Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Night Book Porn!


Book porn: (n) Photographs and descriptions that exploit the nerd's natural lust for the physical beauty of reading material. Such material is deemed highly dangerous to one's sanity . People under the influence have been known to max out their library cards, spend their food money on paperbacks and exhaust their friends and loved ones with "wish lists" .

If someone you love suffers from book porn addiction, know that there is no cure for it.

Just give them what they want.


Tonight's dirty pictures come from the Strahov Library in Prague. I stumbled upon them on boredstop.com, but I originally saw them in a depraved work of non-fiction called The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World by Guillaume de Laubier which is full of serious triple-X stuff for the hardcore bibliophile.

The Strahov Library is part of the Strahov Monastery and has:

about 200 000 old prints, mostly from the period between the 16 th and the 18 th century, around 3000 manuscripts and 1500 first prints. One of the most precious items is the Strahov Evangeliary from the 9 th century, with Romanesque and Gothic decoration. There are two splendidly decorated halls: the Theological Hall and the Philosophical Hall.
---http://www.prague.cz/strahov-library/
It is not a lending library, but you can visit it at any time between 9am and 5pm, as long as it isn't Easter or Christmas. You can see a 3-D Panoramic view here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wishful Wednesdays


Okay- the master list- these are the books I have been salivating over. I have prepared a cozy place for them on my bookshelf, where they will join the rest of my little paper and cardboard family. Meme hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading.

I've already bought the crossed out ones.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K Rowling
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K Rowling
When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach
The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner
The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene
The Fabric of Cosmos by Brian Greene
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift (Easton Press Edition)

A is for Alibi- Sue Grafton
C is for Corpse- Sue Grafton
D is for Deadbeat- Sue Grafton
F is for Fugitive- Sue Grafton
G is for Gumshoe- Sue Grafton
H is for Homicide-Sue Grafton
I is for Innocent- Sue Grafton
M is for Malice- Sue Grafton
Jazz- Toni Morrison
The Oxford Book of American Poetry

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Banned, Censored, Challenged: Animal Farm

Animal Farm is a fable by novelist George Orwell. It was challenged in 1982 in Dekalb County, Georgia. In 1963, in Wisconsin, the John Birch Society challenged it for the use of the phrase "the masses will revolt". It was banned in the Soviet Union. Also banned in Yugoslavia (1946), Kenya (1991) and the United Arab Emirates (2002).

On May 7 1987, over 60 books were banned from use in the classrooms in two Panama City, Florida classrooms. Animal Farm among them:


Bay High School:
A Farewell To Arms- Ernest Hemingway
The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald
Intruder in the Dust- William Faulkner
Lost Horizon- James Hilton
Oedipus Rex- Sophocles
The Red Badge of Courage
A Separate Peace- John Knowles
Shane- Jack Schaefer
Three Comedies of American Life- Joseph Mersand

Moseley High School:
Adventures in English Literature
After the First Death- Robert Cormier
Alas, Babylon- Pat Frank
Animal Farm- George Orwell
Arrangement in Literature
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Best Short Stories Brave New World- Aldous Huxley The Call of the Wild- jack London Canterbury Tales- Geoffrey Chaucer The Crucible- Arthur Miller Death be Not Proud- John Gunther
Deathwatch - Robb White
Desire Under the Elms- Eugene O'Neill
The Emperor Jones- Eugene O'Neill
Long Day's Journey Into Night- Eugene O'Neill
Exploring Life Through Literature Fahrenheit 451- Ra Bradbury
The Fixer - Bernard Malamud
Ghosts- August Strindberg Miss Julie- August Strindberg
The Glass Menagerie- Tennessee Williams Great Expectations- Charles Dickens The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald
Hamlet, King Lear, The Merchant of Venice and Twelfth Night - William Shakespeare
Hipplolytus- Euripides
In Cold Blood- Truman Capote
The Inferno- Dante Alighieri (Ciardi translation)
The Little Foxes- Lillian Helman
Lord of the Flies- William Golding
The Mayor of Casterbridge- Thomas Hardy
McTeague- Frank Norris
Mister Roberts- Thomas Heggen
The Oedipus Plays of Sophocles
Of Mice and Men- John Steinbeck The Pearl- John Steinbeck The Old Man and the Sea- Ernest Hemingway
On Baile's Strand- W.B Yeats
The Outsiders- S.E Hinton
Player Piano- Kurt Vonnegut
The Prince and the Pauper- Mark Twain
Prometheus Unbound- Percy Bysshe Shelley
Tale Blazer Library A Raisin in the Sun- Lorraine Hainsberry
The Red Badge of Courage- Stephen Crane
A Separate Peace- John Knowles
To Kill A Mockingbird
- Harper Lee
Watership Down
- Richard Adams
Winterse
t- Maxwell Anderson
Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte

--From Banned Books: Literature Suppressed On Political Grounds by Nicholas J. Karolides

The books would later be re-instated...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Banned, Censored, Challenged: Les Miserables

Les Miserables(1862) is the 19th century work of French author Victor Hugo. Every one of Victor Hugo's books were banned in 1850 by Tsar Nicholas I, since Hugo's depiction of royalty were considered...less than flattering, shall we say? His works were also listed on the infamous Index Librorum Prohibitorum which was the Catholic Church's list of books forbidden to members of the faith.
Les Miserables made the Index in 1864 and according to Banned Books: Literature Suppressed on Political Grounds, stayed there until 1959. Books were usually placed there for being critical of the clergy or the papacy. In 1904, it was banned from a Philadelphia school because it contained a French word associated with prostitution (grisette- a working class woman, "good-time girl").

