balmofgilead: (Default)

1998: Awake My Glory by Rabbi Avigdor Miller.  I was excited to happen upon it in my school's library.  It seemed to offer some manner of logic and discussion of belief. I believe I put it down once he began denouncing public libraries, though. That's crazy talk.

2008: The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan. Appropriately, I got this from the public library in the People's Republic of Berkeley.

They're kind of oddly parallel to each other, in the vastly differing worlds from whence they each came.

Actually, I just did some quick math, and I think I read Awake My Glory in 1997.  Oops. Whatever.
balmofgilead: (dudley pippin)
I love that my library allows me to arrange to have a book sent from one branch to another entirely online, for free. Among other things, I have a random interest in re-reading a book I remember from nursery school: Ming Lo Moves the Mountain, by Arnold Lobel.
balmofgilead: (Default)

I've enjoyed most Vonnegut that I've read, but I'm not enjoying Slaughterhouse-Five much. 

balmofgilead: (dudley pippin)

Dudley Pippin's Summer

is every bit as good as the original Dudley Pippin (whom some of you may know from his, uh, guest appearance on the Free To Be You and Me record), and there's even terrific plot continuity:  Dudley's mom still has a saxophone with two broken keys, and he meets the same witch he'd met in the previous book, hence that story being titled "Dudley and the Witch (No. 2)."

The stories are fantastically amusing and wise, especially for two-page jobs that are supposedly aimed at kids. 
balmofgilead: (dudley pippin)
From the [ profile] altfriday5:

1. The list of the top 100 challenged or banned books from 1990 - 2000 is here: (or, for a less youth-oriented list, go here: Which of these books have you read?Read more... )

2. Which of those books, if any, had a strong effect on you -- either positive or negative? How did they affect you?
Yes, the lone nude sunbather in Where's Waldo? caused me to be attracted to women! (Um...that is not true. I never even knew there was a nude sunbather in there until I asked someone why it was banned.)

I really enjoyed I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings,and it gave me enormous respect for Maya Angelou. I also love Lois Lowry's books (The Giver and Anastasia Krupnik). I think I sort of model myself after Anastasia sometimes. Also for awhile my mom cooked cholent (stew-dish with meat and beans) with the meat inside a stocking to keep it together. We got this idea from one of the Anastasia books.

Bridge to Terebithia made me cry, which doesn't happen often.

3. Have you ever been personally affected by or involved in a challenge or a ban of a book? If yes, tell us a bit about it.
My school censored parts of The Crucible. I think it was the part where a boy and girl hold hands behind a shed. Also, they cut out the pages with some statistics & the chapters about sex and prostitution in a book in our school library.

I wasn't allowed to do a book report on Franny and Zooey because Salinger also wrote Catcher in the Rye (my teacher just wanted to play it safe, and I acquiesced. I'm sure she has read both books.) My friend's cousin got The Red Pony removed from the curriculum because it has a scene where the horses mate.

And they didn't censor Hamlet when I was in school, but in succeeding years they cut out some pages and replaced them with "clean" dialogue. It's a tiny bit possible that I caused this, 'cause I pointed out to a younger friend the whole bit about "post/With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!" or something. She and I laughed about it, but it's entirely possible that until she drew people's attention to it, no one had noticed.

These things haven't really affected me, in truth, because I've always been allowed to read whatever I want and to wander around the library picking out my own books. There were girls in my school for whom this was not the case, though.

4. Have you ever read a book that you felt should have been banned? If yes, why?
The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, because it is a font of misinformation in girls' religious schools. Okay, not really *banned*, just removed from use as a textbook. I don't endorse book-banning.

5. How do you feel about the banning of books? Is it an important issue to you?
I strongly disagree with book banning.
balmofgilead: (Default)
Sept. 23-30 is Banned Books Week.

My feelings are pretty much the same as they were two years ago: censorship is bad, 'kay?

But something a little beyond that, something I'm working on keeping in mind lately, is that it's a two-way street. Most of the books on the banned books list were challenged for things I have no problem with: mention of sexuality, abortion, offensive language, etc. Fighting censorship with regards to things I disagree with doesn't come as naturally, but it's probably just as important.The ALA gives a nice little quote:
But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”

--JS Mill (who seems to have had a comma fetish)

So, um, go read a banned book? I liked I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings much more than I'd expected, so try reading that, maybe. I'm gonna stick to the book I've been reading about the history of homosexuality and American psychiatry, which I'm sure plenty of censor-happy people would object to if they'd ever encountered it.
balmofgilead: (Default)
Anastasia Krupnik? the What’s Happening to my Body Book for Girls?

What the hell?

I can at least understand banning The Anarchist Cookbook or American Psycho (although I still don't agree with the idea of banning books), but what's wrong with these? It specifically scares me that books about puberty and health are on that list. Since when did people not have the right to accurate and unbiased information about their bodies?

And I'm just going to assume that having Where's Waldo? on there is an accident.


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