Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Jun 24, 2018

At the Library

By Mimi Ritti Jacoby | Sep 25, 2017

Attempts to control and silence the written word have existed as long as published literature itself.

The American Library Association’s yearly “BANNED BOOK WEEK” shines a light on how censorship continues to affect authors and readers today. The roots of book banning stretch deep into the past.

Qin Shi Huang (221-210 B.C.) a powerful ruler who consolidated China’s empire and standardized its language, bureaucracy and calendars, left an indelible mark on the history of his people. It is rumored that he had many Confucian texts destroyed, fearing they would be used to undermine support for his rule. Some historians now question this and believe the writings were lost when a fire destroyed most of the Imperial Library during the fall of the Qin capital. The truth will always remain a mystery.

The Florence book burnings of the fanatical priest Savonarola were so notorious, they made “bonfire of the vanities” a common cultural reference. Tom Wolfe wrote a book with that title. In addition to “immoral” books, the bonfire was meant to destroy luxuries that lead to sin — fancy clothes, art, cosmetics.

The Catholic Church’s power rivaled that of any empire in 1559, when it created a list of banned books “Index Librorum Prohibitorum.” New editions continued to be published up until 1948. It was not until 1968 that it was taken out of circulation. That consists of over four centuries of Roman Catholic regulation of reading material. Influential and brilliant works by Immanuel Kant, Simone de Beauvoir, John Milton and C.S. Lewis were on that banned list.

William Pynchon’s “The Meritorious Price of Our Redemption” was the first book to be banned in the New England colonies. His critique of Puritanism so outraged his fellow colonists that Pynchon was forced to return to England.

Dr. Thomas Bowdler popularized a new term in the vocabulary of book censorship,”bowdlerize.” His 1807 edition of 24 collected Shakespeare plays remains infamous for attempting to make the bard’s dramas tame enough for polite society by editing out the obscene and vulgar sections. The series was entitled “The Family Shakespeare.”

Libraries have always been strong defenders of “FREEDOM OF SPEECH” and “FREEDOM TO READ.” Parents are free to guide their children’s choices. However, censorship should not belong to the government (federal or state) the church, the school, or the library.

Books are judged by the content within their pages, the most common citations being: 1) Racial Issues, 2)Irregular lifestyles, 3) Blasphemous Language, 4) Sexual Situations or Dialogue, 5)Violence, 6) Witchcraft, 7)Religious Affiliation, 8)Political Bias, 9) Age Appropriate.

Sometimes misjudgments or misunderstandings arise concerning a book. This is why censored or banned books are listed and reviewed yearly. This encourages readers to form a fresh outlook and develop a more current opinion.

At the library our second-floor glass display bookcase holds a variety of books that were once banned in past years. All of these are available for checkout. Also, for take-home material, you will also find some interesting booklists of titles that were once banned and why.

Washington Public Library will be closed Tuesday, Sept. 26. All the Staff will be busy with in-service training, so that we may better serve you and meet your needs

On Wednesday, Sept. 27 we have EARLY OUT! “MOVIE MADNESS!” from 1:30-3 p.m.

On Saturday, Sept. 30, the “Science Saturday Adult Book Club” will meet at 10 a.m.

Revel in a week of “Forbidden Books.” Revel in the” Freedom of Choice” we enjoy in the United States of America.

These are the new materials available at the library this week.

Adult Fiction

Trap the Devil by Ben Coes

The Cuban Affair by Nelson DeMille

Wicked Deeds by Heather Graham

To Be Where You Are by Jan Karon

Haunted by James Patterson

An Echo of Murder by Anne Perry

A Time to Stand by Robert Whitlow

Large Print Fiction

Exposed by Lisa Scottoline

Haunted by James Patterson

Adult Nonfiction

Braving It by James Campbell

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado

Superfood Snacks by Julie Morris

Easy Children’s

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt

Goodnight World by Debi Gliori

Billy Bloo is Stuck in Goo by Jennifer Hamburg

Groovy Joe by Eric Litwin

I Hug by David McPhail

Love the World by Todd Parr

Say Zoop! by Henre Tullet

Audio CDs

Paradise Valley by C.J. Box

Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber

Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery

The Lauras by Sara Taylor

Barely Legal by Stuart Woods


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