Saturday, September 30, 2017

Banned Books Week - Stephen King #BannedBooksWeek


Today is the final day of Banned Books Week and since tomorrow is the first day of the scariest month of the year, I though I would share again my post from two years ago about Stephen King and his works that have been challenged over the years. Plus, King is really hot right now with the new movie, IT, and streaming and cable TV series Mr. Mercedes and Gerald's Game, plus his new book with his son, Owen King, Sleeping Beauties.

 Until next year, Banned Books Week...adieu.


(Reposted from October 2, 2015)

I decided to touch on horror today for Banned Books Week since it is officially the scariest month of the year (like the spooky blog look?), and although this isn't my horror blog, I felt it was important to talk about challenged books and Stephen King.

I was looking through the lists of Most Frequently Challenged Authors on the ALA site and I noticed that Stephen King is the only true horror author listed. Why is Stephen King the only horror author challenged frequently, when there are so many other horror authors out there? I came to the conclusion that 1) it's because King is probably the most famous horror author in the world or 2) there is a sore lack of horror reading going on in this country, especially among young people. Referring to number 2, it's probably true that not many school libraries actually carry horror novels. I'm trying to look back to when I was in school and I can't really remember many horror novels in our school library. I started reading horror at a fairly young age (John Saul in 5th or 6th grade) and I obtained my horror books from either the public library, or from my parents' books. I remember reading The Entity in 7th or 8th grade. I wonder what my teachers thought?

I also started reading Stephen King at a pretty young age. My parents were fans and we also saw all the films that were released so it was natural for me to become a fan. And a lifelong fan, at that. My parents did not shelter me from books and what went on in them. If I had a question or concern, they were happy to discuss it. On the other side of the coin, I'm sure there were parents who would have been appalled that my parents let me read King's books at that age. And there lies the question. Who decides what is right for kids when it comes to books? The parents, that's who. So, if one parent objects to Stephen King and thinks that his books should be removed from the hands of all kids, well, that's where we have a problem.

Stephen King was one of the most frequently challenged authors of the 21st century in the years 2002 and 2003. According to the American Library Association, Stephen King is one of the most "challenged" authors alive, meaning parents still want his books placed on special shelves in school libraries — or removed altogether. Pretty much every book Stephen King has ever written has been challenged and/or banned at one time or other. According to this site, every SK book on their lists have even been burned in protest.

Here are some factoids on instances where Stephen King's books have been challenged and some commentary on the subject from the man himself:

The Shining
Considered dangerous because it "contains violence and demonic possession and
ridicules the Christian religion."
Challenged by Campbell County, Wyoming, school system, 1983.
Banned by Washington County, Alabama, Board of Education, 1985.
(all from gumbopages)

The Stand
Reason: "sexual language, casual sex, and violence"

Banned and Challenged Books In Texas Public Schools

2002-2003 The Brookeland ISD reported that all Stephen King books were banned in all district schools.

The challenge was brought by a parent, and “…also brought to the attention of the Board of

Trustees.” This challenge was listed as one entry in our main report or our summary tables, since
it was not specific as to title and because of the large number of Stephen King titles in existence. (from ACLU Texas)

Carrie
Considered "trash" that is especially harmful for "younger girls."
Challenged by Clark High School library, Las Vegas, Nevada, 1975.
Placed on special closed shelf in Union High School library, Vergennes,
Vermont, 1978.


This quote was taken from an article Stephen King wrote which was published as a guest column in the March 20, 1992 issue of The Bangor Daily News. Read the entire article here.

So, just for the record, here is what I'd say if I still took time out from doing my work to defend it.

First, to the kids: There are people in your home town who have taken certain books off the shelves of your school library. Do not argue with them; do not protest; do not organize or attend rallies to have the books put back on their shelves. Don't waste your time or your energy. Instead, hustle down to your public library, where these frightened people's reach must fall short in a democracy, or to your local bookstore, and get a copy of what has been banned. Read it carefully and discover what it is your elders don't want you to know. In many cases you'll finish the banned book in question wondering what all the fuss was about. In others, however, you will find vital information about the human condition. It doesn't hurt to remember that John Steinbeck, J.D. Salinger, and even Mark Twain have been banned in this country's public schools over the last 20 years.

