Banned Books Week

Happy Banned Books Week everyone! Go dust off your copies of Harry Potter, To Kill a Mockingbird and the dictionary and celebrate your freedom to read!

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I’m against censorship. As an avid reader (often of banned books) and a future librarian how could I not be? Today I received my official ALA membership card. On it is printed the Code of Ethics which includes “We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.” I fully intend to take that to heart. At some point in my career I’m sure I’ll have to fight for a book and I hope that I’ll be up to the task!

Intellectual freedom is one of our most important rights as free human beings. We have the right to think about things, to read, and to talk about our ideas. Even if we are wrong, we still have that right! If we want to live in a free society we need to accept that people are going to think differently from us and that other people have the right to listen to them.

John Stuart Mill wrote extensively on intellectual freedom. One of my favorite quotes from him is “However unwillingly a person who has a strong opinion may admit the possibility that his opinion may be false, he ought to be moved by the consideration that however true it may be, if it is not fully, frequently, and fearlessly discussed, it will be held as a dead dogma, not a living truth.” Humans are not infallible! No matter how right you think you are there is always the chance that you’re wrong, and by stifling  debate you rob yourself and others of the chance of figuring out the truth. You can find more of Mill’s writing here. It’s pretty dense reading, but I think it’s definitely worth a look through. Of all the essays I’ve read in library school this is the one that has really stuck with me.

The American Library Association has a ton of great resources on banned books. If you start here you can find lists of frequently challenged books, information on banned books week, and information on the Office of Intellectual Freedom.

Jane: Anything but plain!

Through good luck and coincidence I got onto a mailing list to receive advance copies of YA books once a month. I was more than a little skeptical when Jane arrived on my doorstep last week. A modern retelling of Jane Eyre? With the Mr. Rochester character named Nico Rathburn? As a good friend and I joked, Charlotte Bronte must be spinning in her grave!

Well, dear readers, I don’t mind admitting when I’m wrong, and this time I was wrong. Very wrong. I picked up Jane last night determined to give it a try and to my surprise it was wonderful. Really, really wonderful. Despite all the other things I have to do, and all the other books I have to read, I finished Jane in less than 24 hours.

After losing her parents, Jane can no longer afford to go to college. Her siblings aren’t exactly the helpful or loving type, so she decides she needs a job. She becomes a nanny to rock star Nico Rathburn’s daughter and is whisked into the wild world of the rich and famous. You can see where this is going.If you’ve read Jane Eyre or skimmed over the Cliff Notes before a test, you know what happens next. If you haven’t, stop reading this now! Shame on you! You should read Jane Eyre before reading modern adaptations of it! Continuing on… Mr. Rathburn falls for his serious nanny, but a dark secret in his past threatens to keep them apart (ahem, crazy wife in the attic, ahem).

It isn’t the story that captivated me. It was the writing, and Lindner’s artful creation of a modern Jane. Jane is such a strong character, which is always my favorite thing to find in any book. She paints, listens to classical music, speaks her mind and sticks to her convictions.  I really had a hard time putting the book down this morning to go to work. There’s something about it that sticks with you and makes you want more.

Now, I haven’t reread Jane Eyre in quite a few years, so I won’t get into comparisons and arguments about how the original is better. Does that really matter? I think it’s better to take them as two completely separate works. Compare it to the original and of course you won’t like it, but take my advice and go in with a fresh state of mind and it will win your heart.

Jane will be out in hardcover in October. I highly recommend it if you’re in the mood for an entertaining read.

Chicken Apple Walnut Wraps

Today I made dinner for everyone! It was fun, and yummy! I made chicken apple walnut wraps, which sounds like a weird combination but turned out to be really, really yummy!

I got the recipe from foodfit.com. You can find it here: http://www.foodfit.com/recipes/recipe.asp?rid=1486 but I had to tweak it a little based on what we had/what I like/more people.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup of white merlot
pinch of salt
13 black peppercorns
juice of 2 lemons
thyme
5 chicken breasts
10 tbsps non-fat sour cream
2 1/2 apples chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
1 red onion chopped
some fresh parsley (I just chopped up a few sprigs of it…)
some chopped walnuts (not sure how many I put in… I kept adding more!)
flour tortilla

I followed the directions more or less exactly as the recipe called for, so here is what they directed:

1. In a large saucepan combine the wine, salt, peppercorns, lemon juice and thyme. Add the chicken breast and enough water to cover them. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the chicken cool in the liquid.

2. In a large bowl, mix the sour cream, apples, celery, red onion and parsley together.

3. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove it from the liquid. (Discard the liquid.) Cut the chicken into small pieces, add it to the sour cream mixture and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in the walnuts. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Photos

Now that I’m finally getting back into the swing of my 365 project I got a Flickr account! I have no idea why I waited so long, but from now on I’ll hopefully be uploading my photos there regularly! You can see my photostream here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/carnivalofsorts/

Just for kicks, here are two of my favorite photos I’ve taken this week!


Rachael’s cat, Zeal. He LOVES the camera. Every time I point it at him he rushes up to me. This one makes me laugh.


I adore the look on Lily’s face!

The Suburbs

It really shouldn’t come as any surprise that I love The Arcade Fire. An indie band? From Canada? That has too many members to count? Yeah, I am so there. So when I heard they were coming out with their third album They won my heart when they came out with Neon Bible a few years ago, and then they won my everlasting devotion when I got around to hearing Funeral, their first album. So when I heard they were releasing their third album days before Steve and I were supposed to see them in concert I was overjoyed!

And, dear readers, I am happy to say that they did not disappoint. The Suburbs doesn’t have the same intensity as the previous two albums, but the intensity is still there. And oh, how I love it.

Like I said, Steve and I were lucky enough to see them just a few days after the album was released. Thanks to the internet we had already heard the songs and knew all the words (don’t worry, we bought the physical record and have done our part to financially support them!!) which made the show all the more fun.

The concert was just…breathtaking. I’ve seen some good shows in my day, but this was simply magnificent! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a band play with such energy and somehow keep it up throughout the entire show!

Spoon opened for them, which is always a pleasure. This was the fourth time I’ve seen Spoon live (how the heck did that happen!?) and although they’re no longer one of my favorite bands, they haven’t disappointed me with a live performance yet! To my shock and amazement they played a cover of one of my favorite Wolf Parade songs, Modern World.

After that is only got better. I really can’t say enough about how entertaining, moving, and intense The Arcade Fire is to see live. We didn’t really take a lot of video during the concert, but here’s one of them playing Neighborhood #3: Power Out.

I didn’t take a lot of video, but I did take tons and tons of pictures. Most of them are blurry, but here are some of the ones that I think turned out pretty well.


Spoon playing, being amazing as always.

Now begins the Arcade Fire pictures….


I love this picture. I think it really shows just how much energy every single person brought to the stage. Look at them! So crazy.
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Look at her go! Regine Chassagne is amazing to watch on stage. I think this picture is from either Haiti or The Sprawl II.

The stage set up was pretty cool. The screen was sort of set up to look like a billboard (such as one you might see in the suburbs…get it!) At one point they projected these creepy ladies on the screen during a song.

Now–go out and find some Arcade Fire songs to listen to! Some of my personal favorites from The Suburbs are Modern Man, Sprawl II, City With No Children and We Used To Wait.