridges the gap between cultures.  He marries a Catholic beauty queen and they have a daughter, Merry.  He takes over his father’s successful glove business and the family moves to the country and enjoy a nice house with land.  Swede’s life is good and he has everything he has ever wanted.  Then America goes into Vietnam and ignites a storm of violence and protest in the United States.  A teen-aged Merry becomes embroiled in the cause and does the unthinkable, changing not only her life, but the lives of everyone around her.

I liked the story, although heartbreaking.  It was an up close and personal view of the unraveling of a life which in turn causes destruction of everyone involved.  I cannot say that I am a fan of Roth or his convoluted writing style.  There comes a point when the self-examination and constant questioning just becomes too much to make the book truly enjoyable.  If I hadn’t been taking a class I may not have made it past page 50, but I’m glad I did.  The book was worthwhile.  I’ll find out as the class continues onto the next book whether Philip Roth is an acquired taste.

A few words from Philip Roth

“A Jewish man with parents alive is a fifteen-year-old boy, and will remain a fifteen-year-old boy till they die.”

“History… is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.”

“I cannot and do not live in the world of discretion, not as a writer, anyway. I would prefer to, I assure you – it would make life easier. But discretion is, unfortunately, not for novelists.”

“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.”

“When you publish a book, it’s the world’s book. The world edits it.”

4th of July, by James Patterson

Cover ImageFinished 9-22-08, rating 3/5, fiction, pub. 2006

This the the 4th installment of the Women’s Murder Club

Lindsay, Claire, and Cindy are back to work another murder case or cases as it happens.  Lindsay finds herself on trial and on administrative leave after a shooting that leaves one teen dead and the teen’s brother paralyzed.  She decides to head out of town to her sister’s empty house for some much needed relaxation.  While there she becomes embroiled in the local murders terrorizing the local beach community.

Claire and Cindy make small appearances, but this is really Lindsay’s story.  Boyfriend Joe is back and her faithful furry companion, Martha, is a welcome addition for this dog lover.  And by the end of the book a new member is admitted to the murder club.

Patterson knows how to build suspense, but the way he does it sometimes feels lazy.  I felt that this book was aimed at those who have ADD and because of it there were a lot more loose ends than in the past books.  It is a page turner and a great quick read and sometimes that is just what I need.  If you liked the first three in this series you will like the change of scenery this one offers.