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LISTen: An LISNews.org Podcast -- Episode #123

More Thoughts on Banned Books Week

Harry Potter and Huck Finn never met in their adventures, but they'll share a shelf at libraries across America during Banned Books Week, Sept. 25 to Oct. 2. The weeklong celebration of our freedom to read began in 1982 in response to an increase in the number of books being challenged in the nation's libraries and schools.

From DePauw University, Greencastle, IN: Banned Books Week has continued annually, and its need has not diminished. According to the American Library Association's (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom, there were 460 recorded attempts to remove materials from libraries last year and many thousands more since the organization began counting in 1990.

Three books by Lauren Myracle -- ttyl, ttfn, and l8r, g8r -- topped the ALA's Top Ten List of the Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2009 (see article below). Written entirely in texting shorthand, Myracle's books were challenged for sexual content and drug references. Stephenie Meyer's popular Twilight series was challenged on religious grounds, evoking opposition to J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels for promoting witchcraft. And it's not just new books that are being challenged. Classics such as Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye are perennial contenders for the distinction of being the most challenged book. -- Read More

On Committing a Literary Sacrilege...Not Reading Franzen's Freedom

From The Bookslut, Jessa Crispin:

I try to get away from the damn thing, but it keeps coming at me. A friend visiting announced he had finished it on the airplane — did I want a look? There were emails, blog posts, multiple reviews in the same venue. And then, on vacation, in another country and in another language, there it was, in the Viennese bookstore window where I stopped to tie my shoe: FREIHEIT von Jonathan Franzen. It appears that everyone in the world is being stalked by Jonathan Franzen right now.

My proclamation that I was not going to read Freedom was beginning to make me look like a dick. Just read it already. What’s the big deal? It’ll take a few days, and then you will be a participant in the cultural zeitgeist, the document of our era, the book that made books relevant again. (At least, the book since Twilight. Or Harry Potter. Or the last Franzen, Corrections.) After all, the Guardian called it the book of the century. Surely you have to read that.

But no. Not in Vienna, not in New York, not on the plane, not in a box with a fox whatever the f*ck, no. So just shut up about it.

Read entire article here.

Franzen? Really Oprah?

From Nora Rawlinson at Early Word:

In about an hour, we’ll learn which title will get the magic book club sticker, when Oprah’s live show debuts on Chicago’s WLS at 10 am. EDT. Many news outlets are already claiming that Oprah will pick the wild card, Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, based on a story, released mid-afternoon yesterday, by the AP, quoting three anonymous booksellers who have seen early copies of the stickered book. [UPDATE: yup she picked it]

The Melville House Publishing blog posted a story way back on Monday, based on “reliable sources” and followed with a post featuring the Freedom cover sporting an Oprah sticker. The L.A. Times is suspicious, however, that the rather blurry photo may be a result of photoshopping; see it next to the original cover on the left. What do you think — a poor photo shop job, a bad scan, or just a terrible photo?

It's Book Bloggers Appreciation Week, and You Are Appreciated

International giveaway at Beth Fish Reads...eight In My Book® cards...anywhere in the world

Enter this week, contest ends Monday September 20.

Beth Fish: Discovering Book Bloggers Around the Globe

Today is the first day of Book Blogger Appreciation Week 2010! This yearly event of giveaways, blog hopping, blogging, and awards is all about you! And you and you and you and me. It is the brain child of Amy from My Friend Amy.

Each day this week blogger Beth Fish Reads is hosting an international giveaway (winners announced on Monday), so please come back to see what she has in store.

Beth Fish Reads says: I'm taking today's blogging theme and putting my own twist on it. One of the best things about book blogging is getting to know readers from around the world. Daily, I read blogs from across the United States, Canada, the UK, Europe, Asia, South America, and the Pacific.

Read more about the book blogging community and Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW) at BookPage's The Book Case.

Help Build The Most Comprehensive List Of Library Blogs Ever

Walt Crawford is looking for a few more good blogs....

  • Check this pageLiblogs 2010 (with exclusions) — DRAFT. Use your browser’s Find function to check the name. (The list is in alphabetic order, but it’s idiot alpha order, with a few “A ” entries and a lot of “The ” entries. And, of course, cute punctuation can change sorting.)
  • If You Have Candidates…

    • Add a comment [NOT here at LISNews], with the blog name and URL–but give the URL as text, not as a link (omit the http://), and don’t combine the blog name with a link. (Why not? Because, particularly if you have more than one, it will cause Spam Karma 2 to flag it as spam–and with more than 100 spamments today, I’m not sure I’ll be able to sort through all the spam looking for legit posts.)
    • Or send me email, waltcrawford at gmail dot com, using the same rules.

    Texas Teen Lit Festival Will Be Minus Several Authors

    UPDATE According to the Houston Observer, the scheduled festival has BEEN CANCELLED in its entirely, due to the number of participants who have chosen not to attend.
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    The Teen Lit Fest in Humble is a huge deal for renowned writers of young adult fiction and the kids they're writing for. Which is why it's a huge deal that half of the authors have dropped out of the January 2011 festival.

    It all started when an Humble ISD librarian complained to some influential parents about New York Times bestselling author Ellen Hopkins, who was scheduled to appear at the festival. (Hopkins writes about cheery subjects like drug addiction, suicide, and religious intolerance.) Houston Press reports.

    Those parents then allegedly bent the ear of Superintendent Guy Sconzo, who ordered another librarian to uninvite Hopkins -- even though she had already appeared at two of the festivals Humble-area high schools, without causing any of the teenagers to slit their wrists, become pregnant, or turn to prostitution to subsidize chronic substance-abuse problems.

    When fellow writer and invitee Pete Hautman heard about it, he decided to drop out of the festival, and, according to his blog three more writers have dropped out -- Melissa de la Cruz, Tara Lynn Childs and Matt de la Pena. -- Read More

    Awful Library Books Can Be Fun

    You probably have visited Awful Library Books (and if you haven't...do!), but now the word is spreading.

    Wired's Geek Dad has an article on the website created by two Michigan librarians, Mary Anderson Kelly and Holly Allen Hibner. Among the gems they find while weeding is the 70's title Nomadic Furniture by James Hennessey and Victor Papanek, that features a child car safety seat made of cardboard.

    And as they promised themselves if the site was still fun after one year, they would be making ch-ch-changes. What started as a lark has taken on a life of its own. Says Mary: I kept thinking surely we will run out of books. Then we open the submission emails and something shows up that absolutely blows us away. Stay tuned and send in those submissions.

    Are You a Book Blogger?

    Be sure to sign up for the upcoming Book Blogger Appreciation Week here.

    The week extends from September 13-17, during which you'll be interviewing another blogger. This is an interview SWAP so you'll be interviewing each other, and posting your interviews on Tuesday September 14th. Please do not post your interviews early, post with the community! Sign-ups close on August 31st.

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