Second, to the parents in these towns: There are people out there who are deciding what your kids can read, and they don't care what you think because they are positive their ideas of what's proper and what's not are better, clearer than your own. Do you believe they are? Think carefully before you decide to accord the book-banners this right of cancellation, and remember that they don't believe in democracy but rather in a kind of intellectual autocracy. If they are left to their own devices, a great deal of good literature may soon disappear from the shelves of school libraries simply because good books -- books that make us think and feel -- always generate controversy.

If you are not careful and diligent about defending the right of your children to read, there won't be much left, especially at the junior-high level where kids really begin to develop a lively life of the mind, but books about heroic boys who come off the bench to hit home runs in the bottom of the ninth and shy girls with good personalities who finally get that big prom date with the boy of their dreams. Is this what you want for your kids, keeping in mind that controversy and surprise -- sometimes even shock -- are often the whetstone on which young minds are sharpened?

Third, to the other interested citizens of these towns: Please remember that book-banning is censorship, and that censorship in a free society is always a serious matter -- even when it happens in a junior high, it is serious. A proposal to ban a book should always be given the gravest consideration. Book-banners, after all, insist that the entire community should see things their way, and only their way. When a book is banned, a whole set of thoughts is locked behind the assertion that there is only one valid set of values, one valid set of beliefs, one valid perception of the world. It's a scary idea, especially in a society which has been built on the ideas of free choice and free thought.

Definitely food for thought, and eloquently spoken, as usual, Mr. King.




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Thursday, September 28, 2017

#CatThursday - #BannedBooksWeek Edition #cats


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

I look forward to Banned Books Week every year because I feel it is such an important event to raise awareness of censorship/attempts at censorship. I haven't been as prolific with my series of posts this year, but if you missed my two earlier posts this week, you can check them out here and here. I'm hoping to do two or three more posts to round out the week. 

Turns out cats have some views on censorship too!  😾😿🙀




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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Banned Books Week - Censored Books in Ancient and Medieval Times #BannedBooksWeek


Today I'm going to take a look at five books which were censored in the ancient and medieval worlds. It seems the act of banning books has been around for a very long time. What a shame that over a millennium (and longer) has passed, yet the attempt to ban books is still going on. So much for a modern and enlightened society.

It's important to remember that publication possessed a different form before the printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg around 1440. However, textual censorship and book burning were still prolific in the Mediterranean region in premodern times.


Abelard - burned his own book in 1121 CE. It must have been some traumatic experience to be forced to burn your own book. Unfortunately, that is exactly what Abelard, medieval philosopher and theologian, was forced to do by the Council of Soissons in the twelfth century. Book burning in this time period was a highly public event and Abelard was forced to burn his book on the Holy Trinity. He was also imprisoned in the Abbey of St. Medard. He did manage to escape and he continued to teach in Troyes.

Ovid in Exile, by Romanian painter Ion Theodorescu-Sion, 1915. 

Ovid - exiled in 8 CE. Rome's public libraries did not open until late in the first century BCE Under Augustus's reign, the Temple of Apollo, the Atrium of Liberty and the Porticus of Octavia were thriving public libraries. The emperor had control over the content of the libraries. In 8 CE, he sent the poet Ovid to exile and banned Ovid's Ars Amatoria ("The Art of Love") from public libraries (Ovid's other works were still available though). From his place of exile, Ovid wrote: "I come in fear, an exile’s book, sent to this city: kind reader, give me a gentle hand, in my weariness: don’t shun me in fear, in case I bring you shame: not a line of this paper teaches about love." Tristia Book III

Sappho

Sappho - burned in 1073 CE. The legendary poet of Lesbos lived in the seventh century BCE (born around 615 BCE). However, her writings were not burned until the year 1073 when Pope Gregory VII allegedly called for the action to be taken in Rome. What is left of Sappho's works can be read here, or read about the translated Sappho fragments at the Center for Hellenic Studies, Harvard.


Leaf from a Manichaean Book. Khocho, Ruin K. 
8th/9th century AD. 
Painting on paper. 17.2x 11.2 cm. III 6368. 

