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Tag: ayn rand

Why Do We Ban Books, Anyway?

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Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association

The end of Banned Books Week is almost upon us. Banned Books Week celebrates readers everywhere and encourages us to pick up a book whose content has, at some point, been questioned. Chances are, you love a book that has ended up on a banned books list, although you might not realize it yet. Everything from the Harry Potter series to Toni Morrison’s Beloved, to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, has been challenged in a public or school setting.

Common reasons for materials being challenged include “violence,” “racism,” “offensive language,” “sexually explicit” content, and of course, being “unsuited for age group.” With reasons like these, you can imagine how wide the range of challenged materials is. It also might not come as a surprise that E L James’ buzzworthy 50 Shades of Grey trilogy made the top ten list of 2012’s most challenged titles.

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The Age of Rebellion: Dystopian Literature and Audience

Every dystopian tale shares a few traits: the perfect-yet-horribly-imperfect society, the futuristic setting, and a rebellion against it all. Dystopian fiction written for teens and dystopian fiction written for adults both have those key elements, but otherwise, their differing audiences make sure that most other important aspects are not alike.

Presentation and backstory

the handmaid's tale margaret atwood coverMost noticeably, adult and young adult dystopias differ in their presentation. Adult dystopias are often more subtle with their set-up of the dystopias themselves. For instance, in The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, the main character weaves current happenings in the story with memories of the time before the dystopia, though her memories are revealed out of order chronologically. This allows the reader to understand what happened to create her fundamentalist, patriarchal Christian society, but not all at once. The makeup of the society itself becomes totally clear only towards the end, a puzzle forming an image piece by piece. Adult dystopias assume a more mature reader, and often take this approach because an adult should be able to understand it.

Young adult dystopias are much more straightforward.

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Short Form Summer Reading Summaries

by flickr user sara. nel
Whether you’re a librarian, a parent, or procrastinator not too proud to admit it, you’re probably familiar with the question that comes up around this time of year regarding assigned summer reading. Not just panicked students requesting the books they need, but the slightly desperate plea, “What is this book about?” We put the question to the collective mind of our Hub bloggers, with the added challenge to summarize familiar summer reading classics in the shortest form possible. Here is a round-up of the quirky, clever, and funny responses we got:

From Sarah Debraski with an assist from Paul, some great haiku

The only thing you
need to know is Big Brother
is always watching
(1984 by George Orwell)

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