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Viewing Blog: Fahrenheit 451: Banned Books, Most Recent at Top
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A discussion on censorship through the Pelham Public Library, Fonthill, Ontario. Between February and June 2007, take the "Banned Book Challenge." A comprehensive list of "banned book" sites and resources for the novel "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury can be found on the sidebar.
Statistics for Fahrenheit 451: Banned Books

Number of Readers that added this blog to their MyJacketFlap: 15
1. RIP Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury, Science Fiction master and author of Fahrenheit 451, died Tuesday night at the age of 91.

The world has lost a prophetic voice. RIP

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2. Freedom to Read Week

Freedom to Read Week 2012

According to the Freedom to Read website: Freedom to Read Week is an annual event that encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Freedom to Read Week is organized by the Freedom of Expression Committee of the Book and Periodical Council.

Freedom to Read Week is February 26 - March 3, 2012.

Each year a Canadian author is awarded the Writers' Union of Canada's 2012 Freedom to Read Award. This year's recipient is Lawrence Hill who was honoured because of "his reasoned and eloquent response to the threat to burn his novel The Book of Negroes," according to Greg Hollingshead, chair of the Writers Union.

The full story was covered in a past entry about Lawrence Hill. A Dutch group called Foundation Honor and Restore Victims of Slavery in Suriname had planned to burn Hill's book to protest the use of the word "negro" in the title. Ironically, the Book of Negroes' title comes from an actual historical document which recorded the names of 3,000 African slaves who were moved from New York to Nova Scotia, then to Africa.

It is not the first time the title has stirred controversy. The Book of Negroes was called Someone Knows My Name in the US and Australia, while in Quebec, it was given the name of the main character and titled Aminata.

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3. Information Black Out

Posted without Comment from Wikipedia:

Why is Wikipedia blacked-out?
Wikipedia is protesting against SOPA and PIPA by blacking out the English Wikipedia for 24 hours, beginning at midnight January 18, Eastern Time. Readers who come to English Wikipedia during the blackout will not be able to read the encyclopedia. Instead, you will see messages intended to raise awareness about SOPA and PIPA, encouraging you to share your views with your representatives, and with each other on social media.

What are SOPA and PIPA?
SOPA and PIPA represent two bills in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate respectively. SOPA is short for the "Stop Online Piracy Act," and PIPA is an acronym for the "Protect IP Act." ("IP" stands for "intellectual property.") In short, these bills are efforts to stop copyright infringement committed by foreign web sites, but, in our opinion, they do so in a way that actually infringes free expression while harming the Internet. Detailed information about these bills can be found in the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act articles on Wikipedia, which are available during the blackout. GovTrack lets you follow both bills through the legislative process: SOPA on this page, and PIPA on this one. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for the public interest in the digital realm, has summarized why these bills are simply unacceptable in a world that values an open, secure, and free Internet.

Why is the blackout happening?
Wikipedians have chosen to black out the English Wikipedia for the first time ever, because we are concerned that SOPA and PIPA will severely inhibit people's access to online information. This is not a problem that will solely affect people in the United States: it will affect everyone around the world.

Why? SOPA and PIPA are badly drafted legislation that won't be effective at their stated goal (to stop copyright infringement), and will cause serious damage to the free and open Internet. They put the burden on website owners to police user-contributed material and call for the unnecessary blocking of entire sites. Small sites won't have sufficient resources to defend themselves. Big media companies may seek to cut off funding sources for their foreign competitors, even if copyright isn't being infringed. Foreign sites will be blacklisted, which means they won't show up in major search engines. And, SOPA and PIPA build a framework for future restrictions and suppression.

Does this mean that Wikipedia itself is violating copyright laws, or hosting pirated content?
No, not at all. Some supporters of SOPA and PIPA characterize everyone who opposes them as cavalier about copyright, but that is not accurate. Wikipedians are knowledgeable about copyright and vigilant in protecting against violations: Wikipedians spend thousands of hours every week reviewing and removing infringing content. We are careful about it because our mission is to share knowledge freely. To that end, all Wikipedians release their contributions under a free license, and all the material we offer is freely licensed. Free licenses are incompatible with copyright infringement, and so infringement is not tolerated.

