Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark

Banned Books Week, a celebration of the freedom to read, ends September 28th. The theme this year is “Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark.”  Organized in 1982, Banned Books Week is an annual event that highlights censorship and fights for our freedom of expression. Learn more here. The First to Ban Books People who ban books have been around for a very long time. The Chinese emperor Shih Huang Ti (259-210 BCE) assumed the throne when he was twelve or thirteen. He became the founder of the Qin dynasty and was the first emperor of a unified China. Tired of criticism from the scholars of the day, he ordered that “all the official histories, with the exception of the Memoirs of Qin, be all burnt” in 213 BCE. He changed the law, suppressed freedom of speech, banned books, and put to death anyone who defied the law. While it’s said he killed many philosophers, banning the books wasn’t as effective as he’d hoped. Like banned books today, banning those books gave them a certain reverence.  Who is Qualified to Ban Books No one is qualified to ban books. We all have belief systems, prejudices, and life experiences that influence what we like […]

Are You a Bad-Ass Reader?

Are you a Bad-Ass Reader? You are if you can answer the thirty trivia questions below correctly. I had fun putting this list together. Enjoy! You’re on your honor—get a pen and paper and answer to the best of your knowledge. Scroll down the page to find the answers. Don’t cheat and look the answer up.   Questions In J.M. Barrie’s novel, where did the Lost Boys live?  Which famous novel featured Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy March?  Who wrote the poem “Paradise Lost?” Name this stringless fictional character created by Carlo Collodi over one hundred years ago. Who wrote the “Harry Potter” series? Name the French novelist and poet, born in 1802, who was exiled to Jersey and who wrote about a hunchback.  Who is Winnie the Pooh’s gloomy donkey friend? What Shakespeare play features a brooding Danish prince and his girlfriend Ophelia? Who wrote The Scarlet Letter? What was the name of the land where Gulliver met the Little People? Who wrote “The Pit and the Pendulum”? In Shakespeare’s “Othello”, who is the female lead? Who pricked her finger on a spinning wheel and slept for 100 years? Name the historical prince whose name was used by Bram […]

A Musical and Literary Tribute for D-Day

Yesterday was the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the day that changed history. The Allies sent soldiers in a massive assault against the Germans. Thousands went into battle. Thousands died, thousands were injured. We honor this day and remember those who fought and those who died. There is little new to be said, but we mustn’t forget the men and women who sacrificed to stop the fascists. This musical and literary tribute for D-Day is a small attempt to honor those whose lives were forever changed because of World War II. “I’ll Be Seeing You” Billie Holiday, 1938 Billie Holliday sang this soulful song in 1938. In the lyrics she tells her love she will see him everywhere she looks (even though he’s gone away). It became the farewell anthem for soldiers and has been sung by many others. The Diary of a Young Girl Anne Frank © 1947 German-born and Jewish, Anne Frank got a diary for her thirteenth birthday. A short while later, she and her family went into hiding. Her diary shares details of her daily life, her wishes, and her desires until the Nazis captured her and her family. She died in a concentration camp at the […]