Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday Fusion

Banned Books Week is almost over but Shelf Awareness has been posting a great round-up of related news all week long:

Galleycat linked to the Haphazard Gourmet Girls blog ("Braising the Culture, One Recipe--And One Recall--at a Time"), which offers "Civilization Is Cooked Without Books, our haphazard project that pairs censored literature with recipes." Other recipes here and href="http://news.shelf-awareness.com/ct.jsp?uz3664752Biz7381336">here.

The Daily Californian reported: "In a celebration of controversial books yesterday, community members read portions of their favorite banned books at the main branch of the Berkeley Public Library."

Even virtual book worlds need attention. The American Library Association is once again staging Banned Book Week events in Second Life.

"Would you ban any children's books?" the Guardian's book blog asked readers. One respondent, just a bit off assigned topic, suggested "the bible is a fairytale book that I'd have banned. To [sic] much sex and violence for the target audience."

Also in the Guardian, a banned books quiz to test your censorship awareness skills.

Some folks are celebrating Banned Books Week more literally than others, according to the Associated Press (via the Mercury News): "An Orange County school district has reinstated a series of fantasy vampire novels at its 12 middle schools after banning the books from campuses last week."

You just can't shock some people. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that "a dozen authors and journalists gather[ed] on the steps of the Main Library at Civic Center and read passages from books that have been banned somewhere or other. . . . One by one, as the writers rattled off steamy paragraphs by the likes of D.H. Lawrence, J.D. Salinger and Malcolm X, it became clear that what might be tempestuous in Wasilla is tame stuff in San Francisco."

The Guardian's John Crace "condensed six forbidden fictions. Read them if you dare."

Lisa Navarro, assistant principal and English teacher at McGann-Mercy High School, Riverhead, N.Y., told the Suffolk Times "that although she's quite conservative on many issues of the day, she believes passionately in 'freedom of the press and being able to chose what you read.'"

Words and music. The Hartford Courant reported that the "first-annual first amendment rock off," held last night at Black Eyed Sally's in Hartford, Conn., was a musical tribute to Banned Books Week hosted by the Connecticut chapter of the ACLU and the Connecticut Library Association.

Also via Shelf Awareness:

Blindness, based on the book by José Saramago, opens October 3. Fernando Meirelles directs this story of a doctor's wife (Julianne Moore) who is unaffected by an epidemic of sudden blindness. She tries to protect her husband (Mark Ruffalo) by following him into an inhumane quarantine area. Saramago, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998, has a new book, Death with Interruptions, coming out next Monday, October 6.

Book Review: American Widow by Alissa Torres, illustrated by Sungyoon Choi

Alissa Torres' compelling new graphic memoir, American Widow, is her story of marrying a Colombian boy whose green card has run out and of their happy year together culminating in her pregnancy as he starts his new job on September 10 at the World Trade Center.

With a frequently lyrical art style designed by Sungyoon Choi, the unfolding story is a non-linear, intensely emotion-driven tour de force, never going where you think it's going, following its own trajectory through grieving and surviving. Instead of capitalizing on its subject matter, Torres' heartbreaking, Kafka-like tale of overnight vulnerability and dependence on bureaucracy is more concerned with the broken promises of the Red Cross, getting lost in labyrinths of red tape and the assault of often callous relief workers.

Choi's boldly graphic, frame-bursting style of artwork gives a comic book punch to a story that's mostly interior. The survival tale of Alissa is less about the tragedy than about the nightmare engulfing September 11 survivors in the aftermath. Frame by frame, page by page, baby in arms, Alissa has to learn how to negotiate strings of regulations and qualifications and unfulfilled government pledges while trying to cope psychologically and emotionally with Eddie's absence.

There's no disguising that the book is a monument to a real relationship. Photos of Eddie Torres are inserted into the text. It's a true cry from the heart, transformed by Choi's interpretive, frequently surreal artwork into something universal about loss, readable in a single emotion-choked sitting. Torres and Choi avoid sentimentality, and it's the silent frames that often carry the wallop. There's a page of loving tributes to her dog, Boris, for instance, with a frame on the page that says it all--the young mother under an umbrella with baby strapped to her chest, walking her dog in the rain.

Or consider the frame showing the sheer, monolithic side of the World Trade Center against a vast, open sky, with a tiny, tiny speck tumbling down. It took Eddie Torres 18 seconds to fall.--Nick DiMartino

Shelf Talker: A compelling graphic novel by a young woman widowed on September 11. The artwork is lyrical, and the story of her loss is heartbreaking and often surreal.

Check out:

Junot Diaz
Book Presentation: La breve y maravillosa vida de Óscar Wao
Friday, October 17, 2008
7:00 p.m.
Americas Society
680 Park Avenue

Very interesting Study Pegs Beginning of AIDS — 100 Years Ago


It's Annual openhousenewyork Weekend: flavorpill.com

HipChicas.com, a Latina-themed site for tween girls, is launching its Beta trial this week.

& a special shout-out to Stella at learnlovegrow.blogspot.com for the lovely award.

3 comments:

  1. A kaleidoscopic evening of dancing across a broad spectrum of styles. Dance your old favorites and try something new. It's like dim sum for your feet.

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  2. Anonymous10:49 PM

    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



    Sarah

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