Isn't SOPA dead? Wasn't the bill shelved, and didn't the White House declare that it won't sign anything that resembles the current bill?

No, neither SOPA nor PIPA is dead. On January 17th, SOPA's sponsor said the bill will be discussed in early February. There are signs PIPA may be deb

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Thanks to Amy, my counterpart at Fort Erie Public Library, who forwarded a link for The First Banned Books Video Calendar. Says Amy, "For years and years Finland had the highest literacy rate in the world, largely due to the fact that 99+ % of Finns were Lutherans, and the Lutherans made sure all children could read, so they could read Luther's catechism."

The Entresse Library in Espoo, Finland and FAIFE (IFLA Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression) have partnered to create this resource.

Following the tradition of the Advent calendar, each day between December 1st and December 24th a new window will open and a new book will be presented on several sites throughout the world.

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5. Banned Book Reinstated After 80 Years

In a move to protect the author Charles Dickens from scandal, author Carl Roberts' "This Side Idolatry" was removed from the public library in Portsmouth, the birthplace of Dickens. Dickens was born in Portsmouth in 1812. The book was a novel but painted Dickens in a bad light, describing Dickens as a hypocrite, philanderer, selfish, an egoist, vulgar, morose, and avaricious, caricaturing his friends in his books behind their backs. So, in 1928, Portsmouth Central Library banned the book out of sensitivity to the legacy of its famous author.

Of the reinstatement, Dom Kippin, literature officer believes that Dickens would agree that it is time to put the novel back on the shelf.

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6. Banned Book Week

Banned Books Week in the United States begins tomorrow and runs until October 1. For more information visit the Banned Books Week website.

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7. Banned Book Challenge 2011

Thank you for your participation in the Banned Book Challenge for 2011.  41 people registered with a goal of 443 books. While this specific challenge is over, feel free to read banned and challenged books. Find lists on the sidebar or through our LibraryThing account.

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8. The Book of Negroes to be Burned on June 22?

The CBC reports that unless the name of Lawrence Hill's award-winning The Book of Negroes is changed, a Dutch group called Foundation Honor and Restore Victims of Slavery in Suriname is planning on burning the book to protest the use of the word "negro" in the title.

Author Lawrence Hill, winner of the Commonwealth Award and many other awards for The Book of Negroes, received a letter from Roy Groenberg on behalf of the group who are descendents of the former Dutch colony Suriname.  According to Groenberg, "We struggle for a long time to let the word 'nigger' disappear from Dutch language and now you set up your Book of Negroes! A real shame!"
Hill has responded by explaining that he based his title on an actual historical document that was used to record names of over 3000 slaves who were British Loyalists during the American Revolution who were evacuated by the British and sent to Nova Scotia.  Ship lists, physical descriptions of the slaves and where they were bound were included.  Hill's intention was to bring this little known piece of history to light. Explains Hill, "I have found that when given the opportunity to see what I am doing in this book and with this title, readers understand that the title is not intended to be offensive, but that it is used historically, to shed light on a forgotten document and on a forgotten migration."

This is not the first time there has been controversy over the title of  The Book of Negroes.  The US publisher opted for Someone Knows My Name, as did the Australian publisher. In Quebec the book is titled  0 Comments on The Book of Negroes to be Burned on June 22? as of 1/1/1900
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Cartoon: Montreal Gazette

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is a Canadian organization founded in 1981 that works to defend and protect the right to free expression in Canada and around the world.

Topics include:
  • CJFE’s Report Card: Like Sheep to the Slaughter
  • About CJFE
  • Still Looking for Answers: Hearings and Inquiries into the G20 Summit
  • A Welcome to WikiLeaks
  • Whatcott v. Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission
  • Iceland: Free Speech Zone
  • CJFE’s Freedom of Expression Index
  • CJFE: 30 Years of Fighting for Free Expression
  • Canadian Journalists Abroad
  • Cross-Canada Free Expression Reports
  • Freedom of Expression on Trial: 2010-11
  • How Access to Information Fails Journalists
  • Appendix: Major Court Decisions 2010-11
  • Whistleblower Protection Still in Its Infancy in Canada
NOW magazine sponsored a discussion about the state of access to information in Canada which was presented by  CJFE.  Anna Maria Tremonti, of CBC's The Current, hosted.  Panellists included Ottawa Deputy Bureau Chief Dean Beeby of the Canadian Press, former Information Commissioner John Reid and Paula Todd, investigative journalist with CTV's W5.  Excerpts from the event are available on video.