Manichaean Texts (297 or 302 & 923 CE) The texts of the followers of Mani, the Manichaeans, were ordered to be burned, along with their leaders by the emperor Diocletian (r.284-305 CE). It is said that the bishop Augustine was also not a fan. Speaking out against these followers, he wrote (in 400 CE) that the Manichaeans should, "burn all [their] parchments with their finely ornamented bindings; so you will be rid of a useless burden, and your God who suffers confinement in the volume will be set free."

The Sibyl of Cumae by Elihu Vedder

The Sibylline Books - Prophecies burned in the 6th c. BCE and 5th c. CE. The utterances of the Sibyl of Cumae were kept at Rome and overseen by the Quindecimviri sacris faciundis.
In ancient Rome, the quindecimviri were the fifteen (quindecim) members of a college (collegium) with priestly duties. The Greek verses were first brought to Rome probably during the reign of the King Tarquinius Priscus, the infamous fifth king of Rome (r.616-579 BCE), or possibly during the reign of the last regal period king, Tarquinius Superbus (r.535-509 BCE). The story goes that a woman approached to sell him nine scrolls. He refused her price. The woman went away and proceeded to burn three of the nine books. She then came back, asking again the same price as before. Once again, Tarquin rebuffed her and she burned three of the remaining six. One last time did she come back and again asked the same price for the remaining three, the same price she originally pitched to Tarquin for the nine scrolls. By this time, Tarquin became worried. He asked Rome's religious augurs what he should do. They told him the scrolls were a gift from the Gods and he should buy them -- so he bought them. Allegedly, the remaining scrolls were eventually burned by Stilicho at the beginning of the 5th c. CE. The lesson here might be...always buy a book from a persistent lady. (Sound legit to me 😉)


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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Banned Books Week 2017 - September 24 - 30 #BannedBooksWeek


Here we are at Banned Books Week once again. When I think about it, I feel it's quite a shame that we even have a need for this week, but until there is no longer attempts at censorship, we must persevere in bringing awareness to the world.

Each year, I start off with the list of the Top Ten Most Challenged Books. This years list is below. I will be doing a series of posts all week. I hope you will join me in celebrating the right to read!

Top Ten Most Challenged Books for 2016

Out of 323 challenges recorded by the Office for Intellectual Freedom
  1. This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
    Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, drug use and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes 
  2. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint 
  3. George written by Alex Gino
    Reasons: challenged because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels” 
  4. I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
    Reasons: challenged because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints 
  5. Two Boys Kissing written by David Levithan
    Reasons: challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content 
  6. Looking for Alaska written by John Green
    Reasons: challenged for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation” 
  7. Big Hard Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
    Reason: challenged because it was considered sexually explicit 
  8. Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread written by Chuck Palahniuk
    Reasons: challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive” 
  9. Little Bill (series) written by Bill Cosby and and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood
    Reason: challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author 
  10. Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell
    Reason: challenged for offensive language



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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Fall #Bloggiesta - Plans


I have a lot of things to accomplish and I hope I can get to them all.

-First on the list is to finish cleaning up the mess Photobucket created (reference: this post...if you don't know what I'm talking about). I have to go through five sites. Not sure if I will do the individual posts. It will take too long. If I do decide to do that, I'll only go back a year. My feelings toward Photobucket...please note below. lol



-Draw the winners for my two blogiversary giveaways (here and for Castle Macabre).

-Work on creating the Halloween page for my year round Christmas blog, Christmas Spirit and get together a post for Rudolph Day on September 25.

-Start prepping posts for Banned Books Week next week (Sept. 24-30).

-Finish my Patreon page and add buttons to my three main blogs.

-Can't think of anything else right now, but will add if I do...and if I have time.

This may end up being my motto for this event, but that's okay.



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#CatThursday - #Cats in #Art (24)


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

Illustration by Virginia Frances Sterrett for Old French Fairy Tales, 1920

John Everett Millais Grandmother’s Apology 
English Illustration The Sixties 1855-70 by Gleeson White

Grandma Frink, illustration from The Pansy Magazine, August 1886 

Olga Wisinger-Florian (Austrian, 1844-1926)

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

#CatThursday - #Authors and #Cats (66) Mary Stewart


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

The second Cat Thursday of each month is Authors and Cats Thursday. Each time I will feature an author with their cat(s), or pictured with a cat(s).



