Latest Additions

It’s official! It’s Fall! *Now* I can feel happy about seeing all those fall-time treats without thinking it’s too soon -right? So bring on the crispy weather, tasty treats, and promise of Halloween fun! And in celebration of all this goodness -let’s start a new tradition…  I’m going to share some titles that have been recently added to The Reading Room by staff members and then I’m going to invite you (our faithful readers!) to share a book you’ve recently read and enjoyed! How about that!!

Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman
The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
Southern Cross the Dog by Bill Cheng

And you? What have *you* recently read and enjoyed!?

While I wait for the responses to roll on in, would you like to ponder the bigger picture? That’s lucky as isn’t just the first official week of Fall but it’s also the official Banned Books Week! Take a stroll through past years and read our thoughts on our freedom to read freely… This year I’m going to challenge myself to read “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie. A book I’ve been meaning to read for the longest time, so I’m seizing the moment…

— Stacey

Latest Addtions -Special Edition!

Yesterday was the first day of Banned Books Week 2012! (Or as I stubbornly continue to call it, “Freedom to Read Week!”) This is one of those times that both love and hate to share specific titles with people. It seems so unkind to point out books that have been -or are being- persecuted by people too small minded to let others read whatever they like, without judgement. Why can’t I make my own choices? Why should your opinion be the only that matters? Nope. I don’t like it. So today I’d like to give a tender, loving shout out to books that have been picked on in the past with a list -or two- for you to check out.

Challenged Classics
Frequently Challenged Books of the 21st Century
Frequently Challenged Authors of the 21st Century
50 State Salute Videos and be sure to check out Ohio’s Videos!

And if that’s not enough? We’re giving you the chance to win a Barnes and Noble Nook®! Just stop in at the Reference Desk, share the title of a book you would fight to save, and your name might randomly drawn! Then we’d love to encourage to fill that Nook® -with banned or challenged books!

We’ll see you soon then…

— Stacey

Freedom to Read 2011 -Once More!

After today, you still have one more full day to *celebrate* your individual Freedom to Read any book of your choosing! (Of course, I’m hoping you be celebrate your right to read freely every day!) But today is the last of the week for me and so I thought I’d leave you a few more links to start a conversation or two. The first is sponsored by Books AtoZ and has a wonderful collection of other sites to visit divided up by topic. Fact Monster has a nice, brief overview, plus more titles to explore listed down the right side of the page. And finally, there’s a fun list of 50 Banned Books That Everyone Should Read with explanations.

This week, I’ve been rereading a favorite -and often challenged- book, “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding. And what you? What did you read? Maybe you’ve found something to enjoy this week? Or maybe you still will! Either way, have a fabulous day reading through these sites -and- all the books you can gather!

— Stacey

Freedom to Read 2011 -Even More and More!

From sea to shining sea, everyone’s talking about our freedom to read! On the East Coast, The Washington Post is responsible for an interesting blog posting on the topic and they point out that the mention of drugs has become the current subject matter to cause the most challenges. On the West Coast, the Los Angeles Times has an article that should get some people talking! To the way far away European coastline of the United Kingdom with a list of 100 great banned books!

I think it’s the wide variety of lists from such a wide variety of sources that makes me appreciate our Freedom to Read Week celebrations. It’s not that I am busy envisioning myself, or anyone else really, standing in front of a bonfire with my arms outstretched to block the tossing of books on the pile. Instead, I am envisioning people being surprised into a discussion, or even some personal contemplation, about the world we live in now vs. what we want the world to become and how books, the good and the bad, make a difference. Right?

Still reading?

— Stacey


Freedom to Read 2011 -Even More!

So how did you do on your Banned Book Week quiz? If you haven’t taken it yet? What in the world are you waiting for? Don’t you want to see how wise and learned you are?

Or maybe you’d like to do a little more learning first? Is that the hold up? Would you like to consider the five best books turned into films? Or maybe you’re hoping to keep the visually imagery of the day going? Why not look to see how the Virtual Read-Out is going?

Either way, keep on reading those fabulously discussable, challenged titles! And I will too!

— Stacey

Still Celebrating the Freedom to Read 2011!

I can’t speak for everyone, but I feel pretty confident there is a large group of fellow readers who grew up after Judy Blume started writing and would choose Ms. Blume as an all-time favorite author! Does that seem like a startling statement? No, probably not. But it should be startling to know how often, how many of her books have been challenged for discussing real-life thoughts and feelings as seen through the eyes of a child. According to the American Library Association “…if every one of Judy Blume’s books was challenged–but only once–not one of her books would make the top 10 list, but she herself would make the most challenged author list.” Isn’t that a surprise? I thought so too! What does Ms. Blume say about censorship? Take a peek at her website and you’ll be able to read a variety of her responses. Very interesting!

