Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Dangerous Pages Index of Banned, Challenged and Censored Books

A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Age of Reason By Thomas Paine
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol
All Quiet On the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
The American Heritage Dictionary
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson & Peter Parnell
Animal Farm by George Orwell
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
The Bible by Various
Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems by Galileo Galilei
Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone by J.K Rowling
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Little House On the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little Red Riding Hood by Charles Perrault
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Looking for Alaska by John Green
The Lorax by Dr Seuss
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell
On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare
Song of Songs (author unknown perhaps King Solomon)
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
The Whole Lesbian Sex Book by Felicia Newman

Monday, April 27, 2009

(Almost) Banned Book: The Song of Songs

If only you were my brother
that sucked at my mother's breast
Then I could kiss you no matter who was watching
and no one would criticize me.

I would bring you to my childhood home
and there you would teach me
I would give you spiced wine to drink
my sweet pomegranate wine.
Your left hand would be under my head
your right hand would embrace me.

Song of Songs 8:1-3

Something tells me that the anti-first amendment parents (see previous post) would have a big problem with this book. This book has been a puzzle to priests and rabbis for centuries.
Obviously,they reason, the book cannot be talking about carnal love (thy breast like two young roes?). So, it must have a deeper spiritual meaning. The general belief is that it is an allegory of God/Christ's love for the Church/Israel/the Virgin Mary. The style of the book is very similar to that of Egyptian love songs or those of Sappho, the lesbian Greek poet.

The tradition is that it was written by Solomon, but the style dates it to a period 500 years after his death. The old Church used to interpret most of the Bible as allegorical, so they followed suit with this book.The priests used to recommend (maybe they still do) that young priests not be allowed to study the text, for fear it would incite passions (!)

The problem is that nowadays, people want to take the Bible literally- and that interpretation makes the Song of Songs a fish out of water.

There was some question as to whether this book should even be included in the Hebrew canon- along with Ecclesiastes, which is dark and pessimistic. So, that is why it is technically "an almost banned book".

This book is a prime example for those who contest the depiction of sexuality in literature for religious reasons: this book is in the Bible and it's literal descriptions are as hot and heavy as some Harlequin romances, yet most people believe there is some deeper message there.

Books have layers.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Banned: All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front is a powerful account of World War I. Written by Erich Maria Remarque, a veteran of the first World War, the book was banned in Nazi Germany because it was believed to portray the Wehrmacht (German military forces) in a bad light.

The novel tells the story of Paul Baumer, a 19 year old soldier who is persuaded by his schoolmaster to join the army. He goes to the western front where he witnesses the horror and brutality of the war first hand and narrates the novel.

World War I was the first modern war. War previous to it had looked pretty by comparison- soldiers stabbed or shot, blood here and there. It was ugly, but not as ugly as a death by gassing, bombing, being crushed by a tank. The soldiers lived in the muck- the political leaders were corrupt and self-absorbed. There were food and clothing shortages to add to the horror of it all.

All Quiet on the Western Front is an anti-war novel, written by someone who had seen war first hand. It is one of the most engrossing social protest novels I have ever read: it shows you how bad things were and takes you with it, so you feel the indignation, the disgust and the sense of hopelessness that a soldier in those trenches might have felt.

Even though it was published in 1928 prior to the Nazi's regime, it posed a threat and was banned. In that highly nationalistic climate, they translated all anti-war sentiment into an attack on the soldiers themselves (sound familiar?).
The most important testimony to the power of this novel is it's universal popularity. In Britain and America, All Quiet on the Western Front became an award winning film in 1930. During World War I, the German soldiers were the enemies of the British and American soldiers- and yet, they relate to the book.
Which makes it a powerful success. No wonder the Nazis were afraid of it.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Heaven On Earth: Most Beautiful Libraries

Libraries are the most dangerous places in the world.
You could be poised in front of a burning building full of terrorists with a Molotov cocktail in your hand poised to throw, you could be flying the Enola Gay or tap dancing on a floor paved with dynamite and still- you would not pose as much of a danger as when you stand in the doorway of a bibliotheque.

Every revolution began with reading. Every major religion is based on the memorization, preservation and recitation of the written word. When we consider how best God manifests His (Her?It?) self to us, we consider The Word- The Bible, The Torah, The Koran, The Bhagavad Gita, The Analects of Confucius- full of explosive dangerous pages.

So, I decided to make a post about the places that house these Weapons of Mass Destruction. I always feel at home in a library- any library. Maybe it's because I have moved so often and the only thing that is familiar about a new place is the library. The words are the same, the smell of paper and ink is the same, there's the familiar silent unity of people reading together in one place...

At the Clayton County Library in Georgia, I found a coffee-table book called The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World by Guillaume de Laubier and Jacques Bosser. Some of the following libraries were included.

Library of the Benedictine Monastery of Admont, Austria

Melk Monastery Library, Melk, Austria

Casanatense Library, Rome, Italy

Library of Congress, Washington, DC, USA

Strahov Theological Hall

Strahov Philosophical Hall

Here are two links with more library pictures:

And finally, this last one blew my mind:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Kiss and Tell?

I have been tagged by Miss Nobody to tell some stuff about me...

1. I have webbed feet.

2. I am a serious news junkie...I know almost everyone on CNN's "best political team" by name. David Gergen is my favorite.

3. I am addicted to This American Life- the public radio show. I love radio. I listen constantly. Sarah Vowell, David Sedaris, David Rakoff- my radio companion (Yes, severely nerdy, I know)

4. I am sensitive- I don't handle death well, even if it's "just" a goldfish and whatever I feel, I feel with my whole being.

5. I require four things in a space: plants, books, music and light. The rest is gravy. (delicious mushroom gravy)

6. I've been an ovo-lacto vegetarian for seven years now. I don't miss eating dead animals, lol.

7. Let's family & I lived in hotels and motels off and on for a few years- & we (myself + two sisters & brother) were homeschooled.

Alright, that's all. Now I have to kill you.
I will tag someone a little later- everyone seems to have been tagged! People, leave some secrets for me!

Miss Nobody was also generous enough to pass me an award...and I have found someone to pass one of my awards to. Figurative drumrolls, please...

To Miss Nobody of Miss Nobody's Scribbles, I give the "You don't Say Award" for the blogger who leaves comments, adding to the various discussions which have taken place within the Dangerous Pages, letting her opinion be known to all, freely exercising her freedom of speech inspiring others to do the same and thereby contributing to the well-being and happiness of all man-kind...especially me.

Anyway, here's an award, which was given to me by Jennifer at Jennifer's Book Blog- which is awesome.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Premio Dardos Award

I have recently been honored- twice- with the Premio Dardos award from Lost in Books and The Genteel Arsenal- two sites that are lodged firmly in my blogroll.
Now the rules for the Premio Dardos are as follows:
This award is for bloggers who distinguish themselves for showing cultural values, ethics, great and fun writing skills, as well individual values, through their creative writing.
The rules are:
1. To accept and show the distinct image
2. Show the link to the blog from which you were given the award
3. Choose 15 blogs to give the Dards Award (Premio Dardos).

There's a problem however- all of the blogs I love the most have just been given the award, so I want to scout around and find some new ones.

Thanks to BookPusher and Rebecca for being so generous and I promise I will pass this award around soon.