To achieve universal respect for and protection of the right to free expression and access to information.

CJFE boldly champions the free expression rights of journalists and media workers around the world. In Canada, we monitor, defend and promote free expression and access to information. We encourage and support individuals and groups to be vigilant in the protection of their own and others' free expression rights. We are active participants and builders of the global free expression community.

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10. Banned Books Awareness Resource

A new resource for information on banned and challenged books has come to my attention.  What began as a project for R. Wolf Baldassarro to post about one book each week in 2011 has turned into a great resource for everyone who is interested.  His posts have now become part of world.edu. Check out his entries to date to find out more information about when and why a book has been challenged.

Titles include:

The New American Bible


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11. Top Ten Challenged Books for 2010 (US)

The Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association (ALA) has released the Top Ten Challenged Books for 2010
1. "And Tango Makes Three" by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: Homosexuality, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

2. "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Offensive language, Racism, Sex Education, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group, Violence

3. "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley
Reasons: Insensitivity, Offensive Language, Racism, Sexually Explicit

4. "Crank" by Ellen Hopkins
Reasons: Drugs, Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit

5. "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins
 Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group, Violence

6. "Lush" by Natasha Friend
Reasons: Drugs, Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group

7. "What My Mother Doesn’t Know" by Sonya Sones
Reasons: Sexism, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group

8. "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America" by Barbara Ehrenreich
Reasons: Drugs, Inaccurate, Offensive Language, Political Viewpoint, Religious Viewpoint

9. "Revolutionary Voices" edited by Amy Sonnie
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit

10. "Twilight" by  Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: Religious Viewpoint, Violence

Read one or more of these for our "Banned Book Challenge" or find more lists on the sidebar.  The challenge runs until June 30.

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12. Toronto Public Library's Book Challenges for 2010

A recent article, "Shelf Life: How the Toronto Public Library Deals with Complaints," was published in the National Post.

Last year, seven items in Toronto Public Library's collection were challenged. This year, the number was almost the same at just nine items. The good news is that no classics were challenged this year. Perhaps the most interesting challenge was to a self-published book on being a Chartered Financial Analyst. It ended up being the only item removed from the collection due to “numerous grammatical and typographical mistakes.”

Other challenges were to:
  • Swans in the Mist, young adult fiction which the patron said contained “sadistic scenes” and “might give teens violent ideas.” -retained 
  • The Waiting Dog, a picture book aimed at seven-year-olds, a story of a dog who dreams about eating a mailman, challenged because of its “obscene content and language.” -retained 
  • Tintin in the Congo because of its racist and colonial views. -retained but reclassified to the adult graphic novels 
  • War Stories Volume 1, a collection of four fictional Second World War illustrated stories. -retained
  • The New Adventures of Jesus Christ: The Second Coming, a compilation of Frank Stack’s ’60s and ’70s critique of American culture. -retained 
  • Bruno, the movie. -retained 
  • a Vanity Fair magazine article 

Take the Banned Book Challenge. Set your own goal to read any number of banned or challenged books between February 20, 2011 and June 30, 2011. Then, send us reviews, opinions, etc.

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13. Challenged and Banned Book List

If you are registering for the "Banned Book Challenge" and are looking for suggestions to read, there is a wonderful resource of Books Challenged or Banned in 2009–2010 for the United States.  This is an annual publication by Robert P. Doyle.  Books that have been challenged, banned or otherwise restricted between May 2009 and May 2010 can be found in this list, along with information about the where and when the challenge occurred and the result.  The challenges are ones that have been reported through the Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom. 

This bibliography is part of a series which are available from 2003 to the present.

