Go to the head of the class

Make sure you've read the book before you see the movie. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe opens on December 9, 2005. This is sure to be popular.

While You're Waiting For...

...Lords of Dogtown, you might want to check out Thirteen (same director); or Yeah, Right, a documentary by Spike Jonze about some of the world's best skateboarders; or Dogtown and Z-boys, the true story of the Zephyr skateboarding team from Venice (CA's) Dogtown.

Marching through Georgia

On the Diane Rehm show on Monday October 3, 2005
Diane's guest was the prolific and acclaimed author E.L. Doctorow. Their subject Doctorow's latest book March has received starred reviews. Doctorow's latest novel tracks Union General William Tecumseh Sherman's march through Georgia.

E.L. Doctorow, is the author of many novels and other works including "City of God" and "Ragtime." His many honors include a National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the National Humanities Medal.

Fred and Ginger on DVD!

cheek to cheek

Finally! You've waited years and now they're here. Critics generally give Swing Time the edge, but my favorites are Shall We Dance (if only for the Gershwin score and that goofy roller-skating routine) and Top Hat. The latter film also gets my vote for the best all-time dance sequence with "Cheek to Cheek": Fred's delivery, the choreography and that feather dress (see left) all conspire for a sequence of cinematic bliss so purely escapist it even features as a plot point in other films such as The English Patient, The Purple Rose of Cairo, and The Green Mile.

Banned Books Week – So You Want To Know More?

If you have been interested, intrigued, upset, or frustrated by what you have seen in the past three Banned Books Blogs (1, 2 and 3), you may want to learn more about censorship and book banning in America. Below are some organizations and books that have excellent information:

Freedom to Read Foundation

The Intellectual Freedom Manual, published by the American Library Association

Banned in the U.S.A.: a reference guide to book censorship in schools and public libraries, written by Herbert N. Foerstel

Mark Twain: A Life

Biographer Ron Powers was featured on the Diane Rehm show Thursday September 22, 2005, and presented what he calls an "interpretive portraiture" of American humorist, essayist and novelist Mark Twain. Powers makes the case that Twain became the representative figure of his times. Twain's work and life continues to fascinate us even in these modern times.

Attack of the Banned Authors! Week Three

This week’s banned books blog (Week 1 and Week 2 here) deals with some of the most banned authors in America. These are authors where a very large number of their books have been banned, and as soon as a new one comes out, it faces increased scrutiny. J.K. Rowling has not quite made the list yet, but if she keeps writing, she will soon. Here are the authors:

Judy Blume: Blume has written a great deal of books for children, including Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Superfudge. In America, 13 of her books have been challenged or banned in over 100 schools and public libraries, for reasons including the fact that “bad is never punished. Good never comes to the fore. Evil is triumphant.”

Better Watch Out…It’s Banned Books Vol. 2!

Sorry for the delay! This week’s installment of banned books (read last week’s here) once again features books banned or challenged in America for “interesting” reasons. This week we have:
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, challenged by the Alabama State Textbook Committee (1983) because the book was, quote, “a real downer.” Hmmm…a book about the holocaust is depressing, and they were surprised?
Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts by Edna Barth, challenged in Arizona (1992) because the book “interests little minds into accepting the devil with all of his evil works.”

Celebrate dogs! (and cats, too...)

Now that the dog days of summer are over, it's time to focus even more on our actual canine friends. National Dog Week runs from September 18-24, and AADL can help you celebrate! You can read a story to your dog, find new ways to train him, or read about all of the jobs dogs do in our society. Or just curl up with a great book of dog essays and stories put out by Bark Magazine.

Don't have a dog? We have lots of books with great dog pictures and even more on how to choose the right breed for you.

(If you're not a dog person, you can always try reading to your cat or your teddy bear ... and see which is the more active listener!)

Dangerous Books Ahead! Do Not Read These Books!

Every year, the American Library Association puts together a celebration of the freedom to read, called Banned Books Week. This year, BBW will occur from September 24-October 1. In honor of the hundreds of wonderful, well-written, well-loved books that have been challenged or banned in America, look each Saturday (starting 9/17) in September in the “Books Blog” to find books that have been challenged or banned for some…“interesting”…reasons.
For example:
The American Heritage Dictionary was banned in Alaska (1976); Indiana (1976); Montana (1977); and California (1982) due to…objectionable language. Who volunteers to be the first to write a dictionary without any objectionable language?

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