Libraries believe in many things, not the least of which is the freedom to read – we’re all about preventing censorship and encouraging intellectual freedom. The American Library Association says it best when they define intellectual freedom as “the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular.”
Every September since 1982 libraries have been raising awareness of the many challenges to intellectual freedom by observing Banned Books Week, when we highlight some of the books challenged or outright banned. Some are banned from an entire country, such The Da Vinci Code in Lebanon. Some are banned from a specific school or library, like the California school district which removed all copies of the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary from their schools, though this ban was later overturned. You can see where and why some books have been recently challenged by using this interactive map. Yes, there are some in Oklahoma!
To draw attention to Banned Books week, we’re giving away copies of Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which won the National Book Award in 2007 and the California Young Reader Medal in 2010. It has been challenged many times and banned by at least one school board. It’s a book about racism, bullying, and what it means to be Native American … and most of all, how to find the strength to overcome challenges.
Libraries are for everyone, and so we strive to have something for everyone. Not every book is right for every reader, but we each have the right to decide for ourselves what to read, listen to or watch.
Celebrate your freedom to read … and stop by to enter to win a copy of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. We’ll be drawing names daily until Friday!
by Kim Harrison
Kim Harrison’s new book will be both familiar and not-so-familiar to fans of her Hollows novels: it features the well-known characters of Rachel Morgan, detective and witch, and her Inderland Security partner Ivy Tamwood, a living vampire. Blood Work is the story of the beginning of their partnership, battling all sorts of supernatural beings – and their own personal demons – as they learn to work together.
What is very different from previous Hollows books is the format. Pictures and text combine to make an excellent example of a well-designed graphic novel, with the brilliant colors and clearly drawn characters making the action easy to follow. If you’ve never read a graphic novel before, why not give this a chance?
by Deborah Lawrenson
It’s a classic whirlwind romance: Eve instantly falls for the charming and handsome Dom when they meet on vacation in Switzerland. In short order she gives up her job as a translator and moves with him to a crumbling château in Provence, where they spend an idyllic summer living among the old stone walls and overgrown gardens, lazily enjoying all the sights and tastes and smells of French country life, deliriously happy and half-drunk on the scents of lavender and figs.
But as the summer fades, it’s clear that things aren’t always what they seem. Dom turns secretive and brooding, and Eve can’t get the specter of his beautiful ex-wife Rachel out of her mind. But Dom refuses to discuss Rachel, his silence turns Eve’s worry into suspicion. Strange things are happening in the house as well – a lantern appearing suddenly in the middle of a garden path, mysterious stains on the floor, a book that opens on its own.
And then they start finding the bodies.
Reminiscent of Rebecca or classic Hitchcock films, this is a lush gothic tale full of descriptions so evocative that it will have you tasting French wine on the tip of your tongue.
A Brief History of Montmaray
The FitzOsbornes in Exile
by Michelle Cooper
Young Adult Fiction
It’s easy to see why these books are often compared to I Capture the Castle: the impoverished aristocracy, crumbling castle, quirky characters, and first-person narrative work together to create a similar feeling. Of course, this castle and these characters are the independent kingdom of Montmaray, a tiny island off the coast of England. That is, if you can call an insane king, three princesses, a housekeeper, and a handful of elderly villagers a kingdom.
In A Brief History of Montmaray, the FitzOsbornes’ quiet life is shattered by the arrival of German soldiers. Innocent historians or spies looking for a landing strip from which to launch their aerial attacks? No one knows for sure, but it seems best for the FitzOsbornes to keep their distance – something that proves difficult on such a small island.
The sequel, The FitzOsbornes in Exile, finds them a kingdom without a country. The princesses are more interested in finding a way to regain control of Montmaray than making their debut into London society, much to the dismay of their aunt, but as the events leading up to World War II become increasingly dire, they realize that more is at stake than just their island.