Take the Banned Book Challenge.  Set your own goal to read any number of banned or challenged books between February 20, 2011 and June 30, 2011.  Then, send us reviews, opinions, etc.

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    14. Freedom to Read Week

    Next week is "Freedom to Read Week" in Canada.

    Below is the press release prepared by the Book and Periodical Council.

    Free Expression in Canada
    Should a few decide for the rest of us? It’s about choice!
    Freedom to Read Week 2011

    Toronto, Feb. 16/11 — Canadians assume they have the right to express opinions and choose freely what they read, watch and hear. But consider the following:

    The Canadian Library Association has seen an alarming rise in reported “challenges” to reading material in libraries each year since 2006.

    The books in the Southern Vampire Mystery series, written by Charlaine Harris, received the most challenges in Canadian libraries in 2009.

    The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council decided to have “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits pulled from Canadian airwaves because of just one complaint.

    Freedom to Read Week: an opportunity to defend our freedoms and protect our choices.

    Recent achievements are cause for celebration:
    In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized the defence of “public interest responsible communication” (PIRC) which grants writers, broadcasters, publishers and bloggers a new legal defence against libel suits.

    The Supreme Court of Canada has unanimously ruled that journalists may protect whistleblowers from public scrutiny as long as journalists can show that maintaining confidentiality is in the public interest.
    Individuals and organizations across Canada have won intellectual freedom awards for their dedication to free expression such as Alan Borovoy, the Citizen Lab, Lawrence Hill and the Calgary Public Library.

    This month, dozens of free public events, panel discussions, readings and displays will take place across Canada in support of Freedom to Read Week 2011 (February 20 to 26). These events are designed to provide Canadians with the opportunity to learn more about freedom of expression and its challenges in Canada and offer people a forum to share their views about censorship and the right to free speech and opinion.

    “We need to be vigilant if we are to keep books, magazines and newspapers free to express opinions and present stories without fear of reprisals, whether we agree with the point of view or not,” said Marg Anne Morrison, Chair of the Freedom of Expression Committee. “Our libraries, in particular, need the freedom to provide a wide variety of reading materials that address the controversial topics facing our modern world.”

    Freedom to Read Week is organized by the Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom of Expression Committee, a group committed to promoting intellectual freedom in Canada. Since 1978, the Freedom of Expression Committee has worked with educators, librarians and the community at large to provide information that addresses censorship and book and magazine challenges in Canada.

    To learn more about Freedom to Read Week and get details on all events, please visit www.freedomtoread.ca.

    For more information, contact
    the Book and Periodical Council at
    416-975-9366 or [email protected].

    Celebrate your Freedom to Read by setting a goal for the "Banned Book Challenge."  Choose from the 2009 
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    15. Elton John Photo Censored

    Digital Journal's blog reports on the censorship of a photo of Elton John.  A recent issue of US Weekly has a photo of Elton John, his spouse David Furnish, and their new baby Zachary.  Harps, a grocery chain with stores in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri, censored the photo but covering it with what appears to be a plastic cover labeled "Family Shield To protect young Harps shoppers."  One might ask from what the young shoppers need to be protected.  
    Remember to register for the "Banned Book Challenge."  Set your goal to read banned or challenged books between Feb. and June.  Details: 

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    16. Library Threatened over Screening of "Sicko"

    The Journal-Enquirer, North Central Connecticut's newspaper reported last week that The Enfield Public Library was faced with a hard decision.  

    The planned screening of Michael Moore's controversial documentary "Sicko," which is very critical of the US health system came under fire from Enfield's mayor and a number of town council members, following a complaint from a resident.  The library had begun a new nonfiction film series and Moore's 2007 documentary which had been nominated for an Academy Award was considered a poor choice by resident Kevin Fealy who pressured the library to cancel the showing.  Fealy's concern was that he didn't want the town "�to promote material such as this on my tax dollars.”

    Library Director, Henry Dutcher, was asked to cancel the film by the town manager, his supervisor.  Funding to the library was threatened by Mayor Scott R. Kaupin who is quoted as saying, "...if they don’t reconsider, then they’re going to have the repercussions of the council....I mean, in the end, when budget time comes and Mr. Dutcher is asking for funding he’s going to have to answer for it.”  It is Kaupin's opinion that the library should steer clear of "controversial" material and "Do nice stuff.  Do uncontroversial...."

