Campaign for Free Expression

I just stole this from Isaak Mak’s blog, I Want Ice Water.

Absolutely brilliant (the vid, not Isaak . . . nah, just kidding).

I read banned books . . . as often as possible because that’s just how I roll.

“Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting” ~ Aldous Huxley

I was preparing this post to promote Banned Books Week on the evening of my mother’s accident. Since I had almost finished, I thought that I would go ahead and backdate and post. I mean,why give up a chance to stand upon my soapbox? The dates may be over, but the problem still exists.

I consider the banning of books to be a heinous crime against humanity. In my mind, there is nothing more beautiful than a book, nothing more enriching, nothing more enlightening. As I have mentioned, if I were stranded somewhere, anywhere, one of the things that I would have to have would be a book, any book, and I would probably read that one book until I knew every word, every comma, every quote.

One of my favorite quotes by Harper Lee

My love for reading was fostered greatly by both of my parents, but particularly my father who, when he grew tired of reading to me at any free moment, told me at four years old that if I liked reading so much that I should learn how to do it on my own. So I did.

“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.” ~ Victor Hugo

I view the censorship of books much in the same way I view censorship of television: so many alternatives are out there; what does it matter that something exists that you find evil, or dangerous, or sordid, or salacious, or seditious, or whatever . . . Don’t read the book. Don’t watch the show.

It’s your choice, and just as you have yours, I have mine. It’s called free will people. Think about it.

Now go read a book, any book. As Cicero said, “A room without books is like a body without a soul.”

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read

From the American Library Association Site
September 25−October 2, 2010

Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.  Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week.  BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings.  Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections.  Imagine how many more books might be challenged—and possibly banned or restricted—if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.

Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association; American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression; the American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of American Publishers; and the National Association of College Stores.  It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

For more information on getting involved with Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read, please see Calendar of Events and Ideas and Resources. You can also contact the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom at  1-800-545-2433, 1-800-545-2433, ext. 4220, or bbw@ala.org.

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

 

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Myracle, Lauren
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16. Forever, by Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26 .Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43. Blubber, by Judy Blume
44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, by George Beard
48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77. Crazy:  A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89.Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Graighead George
92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96. Grendel, by John Gardner
97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99. Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100. America: A Novel, by Frank, E.R.

More later. Peace.

“But words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling like dew upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.” ~ Lord Byron

 

“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing.” ~ Benjamin Franklin 

I feel very fortunate that I have collected a group of bloggers who happen to be wonderful people: good writers, deep thinkers, analytical commentators, wry wits . . . and lest I forget, genuinely kindhearted individuals who share their thoughts, stories, and insights with anyone who wants to visit. And sometimes, one of them writes something that is so in keeping with exactly how I am feeling about something, that the best course of action is to repost what has already been written.

Such is the case with the following. Enjoy.

Repost from Teahouse of the Furious Buddha

Why you should vote for the Democratic Party in November

My fellow Americans,

You have been offered the rarest of reprieves; please do not throw it away. Two years ago the underpinnings of our economy, rusted through by deregulation and burdened by the weight of unjustified tax cuts and unfunded wars gave way into free fall. In that moment of sober terror Barack Obama led the Democratic Party to a historic victory; the hard right wing of the American political spectrum was electrified in a way they had not been for at least a generation and immediately attacked everything about Obama from his policies to his ancestry. His enemies have accused him of being ‘brainwashed’ by the Christian pastor Jeremiah Wright while vilifying him as a secret Muslim; according to these critics, he is both a pawn of Wall Street and a Socialist. He is a snobby elitist who identifies with the wretched depraved poor of the third world. Most of all, he is Not Like Us.

That the economy has actually been growing for the last year or more is of little consequence. That taxes are lower now than during Reagan doesn’t matter. Combat forces have left Iraq, terrorist plots are being disrupted at home, and insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against you because you had cancer or they don’t like the way you look. It’s astonishing how Americans who had been so passionate about invading Iraq made no note of leaving it, to say nothing how after the great anxious concern they have long displayed over the threat of terrorism they don’t seem to appreciate when our current government actually susses one out. And it’s downright weird how so many regular Americans feel such concern for the welfare of insurance companies these days.

We Americans, however, are renowned for our ability to get downright weird. You know what I mean. How’s that ammunition stockpile working out? Good thing you invested in that, right? Because Obama wants to take your guns, right? Seeing as how during the past two years gun restrictions have actually been loosened and no move has been made by the Administration to interfere with the right to gun ownership in any way one would think that this particular anxiety would relax, but that’s asking a lot from people who think that the President is a Muslim. They must feel very tense.

My fellow Americans, I love you, I truly do. I know how angry and betrayed you feel right now; the game of musical chairs Mr Bush was playing came to a very sudden end, even quicker than they ever expected it would, and most of you were left without anywhere to sit. Mr Obama wanted the job and he has a lot of responsibility to bear, but he is not to blame for America’s problems and has in fact been demonstrably effective in every measure even if he has fallen short of achieving all that has been hoped for. People were hoping for quite a bit more than is reasonable to expect, but that is the way of things, isn’t it?

I am in no one’s pocket; my own are empty as yours. I see our roads and bridges crumbling, our gas lines and sewers are leaking; this is not time to cut taxes and reduce public spending. Shutting down the government is not going to make our nation stronger or our economy thrive; it is a meaningless sabotage, a reckless partisan stunt that hurts Americans and only helps Republicans. This is not idle speculation, it is the stated goal of both Tea Party and Republican leaders; I don’t know if there’s ever a good time to elect officials whose stated goal is to wreck the government, but that time is certainly not now.

Glenn Beck wants you to remember what you felt like on 9/12/01, which, if you are anything like me, was a mix of rage, confusion, grief and fear; it was an intense raw shock that made people irrational enough to think invading Iraq was a good idea. I think it would be better if you thought about the present; take a deep breath and a close look at the people you may be sending to Washington and reconsider. Please.

Sincerely,

Winston Delgado