Banned Books Week

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Banned Books Week

We love stories. That’s why we are in the business of storytelling. But what happens when certain stories are withheld from the public, access is denied in schools and libraries? This is no new concept, certain books still get banned. Censorship is still alive and well and continues to be implemented in school boards all over the world today.

This week, Sept 24th-Oct 1st has been declared Banned Books Week, a time when libraries, schools, and bookstores celebrate our First Amendment freedom to read. Whether it’s print or in the form of an audio book, stories are a precious resource that provide us not only with entertainment, but information, ideas, opinions that may otherwise not be heard.

Recently, there have been various books banned, books I recall reading way back in my high school English classes. Below are some commonly challenged books that you might be interested in. But as you review the list, ask yourself, where do you stand with the content questioned? Sure, there are various reasons why these books are banned, some due to sexual perversity or overall obscenity like Lolita, or because of political, religious, or racial grounds, but does that make it right to remove it from bookshelves?

Commonly Challenged Books:

To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee –A classic work of literature that was banned two years ago from a high school in Brampton, Ontario due to the prejudice in the novel. A parent objected to the language used, like the vulgar “N” word used in reference to African-Americans.

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut – Although this book came out 42 years ago, this summer a high school in Missouri banned Kurt Vonnegut’s counter-culture classic from its library and curriculum alleging the book promoted “values contrary to those found in the bible”.

Others include:
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
1984 by George Orwell

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Need A Break From Life? Listen to Marley & Me

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Need A Break From Life? Listen to Marley & Me

The other night I was cleaning my new house, continuing to purge old things, vacuuming, dusting, all the typical household chores. Everything was going fine, until the 15 pound dog that belongs to our tenant came scurrying into the living room with a big stick in his mouth after I had just mopped. Needless to say, there were wood shavings everywhere on my nicely cleaned floor. Although, it upset me, what came next was icing on the cake. I had gone to find our tenant to take the dog outside, but when we returned, the dog had left us a little present, with a not so pleasing aroma.

I put my hands to my face and replicated the Home Alone scream. As I went dashing upstairs to find some more cleaner for this particular mess, I realized it reminded me of an audio book I had heard a few years back, Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog. Marley may have been a cute wriggle yellow furball of a puppy, but life is never what it seems. And Daisy, the dog I’m referring to, reminded me of Marley.

Marley & Me by John Grogan was going to be the perfect antidote. So I downloaded the audio book, laid down on the couch, ignored the barking going on around me, and fell deep into the world of John and Jenny and their dog Marley. I reevaluated my environment and thought if Marley was a symbol of devotion, this entire story was based on one concept, unconditional love. It made me realize how lucky I am to have a dog as loyal as Daisy in my life even if she does drive me crazy. I also needed a good laugh. So, if anyone needs a break, Marley & Me is the perfect audio book to listen to when everything around you is quite literally out of control.

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