“Think about Stephen King books with disturbing themes and the tale of the Overlook, a malevolent hotel, might come to mind, or Christine, a malevolent Plymouth. As a bestselling horror novelist, King made his bones and his fortune by frightening the wits out of readers. Yet it was his collection of non-horror novellas with themes more societal than scary that was briefly banned this month from a high school outside Sacramento.”
via LA Times.com
“A Fremont teacher’s request for a controversial story to be included in the list of acceptable texts for Advanced Placement English was rejected by Fremont Unified School District’s Board of Education in a 5-3 vote June 27. Teri Hu, a Washington High School AP English teacher, requested the use of “Bastard Out of Carolina” in 2009 and was rejected although books with similar subject matter such as “The Color Purple,” “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and “We Were the Mulvaneys” were approved, according to Acacia O’Connor, a National Coalition Against Censorship project coordinator.”
via San Jose Mercury News
“The highly politicized crackdown on America’s fat people hits Los Angeles today, with a motion from L.A. City Councilman Mitchell Englander to ban all soda vending machines on city-owned property.
Englander, a physically fit frat-bro type who is clearly trying to one-up New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his proposed ban on extra-large sodas, warns in his motion that… sugary drinks can “affect young people both mentally and physically” — even cause them “to be violent against peers and in dating relationships.”
via The Informer
“Patricia Polacco, whose children’s book In Our Mothers’ House got bounced from a Davis County elementary school library shelf to “behind the counter,” wants to make one thing clear: The book did not belong in the kindergarten-third grade section.
Rather, she says, it should have been on the fourth-grade-and-up shelves, where curious kids might read it and spark a good discussion with their families at the dining room table.”
via The Salt Lake Tribune
The Washington Post – “From papyrus to vellum to paper to e-books, two principles of publishing have not changed over the centuries: 1. Churches can’t resist the temptation to condemn books. 2. Nothing boosts book sales like condemnation by a church. Who, after all, would have read Sister Margaret Farley’s “Just Love” if the Vatican hadn’t censured it this week? The Catholic Church delivered the nun’s treatise on Christian sexual ethics from the wilderness of obscurity into the promised land of fame. For any book publicist, such denunciation is an answer to a prayer. On Amazon’s Web site, “Just Love” immediately ascended from No. 142,982 to No. 16.”
Baltimore Sun – “Mary Hastler knew she was about to create a fuss, knew that, unfair as she might find it, people were going to label her the last thing a librarian wants to be called — censor. You don’t refuse to carry the most talked-about series of books in the country without anyone noticing. But as she read E.L. James’ erotic novel, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” on her iPad, Hastler couldn’t reconcile its words with the Harford County Public Library’s policy not to buy pornography. Hastler, the county’s library director, says she has no problem with your run-of-the-mill bodice-ripper. But she felt she was reading a step-by-step guide to bondage, and a poorly written one at that.”
NY Times. – “It did not escape the notice of Tim Cole, the collections manager for the Greensboro Public Library in North Carolina, that “Fifty Shades of Grey” was “of mixed literary merit,” as he put it with a heavy helping of Southern politeness. He ordered 21 copies anyway.”
The Daily Beast – “Meet the Librotraficantes—the “book smugglers” protesting the state’s controversial ban on ethnic-studies classes—and putting Mexican-American works in students’ hands.”
More here, from the NYT
Houston Chronicle – “A grass-roots caravan from Houston to Tucson – filled with writers, students and activists – will bring prohibited books back to Arizona over spring break. When Tony Diaz heard that Tucson schools had dismantled a popular Mexican-American studies program and yanked Hispanic history books from classrooms, he began organizing a protest. Adding fuel to his fire: Two of the titles now prohibited in Tucson classes were published by the University of Houston’s Arte Público Press. Diaz coined a word to describe his new mission: Librotraficante – or “booktrafficker.”
Law and Disorder – “I work on occasion from my local public library, a wonderful spot with huge glass windows overlooking an attached park. The views are nice, the quiet is terrific, but the free Wi-Fi is indispensable. But the Internet connectivity comes with limits, in the form of a content filter that periodically prevents me from accessing research materials. Infuriating, yes. But illegal? The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has just filed a complaint (PDF) on behalf of a Salem, Missouri resident named Anaka Hunter, who contends that the Salem public library is unconstitutionally blocking her ability to access information on “minority” religious views. Federal and state law both govern libraries in Missouri, which are generally ordered to block access to obscene online material and child pornography. But the Salem library allegedly goes far beyond the mandate.”
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