    The only council member to speak against the decision was Councillor Cynthia Mangini, calling it censorship.  

    The Connecticut Library Association is deciding upon its response which could include suing the town.

    It is time once more for the Banned Book Challenge.  Celebrate Canadians' freedom to read by reading a banned or challenged book.  Sign up now. 

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    17. Banned Book Challenge 2011

    It is time once more for the Banned Book Challenge.  Celebrate Canadians' freedom to read by reading a banned or challenged book.  Sign up on the form below to be included in our statistics.

    Not sure what to read?  Check out suggestions for 2011.


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    18. Is Mark Twain Rolling Over in His Grave?

    Political Cartoon by Nate Beeler, Washington Examiner

    There are no less than 454 news stories for today alone on the intended release of Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in a new edition in which the words “nigger,” "Injun," and "half-breed" are replaced with the more politically correct "slave," "Indian," and "half-blood."  NewSouth Books, an Alabama Publisher, has drawn criticism from many fronts and has opened up debate that is ongoing and passionate.

    Is this rewriting history, taking a revisionist approach, or is it making a great piece of American literature accessible to students who would otherwise not be able to study this book because schools are reluctant to use it?

    The Rhode Show (Fox Providence) has done an excellent job of outlining what the buzz is all about.

    One thing that all sides seem to agree on is that the word "nigger" makes us uncomfortable.  Some scholars defend Twain's language, believing that his readers should feel uncomfortable since it shines a light on the historic treatment of blacks.  People differ on whether the word should be used if it is within its historical context or whether it should be removed to soothe modern sensibilities.  Professor Alan Gribben, a Twain scholar and editor of the NewSouth edition believes he is helping schools to be able to get this classic book back into the curriculum.   According to Publishers WeeklyTwain himself defined a classic as "a book which people praise and don't read."  Gribben believes that the offensive "n-word" is causing a generation of school children to be deprived of this important American book and that the sanitized edition would make it easier for parents and teachers to accept.

    However Twain was angry even when changes in punctuation were made by an editor.  Below is the forward from the original Huckleberry Finn. 

    IN this book a number of dialects are used, to wit: the Missouri negro dialect; the extremest form of the backwoods Southwestern dialect; the ordinary ‘Pike County’ dialect; and four modified varieties of this last. The shadings have not been done in a hap- hazard fashion, or by guesswork; but painstakingly, and with the trustworthy guidance and support of personal familiarity with these several forms of speech. I make this explanation for the reason that without it many

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    19. Facebook Creator Eyes China?

    FT Tech Hub reports on the visit Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, made to China. Zuckerberg, who founded the social networking site along with fellow students while at Harvard University, was named Time Magazine's "Person of the Year" for 2010. He is known for working long hours and FT Tech Hub speculates that Zuckerberg was more than just holidaying in China, where Facebook has been banned.

    He was seen rubbing shoulders with the chief executive of Robin Li, Baidu's CEO and one of China's wealthiest men. Baidu is the Google of China, being their largest search engine. At the Cannes Lion advertising festival last summer, Zuckerberg stated that China was a key target for Facebook's growth. The article speculates that creating a local partnership could be the first step in having China allow Facebook to be established.

    What will be interesting is to see if Facebook can be any more successful at avoiding government-sponsored censorship on its site and breaking through the "great firewall of China."

    Map created by Facebook intern Paul Butler using data on its members. It provides a visual of where people live relative to their Facebook friends and where there are obvious gaps. The most obvious gap is China, where Facebook is banned.

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    20. Homeland Security and Willful Copyright Infringement

    Since when is copyright infringement a homeland security issue? Just asking....

    According to a number of members of the web4lib listserv, a number of sites have been taken down by the US government, in part, for copyright infringement. Mashable has more information on the taking down of Torrent-Finder.com.

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    21. OLA 2009 List

    The Canadian Library Association (CLA) has released a list of the most challenged books for 2009 in their Report of the Annual Survey of the Advisory Committee on Intellectual Freedom.