Two more surprising censorship moments? How about The 11 Most Surprising Banned Books? And why not put your knowledge to the test in a quiz? You might surprised by all the facts you’ve learned so far, or maybe you’ll be surprised by an answer? Either way. Keep on reading those challenged books my friends!

— Stacey

Never the Twain shall meet

Wanting to ban books for various reasons is nothing new, and language is often cited as the reason. Well, those who have sought to ban Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn because of his copious use of the word “nigger” in that novel now have an option. According to the L.A. Times, NewSouth Books is publishing an edition of the work that replaces each instance of the offensive word with the word “slave.” 

 I understand the power of words to denigrate an entire group of people, to cheapen their worth as individuals and in society. I don’t understand the need to sweep our history of doing so under the verbal rug, especially when the message of the book ultimately contradicts the hatred and ignorance embodied in the word, and a society where it was acceptable.

Unfortunately, racism, sexism, prejudices of all kinds are still alive and well in America, perhaps that is what makes being confronted with these hateful words so difficult. I’m not sure what the answer is, but am doubtful that it is in the rewriting of Mark Twain. I would love to hear his response to such a thing – maybe I’ll have to tackle the new edition of his autobiography to gain some more insight on that…

— Julie

A Preemptive Strike

This week we have celebrated our freedom to read and put a spotlight on the issue of censorship and intellectual freedom. If you have seen the lists of challenged and banned books you will notice that many are books written for teens. Earlier in the week Stacey wrote about a teen author, Laurie Halse Anderson, who is very familiar with censorship. Young Adult authors, teachers, librarians, and readers have jumped to Ms. Anderson’s defense. In one case, the result was further censorship.

Andrea Cremer, a young adult author, was just one of many bloggers who felt compelled to speak in defense of Ms. Anderson. You can read her posting here. A few days later Ms. Cremer found herself in the principal’s office prior to a school visit. The reason? A groups of parents, after reading about her support of Ms. Anderson, were concerned about the “inappropriate content” of her work. That is a very interesting concern, considering Andrea Cremer’s debut novel, Nightshade, will not be published until October 19th, 2010! None of these concerned parents could have read the book, and yet, they were challenging the content. While I find this one incident frightening enough, it turns out that it is not the first time this has happened!


According to the ALA, Henderson Junior High School in Stephenville, Texas, has banned the entire Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. When the books were banned in 2009 the fifth book had not yet been published and the sixth, and final book was not even completely written! I am speechless. Thankfully, this quote from Chris Sims of Comics Alliance sums things up: “Stephenville ISD is ‘so committed to censorship that they are shattering the space-time continuum to literally ban books from the future.'” Amazing. See the entire Huffington Post article here.

You can get any of these books at our library (after they are published, of course!)so feel free to place a hold on one today. I know I will.


Freedom to Read: 50th Anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird

Please take a moment and  look at this video from the CBS Sunday Morning News from July 2010:

 To Kill a Mockingbird Turns 50

“The trouble with censorship is that once it starts it is hard to stop. Just about every book contains something that someone objects to.”
~Studs Terkel~

The classic, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee has sold over 30 million copies worldwide since its publication in 1960 and has been translated into more than 40 languages. Yet, according to the American Library Association, it still remains one of the top books challenged each year because of its racial theme and offensive language. Isn’t that interesting? Yet, all around the country,  we still are celebrating its 50th anniversary.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of my all-time favorite books and I have read it several times. Its powerful message of racial injustice has stayed with me from the very first time that I read this book in high school. Yes, there are things in the book that I did not like and it upset me. Would I ever consider banning it? No!

  I’m grateful to have that freedom to read!

Happy Reading!



Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read

I wanted to share this interesting link for Banned Books Week :

Book Bans and Challenges, 2007-2010

Taken from the actual cases that have been documented by the American Library Association and the Kids’ Right to Read Project, this Google Map represents the places in the United States where books have been banned or challenged since 2007. ALA documented 460 challenges in 2009 but believes that this number is only 20-25% of the actual challenges or bans that did occur. Many of these challenges are never officially reported and documented.

Happy Reading and Happy to be celebrating our Freedom to Read! ~Donna