The Fundamental Right to Read

Every September as school buses refuel and become a fixture on the roads again, retail stores have “back to school sales,” and routines become the norm for families with kids in school. Another annual ritual is gearing up. Libraries and bookstores begin promoting Banned Book Week, an annual awareness campaign promoted by the American Library … Read more

Fig Leaves and Cappuccino

by Jas Faulkner

plain brown cover“How are things?” I asked Sam as I flipped through pictures of Dore engravings.

“Things are great,” said Sam, “Could not be better.  Have I told you my wife is a marketing genius?”

“Do tell.  I take it there’s a good story about to happen.”

Of course there was. And as many of them begin, this one starts with a visit from Taylor Slow.  For whatever reason, she wandered from her usual shelves of choice to the “literature” section, where she found copies of Lolita, The Canterbury Tales, and For Colored Girls… “right out there in the open where any impressionable young person could get hold of ’em!”

“I’m expressing my concern to you directly because I want to give you the chance to address this yourselves.”

“Really?”  Sam, who is one half of the ownership group of the tiny independent book store that not only could but did defy the odds and stay open in their small Mississippi home town glanced up.  She nodded sympathetically and then got back to work because that was what one does when Miss Taylor Slow gets a bee in her bonnet about something.

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Banned Books Week’s Timeline Titles

I never remember when Banned Books Week is scheduled. I stumbled about online, and luckily realized it was happening, now, this minute, until October 2. 2012. My fascination with the convoluted and off kilter reasons for parents, townspeople, and school boards’ objections to certain titles never wanes. How could it? Every year a new title that may have been published centuries ago, is being challenged by someone somewhere. The American Library Association in honor of 30 years devoted to pointing out threatened and banned titles, created a timeline of banned books–from the year Banned Books Week began, 1982, until this year. Some not yet read titles are familiar to me because of being challenged constantly by the ignorant. Other titles I’v’e never heard of. A great deal of them are juvenile or grade school level.

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A Real Kurt Vonnegut

I am a teeny bit embarrassed to admit, I’ve not read Vonnegut. Although certainly aware of his work. I’ve never had the inclination to pick his titles. Perhaps until now. On the Banned Books Week’s site, they linked to a letter Vonnegut wrote in 1973 to the head of a school board who had burned … Read more

Stephen Colbert Vs Maurice Sendak, or Vice Versa

Once again, I tripped over an episode of mock conservative Stephen Cobert’s show, and low and behold, he’s interviewing the famous children’s writer and illustrator–Maurice Sendak. If you’ve not seen Colbert–think of a fake sincere smart aleck whose comebacks are fast and furious, and usually hilarious. I find it hard to believe in this day … Read more

Is Canada A Better Protector Of Intellectual Freedom?

I ran across an article about challenges the Canadian libraries and school libraries faced for the year 2010. Despite lagging a year behind in their statistics, the outcome was quite pleasing to me, as someone who has written so much on banning books from school and public libraries in the US.  Report of the Annual … Read more