    Charlaine Harris tops the list for "The Southern Vampire Mysteries." This series was challenged four separate times within the same library system.

    Two challenges to three titles were reported for 2009. They include a film, “Fired Up!”, a teen comedy directed by Will Gluck; Mummy Laid an Egg! by Babette Cole, a juvenile picture book; and NOW Magazine.

    And Tango Makes Three has been challenged each year since the survey was begun in 2006.

    The 2009 survey indicates that 139 challenges were reported, with two-thirds of the challenges occurring in public libraries. School libraries accounted for 34% and academic libraries the remaining 2%. Teaching assistants were responsible for one-third of all challenges, patrons for 30%, parents and guardians for 20%, and library staff for 15%. Library materials were retained in 41% of the 2009 challenges, relocated or reclassified in 32% of cases, and removed in 25%.

    The full list of challenges follows:

    List of Challenges to Resources and Policies
    Reported by Publicly-Funded Canadian Libraries, 2009

    Challenges are listed alphabetically by number of challenges per item. (Note that unverified bibliographic data are recorded here as originally supplied by library officials who contributed to the 2009 Survey.)

    Series – 4 challenges each:
    The Southern Vampire Mysteries (series of 10 books), by Charlaine Harris

    Series – 1 challenge each:
    Gossip Girl (series of 15 books), by Cecily von Ziegesar
    Negima! (series of 29 books), by Ken Akamatsu
    Speak Spanish with Dora and Diego (series of 2 items), book and CD

    Individual item – 2 challenges each:
    “Fired Up!” DVD, with Nicholas D'agosta and Sarah Roemer
    Mummy Laid an Egg!, by Babette Cole
    NOW Magazine

    Individual item – 1 challenge each:
    “1900,” DVD, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci
    Adbusters: Journal of the Mental Environment
    The Anal Sex Position Guide, by Tristan Taormino
    And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
    An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons and True Stories, edited by Ivan Brunetti
    Azimi & Ramin Bahrani, directed & edited by Ramin Bahrani
    “Bear Cub,” DVD
    Beet, the Vandel Buster, by Riku Sanjo and illus. Koji Inada
    Bended Elbow, by Eleanor M. Jacobson
    “Borat,” by Sacha Baron Cohen
    “Chop Shop,” film, directed by Ramin Bahrani
    Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads, compiled by John A. Comax and Alan Comax (published 1910)
    “Creature Comforts,” DVD
    Culture Smart! Canada
    “Donkey X,” DVD, directed by Jose Pozo
    Faithful Elephants
    “Father Christmas,” video, by Raymond Briggs
    Franklin the Fly, by R.O. Blechman
    The Going Down Guide, by Emily Dubberley
    Hand, Hand, Finger, Thumb, by Al Perkins
    Hooking Up with Tila Tequila, by Tila Tequila
    “Islam: What the West Needs to Know,” DVD
    King & King, by Linda de Haan
    The Krakow Ghetto and the Plaszow Camp Remembered, by Malvina Graf
    “Leolo,” DVD
    Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide 2010 Edition, by Leon

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    22. US Banned Books Week

    Banned Books Week in the US began on September 25 and runs until October 2, 2010. The Huffington Post has created a list of 15 of the most iconic, popular, and/or celebrated movies of all time (with short clips). All of these movies are based on books which have been challenged or worse.

    According to the American Library Association (ALA):

    Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

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    23. Book Burning Fans Flames of Hatred

    Rev. Terry Jones, the pastor of a small non-denominational congregation in Gainesville, Florida has been threatening to burn 200 copies of the Koran, the Islamic holy book tomorrow, the anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre. Jones, the author of a book entitled Islam is of the Devil and the Dove World Outreach Center intended to create a bonfire on the church property.

    Islamics and Christians alike are condemning the burning, along with world leaders and US generals who say this act could endanger US troops.