She was the author of one of my most favorite Arthurian series, The Arthurian Saga. 

Lady Mary Stewart, born Mary Florence Elinor Rainbow (September 12, 1916 - May 09, 2014), was a popular English novelist, and taught at the school of John Norquay elementary for 30 to 35 years.


She was one of the most widely read fiction writers of our time. The author of twenty novels, a volume of poetry, and three books for young readers, she was admired for both her contemporary stories of romantic suspense and her historical novels. Born in England, she lived for many years in Scotland, spending time between Edinburgh and the West Highlands.

Her unofficial fan site can be found at http://marystewartnovels.blogspot.com/. (from Goodreads)


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Thursday, September 7, 2017

#CatThursday - It's almost here! #Cats can't wait either #Fall


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

I know, I know. It's two weeks away. I can't help it. As soon as September hits, I'm immediately in Autumn mode. According to the internet, apparently it's the same with the kitties. 🍂😺🍂







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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A Reading Life (49) - Fall Reading! #RIPXII #FrightFall #GothicSept #WitchSeasonCM


Here we are again...coming up on my favorite time of year (well, one of them anyway)! Fall, which leads into winter with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yay! Right now though, it's time to focus on the fun, spooky fall reading events starting with...


R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XII

Hosting are Heather at My Capricious Life and Andi at Estella's Revenge. Head over to either blog to sign-up. From the sign-up post:

The purpose is to enjoy books that could be classified as...

Mystery
Suspense
Thriller
Dark Fantasy
Gothic
Horror
Supernatural

The emphasis is never on the word challenge, instead it is about coming together as a community and embracing the autumnal mood, whether the weather is cooperative where you live or not.

There are two simple goals for R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XII:

1. Have fun reading.
2. Share that fun with others.

There are multiple levels. Read more at the sign-up post.

My levels...

Peril the First:
Read four books, any length, that you feel fit (our very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature. It could be Stephen King or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Shirley Jackson or Tananarive Due…or anyone in between.

Between reading for this, my other fall reading events, and my FrightFall readathon, which is the entire month of October, I'm hoping to get a lot of horror reading done. I may not get to all of them, but I'm sure going to try. This is the list I will be working on:


Exorcist Falls (including the novella, Exorcist Road) - Jonathan Janz
We Are Always Watching - Hunter Shea
Becoming - Glenn Rolfe
The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned - Anne Rice (read-along at Gather Together and Read)
The Witch of Ravensworth - George Brewer (novella...for Season of the Witch at Castle Macabre)
Hunter of the Dead -  Stephen Kozeniewski
Greg F. Gifune
The Awakening - Brett McBean
VyrminGene Lazuta
Renovation - Sara Brooke
Dream Woods - Patrick Lacey (novella)

Peril of the Short Story:
We are fans of short stories and our desire for them is perhaps no greater than in autumn. We see Jackson in our future for sure! You can read short stories any time during the challenge. We sometimes like to read short stories over the weekend and post about them around that time. Feel free to do this however you want, but if you review short stories on your site, please link to those reviews on our RIPXII Book Review pages. 

Edgar Allan Poe short stories (for Gothic September):
Berenice: A Tale
William Wilson: A Tale
The Imp of the Perverse
A Descent into the Maelstrom

Short stories for Season of the Witch at Castle Macabre:
Ancient Sorceries - Algernon Blackwood
 The Witch - Shirley Jackson

Peril on the Screen:
This is for those of us who like to watch suitably scary, eerie, mysterious gothic fare during this time of year. It may be something on the small screen or large. It might be a television show, like Dark Shadows, or your favorite film. If you are so inclined, please post links to any R.I.P.-related viewing you do on our book review pages as well.


There are a ton of new scary movies I'm looking forward to this fall, not to mention scary shows...one of which I'm watching right now as I type this up..American Horror Story: Cult

The two movies I'm most looking forward to are IT and Mother! I'm going to see the former this weekend and the latter next weekend. Can't wait!


Join me for my fun, and scary, fall reading events!



Coming in October to Castle Macabre

 

What's going on in your reading life?


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