Sunday, September 26, 2010

Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week: Read all about it
Sat Sep 25, 1:44 pm ET

Maybe you won't be surprised to learn that some offended readers have tried to limit access to "The Color Purple," with its depictions of race and abuse. Or "Heather Has Two Mommies."

But "Fahrenheit 451" -- a book about censorship?

Or Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary?

Or perennial kindergarten favorite "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?"

Those are just three of the books that Associated Content's Pam Gaulin unearthed in a piece on 10 banned books you might not expect.

For nearly 30 years, the American Library Association has observed Banned Books Week, an annual tribute to the First Amendment and the "freedom to read." This year's just began; it runs throughout the coming week, Sept. 25 to Oct. 2.

But even the event itself has not been without controversy, writes Sylvia Cochran of Associated Content in a brief history of Banned Books Week: In 2002, the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family said the ALA had "irresponsibly perpetrated the 'banned' books lie for too long" and was trying to disguise the creep of explicit literature into children's lives. Another group, Family Friendly Libraries, says the ALA's "annual publicity campaign" seeks to undermine communities' right to request that objectionable material be reshelved or removed.

Most challenges to books are filed by parents, and the most common reason is sexually explicit content, according to Cochran's Q&A on how books get banned.

As for how "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" got on the list: Turns out that was a goof, writes Pam Gaulin of Associated Content.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010


There's be much talk of late about the popularity of e-books. My question is: How does an author autograph one?

Friday, September 17, 2010

National Reading Group Month

National Reading Group Month: Great Group Reads

In connection with National Reading Group Month, which is sponsored by the Women's National Book Association and is designated for October, the National Reading Group Month Selection Committee has chosen a dozen novels and one memoir as this year's Great Group Reads. The titles, recommended for reading groups at bookstores, libraries, online and elsewhere, are:

Blame by Michelle Huneven (Picador)
The Blessings of the Animals by Katrina Kittle (Harper Perennial)
Cheap Cabernet: A Friendship by Cathie Beck (Voice)
Eternal on the Water by Joseph Monninger (Gallery)
The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow (Algonquin)
Little Bee by Chris Cleave (Simon & Schuster)
The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli (St. Martin's)
Molly Fox's Birthday by Deirdre Madden (Picador)
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (Doubleday)
The Queen of Palmyra by Minrose Gwin (Harper Perennial)
Room by Emma Donoghue (Little, Brown)
Safe from the Sea by Peter Geye (Unbridled Books)
Up from the Blue by Susan Henderson (Harper)

The committee sought "under-represented gems from small presses and lesser-known mid-list releases from larger houses . . . which perhaps have flown under the radar of reviewers and reading groups."

The organization is providing shelf talkers, table-top posters and other display aides for download. Find the National Reading Group Month Marketing Toolkit at For more general information, go to and

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A sentence from the novel "Tinkers"

This is a sentence from the Pulitzer Prize winning novel "Tinkers" by Paul Harding.

"He thought, Buy the pendant, sneak it into your hand from the folds of your dress and let the low light of the fire lap at it late at night as you wait for the roof to give out or your will to snap and the ice to be too thick to chop through with the ax as you stand in your husband's boots on the frozen lake at midnight, the dry hack of the blade on ice so tiny under the wheeling and frozen stars, the sound proof lid of heaven, that your husband would never stir from his sleep in the cabin across the ice, would never hear and come running, half-frozen, in only his union suit, to save you from chopping a hole in the ice and sliding into it as if it were a blue vein, sliding down into the black, silty bottom of the lake, where you would see nothing, would perhaps feel only the stir of some somnolent fish in the murk as the plunge of you in your wool dress and the big boots disturbed it from its sluggish winter dreams of ancient seas.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The World's Most Expensive Book

A copy of John James Audubon's Birds of America, "billed as the world's most expensive book," will be sold at auction by Sotheby's in December, BBC News reported, adding that only 119 complete copies are known to exist, and all but 11 of them belong to museums and libraries. Ten years ago, another edition of the book sold for $8.8 million.