    Yesterday, under growing pressure, Jones announced that he was calling off plans and implied that he had made a deal with the organizers of the construction of an Islamic centre near Ground Zero to agree to move the location if the Koran burning was cancelled. However, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf denied having spoken to Jones, stating, "I am surprised by their announcement. We are not going to toy with our religion or any other. Nor are we going to barter. We are here to extend our hands to build peace and harmony."

    Today, the church's two websites were taken down by the web-hosting company Rackspace, on the grounds that the church has violated the terms of service with regard to a clause that forbids content that is "excessively violent, incites violence, threatens violence, or contains harassing content or hate speech; and creates a risk to a person's safety or health, creates a risk to public safety or health, compromises national security, or interferes with a investigation by law enforcement." Copies of Pastor Jones' book were available for order through the web site. To date, the church's Facebook page (Facebook account needed to view page) "International Burn A Koran Day" is still available along with many other group pages condemning the act.

    CBS News and a number of other investigative reporters are now looking into the financial state of the church, mortgages, and the ebay store which is run out of church buildings, perhaps bringing more attention to the 50-member congregation and their pastor than was expected.

    The American Library Association plans to read publicly from the Koran -- a reaction to the planned book burning -- from the steps of their headq

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    24. BC Ferries Awash in Controversy

    BC Ferries has banned the sale of The Golden Mean by Canadian author Annabel Lyon in their gift shops. While most books are challenged over content, The Golden Mean is being kept off of BC Ferries because of the cover which depicts a naked male figure whose buttocks are exposed. The ban has gained the attention of papers around the world who have picked up the story, including The Guardian in the UK and The New Yorker.

    According to the Vancouver Sun, "BC Ferries has a habit of banning books that feature nudity of any kind. Stephen Vogler's Only in Whistler was banned in 2009 because it featured a historical photo of four naked female skiers viewed from the rear. Two years ago, Wreck Beach, a history of Vancouver's nude beach, was banned for similar reasons."

    Deborah Marshall, a spokesperson for B.C. Ferries defended the policy, explaining that there are children in the gift shops and that they are a "family show." The suggestion that BC Ferries carry the book if there was a "belly band" hiding the photo was rejected by Random House. Books for the bookstore are chosen by a committee and according to Mitchell, "We choose to select non-controversial books in our gift shop."

    Craig Spence, president of the Federation of British Columbia Writers expressed his concern, saying the ban was "an overreaction to a photo that's artistic ... are you going to stop kids from seeing Michelangelo's David? The kinds of graphic material that kids are exposed to, through advertising and other media all the time, go much farther than that, and they're not in a context that would give it the justification."

    The Golden Mean is a fictional account of a young Alexander the Great during the time when Aristotle was his tutor. It has received wide acclaim and has been considered for numerous awards.

    WINNER 2009 - Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize
    FINALIST 2009 - Scotiabank Giller Prize
    FINALIST 2009 - Governor General's Literary Awards - Fiction
    FINALIST 2010 - Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book (Canada & Caribbean)
    FINALIST 2010 - Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award
    FINALIST 2010 - BC Book Prize's Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize
    FINALIST 2010 - Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Award - Fiction Book of the Year
    FINALIST 2010 - Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Award - Author of the Year

    Annabel Lyon is a BC writer.

    25. Ray Bradbury Week

    Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, officially turns 90 on August 22, 2010. This Friday, fans of Bradbury will ask Los Angeles City Council to declare Aug. 22-28 Ray Bradbury Week. While Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois, he moved to Los Angeles in 1934, where he has lived since that time.

    A number of celebrations are being planned, including a tribute at the Mystery and Imagination Bookstore, a profile in the Writers Guild magazine, an exhibit of Bradbury books in the public library, a school production of a play based on the novel, an evening of screening TV shows based on Bradbury's writings, and a screening of the Fahrenheit 451 movie which will include an interview with Hugh Hefner and Ray Bradbury.

    Bradbury's works include Something Wicked this Way Comes, The Martian Chronicles, Dandelion Wine, and Fahrenheit 451. He has also been a writer on an astounding 75 films, many of them adaptations of his novels and short stories. His body of work has earned him the National Medal of the Arts and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

    Ray Bradbury Week in Los Angeles is on Facebook for anyone interested in learning more. (You must have a Facebook account to log in.)

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