Today’s Zits, very sweet:
Archive for the ‘Books’ Category
From Norma Mendoza-Denton, this Washington Post story of 12/31/13, “The trial balloon: O teachers, after a banner year for graphic novels, don’t ban these books”, by Michael Cavna.
A list of excellent graphic novels of 2013, set off by an anecdote about a grade-schooler who was reading a memoir when a teacher asked accusingly what it was. Then:
“It’s a graphic novel,” came the girl’s reply. Such works, the girl was told, were unacceptable for classroom “reading time,” let alone for a book report. The teacher’s sharp ruling boiled down to a four-word excuse for banishment: “Graphic. Novels. Aren’t. Books.”
Ann Burlingham recently posted this nice photo of her bookstore:
That’s Burlingham Books in the small town of Perry NY (2 South Main St. 14530), not far from Rochester, within striking distance of Buffalo.
Chris Ambidge announced on Facebook that today is the anniversary of A. A. Milne’s publishing Winnie the Pooh (which came out on 10/13/26, 87 years ago today). A Bizarro cartoon for the occasion:
The reference is of course to Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Tell-Tale Heart”.
And then there’s the pun in the title.
Much of the news recently has been dire, but in the midst of all this came the Nobel Prize announcements, many to people associated with Stanford (two laureates currently on the Stanford faculty: Thomas Südhof in Physiology or Medicine and Michael Levitt in Chemistry). And then there’s the wonderful news that Alice Munro is the laureate in Literature.
On NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday today, a piece by Susan Stamberg on Erica Jong’s novel Fear of Flying, published 40 years ago, including an interview with Jong. The novel is famous for having introduced the expression zipless fuck; the fantasy of the zipless fuck plays a central role in the book. That presented a challenge to Stamberg and Jong, since they couldn’t say fuck on public radio.
From Gregory Ward, a link to a piece by Jesse Bering in aeon magazine on perversions, “Atheists and homosexuals were called perverts once. Why do we still see perversion where no harm is done?” (excerpts from his new book, Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us). The background:
In 1656, the British lexicographer Thomas Blount included the following entry for the verb ‘pervert’ in his Glossographia (a book also known by the more cumbersome title A Dictionary Interpreting the Hard Words of Whatsoever Language Now Used in Our Refined English Tongue): ‘to turn upside down, to debauch, or seduce’. … In Blount’s time, and for several hundred years after he was dead and buried, a pervert was simply a headstrong apostate who had turned his or her back on the draconian morality of the medieval Church, thereby ‘seducing’ others into a godless lifestyle.
Today begins Banned Book Week. From today’s Washington Times: “Banned Book Week opens with ‘Captain Underpants’ under fire” by Cheryl K. Chumley:
Banned Book Week has arrived — and librarians around the nation are asking readers to consult the list and make a selection.
It’s a quiet protest that the American Library Association has waged since 1982, an annual event to draw attention to the more than 11,300 books that have been challenged or outright banned and highlight First Amendment freedoms and oft-ridiculous literary criticisms.
And heading the list of most-challenged on the 2012 top 10 list: “Captain Underpants,” by Dav Pilkey — the entire series. Why? The language and content is seen by many as unsuitable for the targeted age group, the younger than 12 crowd.
Also on the 2012 list of top 10 banned or challenged books: “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie, for offensive language, sexually explicit scenes and racism, The Washington Post reported; “Thirteen Reasons Why,” by Jay Asher, for content that includes drugs, sex, alcohol and suicide; and “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E.L. James, for offensive language and sexually explicit content.
From Sim Aberson, a link to an NPR story about Tom Perrotta’s latest book, Nine Inches. From the story:
Nine inches is the minimum distance required between middle school students during slow dances in the title story of Tom Perrotta’s first book of short stories in 19 years.
The book’s cover is intended to illustrate this story:
But, as Sim notes, the cover “is a little more suggestive of something else.”