DC Public Libraries to Celebrate Banned Books

I’m not sure exactly when Banned Books Week takes place, but I know it’s in September.

Bookstores, libraries, and other organizations celebrate banned books each year to highlight books that were once (or currently are) challenged. And DC public libraries are doing something fun this year. Throughout the course of the month the public library system in the capitol is hiding hundreds of copies of banned books all around the city. Clues to help find the books will be given on the system’s social media accounts and the books will feature covers describing why the book was challenged. 

Also, the books are free to keep!

I don’t know what any libraries or bookstores near me are doing, but if I lived in DC I’d definitely be trying to find me some banned books. Never mind that I likely don’t know the city well enough to find anything.

Have you heard of any unique events to celebrate Banned Books Week in your area?

Simone Byles to Write Memoir

Of course she is. She’s one of the most known athletes in the world right now. What better time to publish a book? I mean, Gabby Douglas did it after becoming a household name. And no one was calling her the greatest gymnast ever.

I imagine Byles getting a seven-figure advance for her book followed by at least a handful of endorsements. Likely more. I’m also beginning to doubt whether she actually attends UCLA. She won’t be competing in gymnastics at the school because she’s already turned pro. Which means she’ll be sacrificing A LOT of hours in the gym for school work. Which makes the prospect of repeating her 2016 performance in 2020 a bit less likely. Not to mention that the world championships will be here before we know it.

Simone Byles has plenty to think about in her new post-Olympics world. But who wouldn’t want to be in her shoes?

2016 Reading Challenge Book #6: I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

*Contains spoilers*

I also read this book weeks ago and failed to write a post or make a video about it.

I’m sure you know the basic premise of the story by now. The book is decades old. There’s an outbreak of a virus that turns people into what appear to be vampires. Dr. Robert Neville essentially makes it his life’s work to find a cure.

First, the book is NOT like the movie starring Will Smith. The stories are actually quite different and should be evaluated on their own individual merits.

The movie has a relatively happy ending. Dr. Neville sacrifices himself for the cure he finally finds. The book does not. There is no cure. Dr. Neville is taken from his home after he refuses to leave everything behind when a mysterious woman warns him of what’s to come. Then it becomes apparent that he’s now become an outsider to this new group of people. He’s different because he’s not infected. And he must be killed.

The book is exceptional. There’s no other way to say it. And it’s short, so you don’t have dozens of pages of filler. The writing is superb and Dr. Neville is a character you can easily relate to. Each night the loneliness he feels is nearly unbearable.

When I finished the book I immediately thought of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. He gave birth to the modern vampire. And his classic is nothing short of a masterpiece. But I Am Legend is nearly as brilliant.

I haven’t read too many vampire stories, but I imagine the two I’ve mentioned today are many steps above just about everything else out there.

Have you read either of these classic vampire tales?

This book satisfied the requirement from my reading challenge to read a book with a movie tie-in cover.

Kickstarter for Books

If you’re familiar with Kickstarter, then you know exactly what I’m about to describe to you even before I do. Kickstarter is a crowdfunding site that allows people to pitch their project to potential backers who then decide if it’s worthy of backing. There are a number of similar sites out there.

Now there’s also Inkshares. Which is exactly the same concept, but exclusively for books. As an author you post snippets from your book on the site in an attempt to build up a following. Then ask them to help fund the project.

Two things immediately popped into my head when I read this. First, there are already so many crowdfunding sites out there that this is likely to get lost in the mix. Second, there are crowdpublishing sites run by major publishers that publish books based on ratings and reviews by readers. Readers don’t pay anything, they simply read a sample and leave feedback.

This site will likely be touted as a nice mix of traditional and self-publishing, but it isn’t. The editorial board will only edit the book if it reaches 750 backers or minimally if it reaches 250. I don’t see anything traditional about that.

I think authors would be better suited to try different platforms before this one. It just doesn’t sound like a winner to me.

Would you use Inkshares to potentially publish your book?

Return Your Library Books or Else

Jail. That’s right. If you don’t return your library books in a timely manner then you could be looking at time in the slammer.

A library in Georgia is enforcing new rules to recover more than $200,000 in materials. I mean, I really hope this isn’t the case at most libraries around the country. That’s obviously unsustainable.

What I don’t understand is how the library says it will be enforcing new rules such as the jail time. The library can’t write laws. Unless the rules aren’t actually new and the library just hasn’t been enforcing them. If I knew someone had 20 books from the library just sitting at home and I had the legal standing to have them arrested, I think I would.

It is no different from stealing. And in the case of the library it amounts to stealing from taxpayers.

I’m hoping people just return their books and pay their fines before the question of jail time arises. Everyone knows unreturned library materials are just sitting at home anyway.

The policy sends the person a postcard about their overdue items, then a text or email, then a court summons, then jail time could be on the table if that is ignored.

Do you have any stories of overdue library books? I remember one. I think it may have been overdue by about a month or two. But I didn’t drive at the time and I usually had to force one of my parents to take me to the library. I think my fine ended up being $1 or something.

2016 Reading Challenge Book #5: Night by Elie Wiesel

Immediately after quitting my job at Half Price Books I got to reading. I finished this book over a month ago, but I’ve been too busy to make a video.

Night is the autobiographical account of Elie Wiesel’s experience during the Holocaust. The book is just over 100 pages long, but not a single page is wasted. There’s no fluff or filler. There’s no dramatization. It’s simply the retelling of what happened to him.

He takes the reader on a journey no man or woman should have ever taken. He describes a feeling of hopelessness that most simply can’t comprehend. He describes losing his faith. Most importantly, he holds nothing back. The events described are brutal, terrifying, and beyond humanity. No detail is spared because to do so (in my opinion) would be to take away from those who didn’t make it out of the camps. The story of the Holocaust must continue to be told in this manner. We can’t afford to lighten up on the details. Every person who experienced the Holocaust deserves better.

My takeaway from the book is rather simple. Anne Frank’s diary has given millions of people a look at what it was like to be persecuted and in hiding during this dreadful period. Night has given millions of people a look into the lives of those forced from their homes into camps like Auschwitz.

Both stories need to be told. Both books should be required reading for every high school student in the world. Why? Because the Holocaust is an important world event, but there’s more to it than that. These students are going to be politicians, world leaders, military personnel, and voting citizens. It’s important they understand the evil humans are capable of so that when the time comes to act against a group or regime or leader, there’s no hesitation.

I surely hope you’ve read Night by now, but if you haven’t I believe it’s a book more than worthy of your time.

The book satisfied the requirement on my reading challenge to read a book by an author I hadn’t read before. 

Not so Fast

You know how technology is basically ruining all of our lives? Wait, what?

You know what I mean. Companies are constantly trying to alter how we do something. Sometimes it’s for the better and sometimes it isn’t. And sometimes we humans resist the change with all of our might.

There are apps for just about everything. You can just about avoid stepping foot into any brick and mortar establishment. Heck, if you work from home you could be a hermit and have everything else delivered to you via drone. Okay, not just yet.

Well Pew has once again released its findings regarding our reading habits. Though more people are reading on smartphones and tablets, the overwhelming majority are still reading on the good ol paper. I guess we like having to adjust our reading based on the available lighting. Ha!
Take that, technology! You can’t win them all!