Category Archives: Literary News

Roanoke Valley Reads Kickoff

Thursday, October 17th is the official kickoff to a month of Roanoke Valley Reads programming! Some featured events include:

  • A talk by Wish You Well author, David Baldacci. Oct. 17, 7pm, Shaftman Performance Hall at the Jefferson Center. Modern Appalachian Music provided by Maestro David Stewart Wiley & Jeff Midkiff. Seating is first come, first served.
  • Appalachian Storytelling. Oct. 22, 6:30pm, Franklin County Library.
  • A talk by Ed Sala, who plays Judge Henry Atkins in the new movie adaptation of the book. Oct. 23, 6:30pm, Williamson Road branch library.
  • From Book to Film: a talk by producer Sara Elizabeth Timmons. Oct. 24, 7pm, Taubman Museum of Art.
  • WVTF Book Club Discussion of Wish You Well. Oct. 29, 7pm, WVTF/Radio IQ Broadcast Center.

Roanoke Valley Reads is a community-wide reading experience that brings people together, promotes tolerance and understanding of differing points of view, and emphasizes the importance of literacy. Brown Library previously participated in the Big Read Roanoke Valley 2010 and Roanoke Valley Reads 2011.

For more information about the featured book, Wish You Well, or for more events related to it, head to Roanoke Valley Reads 2013.

Bridging Cultures Book Discussion: In the Country of Men

countryofmenDon’t miss this exciting book discussion, led by Virginia Tech Professor Steven Salaita, author of six books and numerous articles. 10/14, 6:30pm, Natural Science Center. Open to the public; refreshments provided.

The truth couldn’t be kept away, it was cunning, sly-natured, seeping through at its own indifferent pace.

In Hisham Matar’s debut novel, a Libyan boy must come to terms with difficult truths about Libya, loyalty, and truth when his father disappears. On the surface a story of the violence and absurdity of life during the rule of Muammar al-Qaddafi, In the Country of Men describes the politics of childhood more than the politics of nations. Just as the plot brilliantly unfolds in unpredictable ways, we are catapulted forward to the next decade. We are left to reflect on the ties that bind us all—the universal embarrassments and frustrations of childhood, the challenge of constructing meaning from memory, and the presence of unavoidable truths.

This book is part of Brown Library’s newest special collection, the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys. Included in this award is a collection of 25 books and three films centered around Islamic art, literature, history, politics, current events, and religion, as well as a one-year subscription to the Oxford Islamic Studies Online database. The books and films are available to be checked out from the Circulation desk on the top floor of the library.

FREE Books on Monday!

Bridging Cultures Kickoff Party!

Monday, Sept. 23rd, 10am-11am, front steps of Brown Library

FREE books to the first 200 students! (Current VWCC only.)  Students can choose from one of the following titles: In the Country of Men (the Bridging Cultures book discussion book), Persepolis, Dreams of Trespass, and House of Stone. Refreshments provided.

Come celebrate Brown Library’s newest special collection, the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys. Included in this award is a collection of 25 books and three films centered around Islamic art, literature, history, politics, current events, and religion, as well as a one-year subscription to the Oxford Islamic Studies Online database. We are the only Virginia community college to win this great grant from the NEH!

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What Can You Do About Banned Books?

Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom we have in the U.S. to express our opinions— even if the opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular. Unfortunately, not everyone has this right; there are currently many authors around the world who have been imprisoned, or whose lives have been threatened, because of their writings. Check out this slide show, courtesy of the Huffington Post, for more information on how you can help promote freedom of expression and ideas.

Banned Books Week Events

  • Thursday and Friday only, take a break at the library and try your hand at one of our Banned Books Word Searches!
  • Visit Our Displays on the Top Floor. See examples of books that have been banned and find out the reasons behind it.

Interested in finding out more about Banned Books Week? How about a list of Banned Classics or the most frequently Banned Books of the 21st century? Happy reading from the Brown Library staff!

Why Do Books Get Banned?

According to the American Library Assocation,

Books usually are challenged with the best intentions—to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information. See  Notable First Amendment Cases.

Censorship can be subtle, almost imperceptible, as well as blatant and overt, but, nonetheless, harmful. As John Stuart Mill wrote in On Liberty:

If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. Were an opinion a personal possession of no value except to the owner; if to be obstructed in the enjoyment of it were simply a private injury, it would make some difference whether the injury was inflicted only on a few persons or on many. But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.

— On Liberty, John Stuart Mill

Often challenges are motivated by a desire to protect children from “inappropriate” sexual content or “offensive” language. The following were the top three reasons cited for challenging materials as reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom:

  1. the material was considered to be “sexually explicit”
  2. the material contained “offensive language”
  3. the materials was “unsuited to any age group”

Although this is a commendable motivation, Free Access to Libraries for Minors, an interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights (ALA’s basic policy concerning access to information) states that, “Librarians and governing bodies should maintain that parents—and only parents—have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children—and only their children—to library resources.” Censorship by librarians of constitutionally protected speech, whether for protection or for any other reason, violates the First Amendment.

Keep checking back throughout the week for more activities and information about banned books!

 

American Library Association. “About Banned & Challenged Books.” ala.org. American Library Association, 2012. Web. 1 Oct. 2012.