Banned Book Bonanza

Libraries around the country celebrate “Banned Book” week during the final week of September (or the first full week of Fall). My local library, the Lansing Community Library (LCL), decided to extend this celebration of reading freedom through the end of October, to give patrons a longer window of opportunity to explore this year’s top challenged books.

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Interview with a Librarian

I asked Emily Stratton, one of LCL’s Youth Services Librarians, a few questions that I had about banned or challenged books and with her permission I’m sharing her answers here:

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became a librarian?

I’ve always been a reader. Growing up as a military brat, reading was always something fun to do when we hadn’t made new friends yet or had our house items delivered to our new home. Though I received my bachelor’s degree in photography, I never stopped enjoying reading. I applied for an opening at Lansing Community Library after graduating college and began working there as a Circulation Technician in January of 2015 and fell in love with the job. A year and a half later, I’m now the Youth Services Librarian and plan on starting my Masters in Library Science next year.

What are your hopes for the program?

With our display and Banned Books Week, we’re hoping to get others excited celebrate their freedom to read and access to information. So many are surprised to find that their favorite book or a classic novel they read in high school has been challenged to be removed from an educational environment. Hopefully the displays we’ll keep up will spark conversations about why these are challenged and whether or not they agree. Maybe it will even introduce some new books to someone!

How long will the display remain up at the library?

Continue reading

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Best Home Alarm System: Man’s Best Friend

In my search for different and interesting ‘small screen’ series to sample, I stumbled upon a couple of good ones recently:  Human Target (from 2010 but cancelled after second season) and The Fall (from 2013 with three seasons to date).  I’m still watching Limitless, pausing briefly after watching the pilot to watch the movie that spawned the series, but otherwise continuing with 2-3 episodes per week.

Terry and I have finished two of three DVDs for the first season of Human Target.  I was hooked after the first episode, and not just because Christopher Chance’s pet was a Rottweiler named Carmine.  This show packs a lot of punches into a scant hour of programming and each episode is something completely different.  It’s fun to watch and even has me looking for the original graphic novels to read, but libraries are totally not up to speed in that area.  Continue reading

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Media Feeding Fire of F.U.D.

Modesitt ~ The Media Supplied the Kindling – http://www.lemodesittjr.com/2016/09/25/the-media-supplied-the-kindling/

No surprise to me.  Politics and the media use fear to fuel their ratings.  Makes your decisions emotional instead of rational. Fight off the urge to cogitate in your hippocampus.

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Movie Review: Shaolin (2011) ~ 4 Stars

shaolin-posterartShaolin

Released: 2011

Watched: late September 2016 via Netflix streaming

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Directed by: Benny Chan

Starring: Andy Lau, Nicholas Tse with an appearance by Jackie Chan

Short Synopsis (via IMDb.com):  After ambushing and killing his rival, losing everything in the process, dispirited warlord Hou Jie turns to a Shaolin monastery seeking salvation.

My Thoughts

My husband caught part of this movie on our Dish Network DVR, but was unable to find another airing of it to re-record the whole movie.  Neither was it available On Demond from Dish Network.  I did find it, however, available via Netflix streaming.  We streamed it on a lazy Sunday evening.  We’d spent much of the day being lazy thanks to a gentle fall rain which ended in a spectacular sunset:

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I didn’t realize until after finishing the movie that this was a remake of Jet Li’s classic Shaolin Temple (1982), which I have not seen (or don’t remember watching) but will remedy that lack in the near future.

While I enjoyed the story and the martial arts in Shaolin, what struck me most was the performance by Andy Lau.  I’ve now added at least four more of his recent and highest rated films to my Netflix queue.  Many of the supporting actors turned in good performances as well.

Many of the themes resonate with my Christian upbringing and lead me to further research and reading into Buddhism.  I need to foster tolerance and understanding, embrace our similarities and understand our differences.  Knowledge is power and tempered with love and compassion, can make the world a better place.

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Autumn Arrives and Adventures in Astronomical Observing

Autumn arrived mid-week here in the Heart of America, but you wouldn’t have known it by looking at the weather forecast:  Mid 90s and moderately high humidity.  Also with the change of the seasons, I retired my FitBit Charge (or rather it retired itself by falling apart) and upgraded to a Samsung Gear Fit2.  The new fitness tracker is spurring me on to be more active, although my sleep pattern hasn’t improved much. I can safely blame work (10 pm to 4 am conference call on a Saturday night/Sunday morning) and astronomy, which requires, well, dark skies, for my reduced snooze time.

Speaking of astronomy, I’ve upgraded, finally after two years of paralysis analysis, from the Meade ETX 90, gifted to me by my father in October 2010 (also, unsurprisingly the birth of this blog site), to an Orion SkyQuest XX14G.  Continue reading

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D.W.M.

The Misogyny Card – http://www.lemodesittjr.com/2016/09/13/the-misogyny-card/

My husband and I have been arguing about presidential candidate voting most of this week.  I will not burden you with the details as I find it rude to discuss religion and politics in public. I can’t wait for this torture, I mean election season, to be over.

