Yes, people are still trying to ban books. And, yes, they should be opposed — vigorously.
You can shield yourself from ideas that make you uncomfortable or that you disagree with. You may be able, to some extent, to limit the exposure that the young people in your care have to those ideas.
But you cannot shield your community from the things you disagree with. That’s called censorship, and in any practical sense, it doesn’t work.
Yet people continue to try.
That’s why we have Banned Books Week (in 2018, Sept. 23-29) — because despite its obvious and practical futility, people continue to try. And librarians, bookseller, academics, and many people from across society continue to oppose the people who try.
Bannedbooks.org keeps up with the censorship efforts that occur throughout the year and on the website is a list of the books that came under the most fire in 2017. Here’s the list, but you’ll need to go to the website (About | Banned Books Week) to find out why:
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
George y Alex Gino
Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole
I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
Efforts of censors almost inevitably fail — ideas don’t die just because you keep them out of public places — but that doesn’t mean we should stand idly by and let the censors run amok among us.
Opposing censorship is everyone’s job.
A picture essay book on the necessity of libraries from The Guardian
What are libraries about?
Neil Gaiman and Chris Ridell have put together this pretty neat picture book that solidly answers that question.
Sit back and take a look. You will enjoy this.
Seven red marks resided in a cave in South Africa for about 73,000 years until a few years ago when rocks from the cave were extracted for examination.
Now scientists believe they are the oldest drawings yet discovered that were made by humans. They are about the side of two thumbnails, and what they mean, if anything, is anybody’s guess.
They are made of red ochre, a naturally occurring pigment, and probably applied to the rock with a stick. This New York Times story has the details:
Using a microscope, a laser and a scanning electron microscope, they (the scientists) determined that the marks were on top of the rock and that they were made from red ocher, a type of natural pigment that was often used to make prehistoric cave paintings. In fact, ancient humans in the Blombos Cave were making ocher paint as far back as 100,000 years ago. Source: Oldest Known Drawing by Human Hands Discovered in South African Cave – The New York Times
Previously, the oldest known drawings were about 40,000 years old.
In case you missed these recent (and ancient) posts on JPROF.com:
- Anne Bradstreet, Puritan wife and mother and America’s first published poet
- Writing and dying, in public view; The Devil’s Dictionary
- Book of Judith sets forth the story of a strong female character of Biblical times
- Margaret Fuller packed more than a lifetime into her 40 short years
Elsa H.: I enjoy your newsletters, Jim, although sometimes I can’t really take in much (fibro fog). I want to know more about Agatha Christie, please. I read all her books that I could find in chests that were shipped from Kenya when we moved to South Africa. I used to climb down I to the cellar (I think you call it a basement) and I had a nice little reading nook set up there together with stuff to eat. It was directly down so I had to smuggle a ladder in too. Then I found Agatha Christie. I was ten.
Self-publishing workshop at Blount County Public Library, Oct. 6, 2018
My duties and responsibilities as writer-in-residence at the Blount County Public Library (Maryville, Tennessee) continue to evolve. On the first Saturday of October, I will be offering a half-day workshop on getting started with self-publishing.
If you’re in the area and are interested in this topic, sign up here:
Here’s the description:
Introduction to Self-Publishing Details: ADVANCED REGISTRATION FORM WITH $10 FEE, LUNCH INCLUDED, FOR SESSION ON OCTOBER 6th, 2018
The workshop will be held Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Sharon Lawson Room. You will learn the basics of self-publishing in this half-day workshop conducted by Jim Stovall, the Blount County Public Library’s current writer-in-residence (www.jprof.com). The workshop will cover everything you need to know about getting started in the world of independent publishing and how to make your book available on Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and other book-selling forums. Advance online registration is required as is a $10 registration fee which includes a box lunch from the library’s Bookmark Café. Lunch is not optional, and lunch order options are on the registration form below. Seating is limited to 30. For more details, call Adult Services (Reference Desk) at 865-273-1428 or 865-982-0981, option 3.
Remember, the $10 fee includes lunch!
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