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Fragments and Shrapnel – Banned and Burned

The feel of autumn was in the air this morning as I drove to the grocery store for emergency coffee beans. I was comforted by the smell of fireplaces and the changing leaves. I had visions of rainy days to come “forcing” me to stay inside and knit and read.Before I moved here I lived in the Midwest with its hot and humid summers and unbearably cold winters. I miss the thunderstorms but not the extreme weather. For me autumn has always been a nice reprise before the snow starts flying or the rain pouring.

Autumn means many things to me including taking out my warmer clothes and putting away my “beach reading” in exchange for heavier, meatier books. I pull out the classics and tombs too big to carry on mass transit. I also look forward to making heartier soups and stews and eating winter squashes.

Last week we in the Pacific NW had lots to cheer about over the published word. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled two Oregon statues that criminalize distributing sex education and other non-obscene materials to minors unconstitutional. Under the law booksellers could be punished for selling books like Judy Blume’s Forever. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t have made it out of puberty if Judy Blume hadn’t come along to make me feel normal. The lawsuit was partially backed by my favorite bookstore on earth, Powell’s Books. You can read more about it here.  Powell’s.Com has an interesting list of banned books and their take on the lawsuit.

Speaking of banned books (good segue, eh?) September 25th through October 1st is Banned Book Week. I get an odd satisfaction out of reading banned book lists because it spotlights just how stupid people can be and the power behind the written word.  The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression has a list of banned books and stories behind the challenges. It’s not the most well-written website out there but it does have some very interesting points.

Fall reading lists are few and far between as most publications skip those for holiday reading guides. Amazon.Com does have a list of hot new fall releases including two entries for Jonathan Franzen’s new book Freedom. I’m still trying to figure out why the publishing industry is slobbering all over this book. I tried to read The Corrections (twice!) and could just not get in to the book. I am, however, slobbering over Guillermo delToro’s second book in The Strain trilogy, The Fall. I inhaled The Strain this summer and couldn’t wait for the next book to come out. I have it on hold at the library and I’m positive I can get it by oh next summer.

Autumn is all about harvests and reaping the hard work we did over the summer. This year I plan on focusing on projects I’ve been neglecting and spending more time reading and writing… banned books or otherwise. What about you? What does autumn mean for you and what are your plans? Have you read any good banned books lately?

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About Anna Alexander

I am a freelance writer and producer living in the Pacific Northwest. My husband and I live with our cat Grendel who lets us pay his mortgage.

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