Les Miserables is the story of Jean Valjean, a former criminal who finds redemption. It's about compassion and was a commentary on French society. Miserables refers to the wretchedly poor in France.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Night Book Porn!

Book porn: (n) Photographs and descriptions that exploit the nerd's natural lust for the physical beauty of reading material. Such material is deemed highly dangerous to one's sanity . People under the influence have been known to max out their library cards, spend their food money on paperbacks and exhaust their friends and loved ones with "wish lists" .

If someone you love suffers from book porn addiction, know that there is no cure for it. Just buy them what they want.

This is the library of American writer Edith Wharton, author of The Age of Innocence, The House of Mirth and Ethan Frome. Edith Wharton was an upper class female writer in a time when women were discouraged from writing for publication.

Her home, "The Mount", in Massachusetts, is beautiful. Wharton wrote about the rich and wealthy of New England high society. You can see more pictures on The Mount's website. (See Also: Save the Mount)

It looks like a lavish place- a place for fine China and evening dresses. It's elegant and stately-- not really a library for genre fiction or paperbacks.


Eudora Welty was also an American writer who wrote short stories and novels like The Optimist's Daughter, which won the 1973 Pulitzer Prize. Her home is also a preserved national treasure.

The exterior of the house is every bit as beautiful as these shelves.

I could live here- I want to live here. It looks like the kind of house I always dreamed of as a kid- friendly, open and in a style that looks different most other houses.

...I'd hate having my books sitting on my couch though, because I want to daydream and nap there. Also, you can't see the spines (I have to see their spines. It's like obsessive compulsive disorder).
www.eudorawelty.org/
http://mdah.state.ms.us/welty/house1.html

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wishful Wednesdays


This meme is hosted by mizb17 at Should Be Reading.

What great books have you been wishing for lately?

Yay! I got a nice hardcover copy of M is for Malice by Sue Grafton at the library used book bin (for $1!). I love library sales. Anyway, now, I only need A, C, D, F, G, H and I in the series. Usually, I get new books from the library. If I like them, I want them and I put them on my wishlist. In this way, I have amassed a wish list that never stops growing. It consumes every birthday and holiday (there's never room to ask for clothes, for example) and so I keep rushing off to the used book store, dressed in rags, whistling happily down the path to bankruptcy.

It's a good life.

Currently, I am reading Faithless by Joyce Carol Oates (I just realized that I have no Joyce Carol Oates books. How can that be? I love me some Oates...) and Out of the Flames by Laurence and Nancy Goldstone which is about a heretic and how they burned his book...and him, too, incidentally. I think I will want this book, even though I have only jut started it.

Here is the master list of my wishes:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K Rowling
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K Rowling
When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach
The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner
The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene
The Fabric of Cosmos by Brian Greene
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift (Easton Press Edition)

(...with the addition of Jazz by Toni Morrison and The Oxford Book of American Poetry, which I have been wishing for. I forgotted about them last time.)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Banned, Censored, Challenged: Looking For Alaska

Looking for Alaska by John Green is a 2005 Young Adult novel about a 16 year old named Miles Halter who goes through a series of new experiences at a Culver Creek boarding school in Alabama (fictional). The author went to a similar boarding school in his teen years and the story is based on his experiences there, including the deaths of two students in a car crash.

The novel contains one oral sex scene and a scene where two of the teens come across a pornographic movie- they watch it and one character, Alaska criticizes it for objectifying women, not being romantic, etc and turns it off. The novel also depicts a lot of teen smoking and drinking.

In Depew High School, near Buffalo, New York, two teachers chose to use the book for instruction in an 11th grade class. They let parents know that it contained controversial content by sending home a letter, letting parents know that a substitute book was available if they wanted. A few students did choose the substitute. The book was challenged anyway by parents who said it was "pornographic" and "disgusting". It was retained.

I just finished Looking for Alaska, literally minutes ago. As far as how I liked it, it was okay- it certainly had powerful writing and fascinating characters. It was not "pornographic"- this was not intended to shock or titillate but simply to explore the topic of teen sexuality. It was a remarkably intelligent book and managed to rise above the condescension that teen novels usually have. I was off my literary diet with this one, yet I couldn't help but appreciate the depth of this novel. Particularly the way it explores life & death.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

TBR Thursdays

Hello all! It's another meme! This one is hosted by Drea at Book Blather.