I found Modesitt’s blog post today struck a nerve. And I recently heard him in person declaring what I already knew to be true: that nearly all political campaigning and maneuvering is based on fear.  

Food for thought.

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Discussion Series Invites Adults to Read Children’s Classics

The Lansing Community Library will present a three-part book discussion series beginning in October 2016 on “Childhood Classics.” Members of the community are invited to attend the free programs, which will take place at the Lansing Community Library, 730 1st Terrace, Lansing, Kansas.

The series is sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council (KHC), a nonprofit cultural organization, as part of its Talk About Literature in Kansas (TALK) program. KHC is furnishing the books and discussion leaders for the Lansing TALK series. For more information about KHC, visit www.kansashumanities.org.

Childhood Classics

Remember curling up in a cozy chair as a child with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, or climbing onto the lap of a favorite aunt to read The Jungle Book?  The classic books of our childhood allowed us to travel the world, visiting some of the most famous living rooms, barns, and castles in literature.  As adults, we discover that the books that delighted us as children still have a great deal to say.

“Only the rarest kind of best in anything is good enough for the young,” writes Walter de la Mare.  In Childhood Classics, we encounter literature that not only entertains and educates but also endures, thanks to superb plots, realistic characters, and universal themes.  Any children’s book worth its paper must endure for adults as well, telling our stories of the past as well as our possibilities for the future.  The books in this series, written by authors in Great Britain and the United States, can all be read for pleasure at any age and also for insight into the history of child-rearing, family, and community life from the Victorian area to the present.

These staples of childhood libraries of the 20th century also allow us to examine the very fibers of our culture.  Society’s most cherished values are often reflected most clearly in the books and stories we give to young people.  The importance of family and love, the courage of being true to oneself, the need for friendship and faith – all of these qualities unfold in the books that we continue to pass down from generation to generation.  Most of all, these books honor the power of the imagination to shape and inform our visions of ourselves and our world.

Redeem Your Golden Ticket

The first meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 13, 2013, at 5:30 p.m. Nicolas Shump (pictured at right) will lead discussion of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.  The gates of Mr. Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory are opening at last, and only five children will be allowed inside: the good-hearted Charlie and a pack of spoiled, destructive brats. Nicolas Shump teaches history and English at the Barstow School in Kansas City, Missouri.  He received his M.A. in American Studies from the University of Kansas. Shump joined the KHC TALK program as a discussion leader in 2012.

The idea of a special literature for children dates only to the nineteenth century, when writers began to produce both fantasy and realistic family stories for young readers. “Childhood Classics” features some of the most enduring books written for children over the past century in the U.S. and Great Britain. Adult readers will discover that the books that entertained and educated them as children have much to say to them now about courage and faith, friendship, character, and the power of love.

Mark Your Calendar

In this series, readers will also discuss A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett on January 12, 2017 and The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame on April 13, 2017.

To check out books and for more information about the reading series, contact the Lansing Community Library at 913-727-2929 or visit their website at http://lansing.mykansaslibrary.org.

Reading List

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (1916-1990)

Roald Dahl’s very witty and popular novel tells the story of a good-hearted boy living in the most dire of economic conditions.  Young Charlie is a shining light, especially among four spoiled, misguided, and destructive children who, along with Charlie, find the golden tickets in their candy bars that win them a tour of Willy Wonka’s factory.  This humorous and satirical novel also speaks of how, with enough trust and love, a child can inspire the adults around him and transform his family’s life.  Dahl, often called a literary genius, creates in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a modern-day fairy tale about the evils of greed and corruption and the wonders of honesty.  162 pp.

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924)

Burnett’s turn-of-the-century Cinderella story tells of a little girl who goes from riches to rags to riches again, all along maintaining her compassion and love for those around her.  After wealthy Sara Crewe moves into a strict girls’ boarding school, she learns that her father is dead, leaving her both penniless and an orphan.  Her faith in her father and her sense of justice enable her to overcome poverty, hardship, and abuse, and to create her own family and community.  Burnett, a playwright and novelist for adults before she wrote children’s books, never over-simplifies the complexities of a dangerous world; at the same time, she never forgets what it’s like to view that world as a hopeful child.  242 pp.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932)

Few children’s books create such memorable characters as The Wind in the Willows, and few appeal as universally to both children and adults.  The struggles of Badger, Mole, Water Rat, and the incorrigible Toad allowed Grahame to imbue his tale with the “deepest sense of the meaning of his own adult life,” says scholar Clifton Fadiman.  The four animal characters, with all their foibles, exhibit many adult characteristics.  They survive each others’ limitations and escapades, face the loss of their home due to corruption, and muster enough loyalty, ingenuity and humor to prevail over evil.  In doing so, they show us how to survive our own personal challenges and limitations at home and at work, as adults.  244 pp.

 

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