What's in my TBR?
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama (still haven't read this...least not the whole thing)
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
Einstein by Walter Isaacson
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
The Patriot Chiefs by Alvin M. Josephy
The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell
The Family by Jeff Sharlet
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Coraline by Neil Gaiman (my sister checked this out from the library for us both to read and when we got it home, the first 8 pages were missing! I was ever so peeved...)

I will keep adding books until I pass out from reading exhaustion. It's the TBR that never ends.

Also, I want to do something a little different and do some TBR blogs:

See this guest post by Ali of Worducopia on Lost in Books (hosted by Rebecca, who is off adventuring). The post is called Why Do We Read Books? and I really enjoyed reading it.

I also found this blog which hasn't been updated in a while. Still, it is all about something I love with a deep (some would say unhealthy?) passion: book porn (steamy pictures of hot libraries)

Your Shelves!

Wishful Wednesdays Meme

Ugh, this post is dreadfully late...but, better late than never. I would like to try doing a weekly meme- shake things up. This one's hosted by mizb17 at Should Be Reading.

What great books have you been wishing for lately?

I have been sinfully coveting an Easton Press edition of Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. I tried to get a copy on eBay but I was outbid. I got a version of the 3 Musketeers instead, but I still want Gulliver.

Also, I want the last four Harry Potter books, When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris, Bonk, Stiff and Spook - all by Mary Roach (I love her books!) and The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner.
Also, after years of checking them out from the library off and on, I still don't have Brian Green's The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos. Maybe if I own them, I will understand them better.

I also need the following letters in the Sue Grafton alphabet mystery series: A, C, D, F, G, H, I and M.

Alright. Got that, Santa?
Better have the reindeer lifting weights.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Banned, Censored, Challenged: Little House on the Prairie

I loved The Little House Series when I was nine, ten and eleven. Little House on the Prairie was not my favorite, however. I liked Farmer Boy best, even though it wasn't even about Laura & her family, but her husband, Almanzo Wilder. I also loved The Long Winter- it seemed so cozy and perfect- a long winter snowed in with comfy soups to eat. (Of course, if my family had been snowed in for 7 months, we probably would have killed and eaten each other.)

Little House on the Prairie has been a beloved classic since 1935. It was not until the 1990s that the book became the target of book banners. In 1993, parents in Thibodaux, Louisiana demanded the removal of the book from school libraries because it was offensive to Indians.

The novel was also banned from classrooms in Sturgis, North Dakota for the same reasons. I clearly remember reading those parts about the Indians as a child and thinking "That's the way people were back then." I understood- just as my white, Asian & Hispanic classmates did. We were children, but we were reasonably smart children .

Monday, October 5, 2009

Banned, Censored, Challenged: Go Ask Alice

This book was released in 1971. It was presented as nonfiction but is at least partially fictionalized. The author is actually a psychiatrist named Beatrice Sparks who worked with troubled teens in the 70s. She claimed to be only the editor of the book and said the book was the edited diary of one of her patients.

The book is still one of the most banned and challenged in America. It has been removed from school libraries in Kalamazoo, Michigan (1974); Saginaw, Michigan (1975); Eagle Pass, Texas (1977) and Trenton, New Jersey (1977). It was one of 11 books banned in Island Trees Free School District No.26 in New York in 1982. The novels were returned to the library after a US Supreme Court ruling that said the ban violated students' free speech. At the Central (Gwinnett) High School in Georgia (1986) a parent complained that the book "encourages students to steal and take drugs."

Go Ask Alice
does not encourage students to steal and take drugs.The book shows teenagers what can happen if you use drugs. Alice ends up on drugs and becomes a dirty, homeless, ragged teenager. She ends up on the streets, dirty. She sleeps with strangers. While high, she puts herself in dangerous situations that lead to her being assaulted and taken advantage of. This is what drugs can do to you.

How else should drug use be depicted? How do you write a book about drug abuse without drug abuse in it? Should books about drugs be clean and polite, even though drug addiction leads to a dark, vulgar and profane place?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Banned, Censored, Challenged: The Decameron

Giovanni Boccaccio wrote this in the 1350s. It is a series of 100 novellas, each presented as a story. A group of 10 young, beautiful people leave the city of Florence to escape the plague. They pass the time telling stories.

The work is said to have influenced Chaucer and was influenced by The Book of Good Love , the 1330 work by Juan Ruiz. The title of the Decameron comes from the Greek words "deca" (10) and day (hemera).

Some of the stories are pious, some are racy. The story takes you into a world that is at once familiar with its worries and dramas but also foreign in the way that historical settings often are.

For me, reading the book as an adolescent, the book was really eye-opening. I literally believed that no one talked about sex until 1990, when the world slid downhill because of Madonna...or something like that...

But it wasn't exactly an open society that Boccaccio released his masterpiece into. The book was burned and banned in Italy in 1497 & 1553. Later still, it would be seized by Detroit , Mich. police (1934), and thanks to the Comstock act, which is no longer enforced, banned from the US postal system.

You can read it online, here, but it's kind of long so you might want to pick up your copy

BTW:did you check out my guest post on Lost in Books. Rebecca is in India, attending her sister's wedding and having a fabulous time, I hope.

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