Category Archives: Books & Reading

Books & Reading

Report finds increase in attempts to ban books | KPBS Public Media

By Jade Hindmon / KPBS Midday Edition Co-Host, Andrew Bracken / Producer, KPBS Midday Edition

Published September 19, 2022 at 4:03 PM PDT

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A new report from the American Library Association found a rise in the number of book banning attempts throughout the country. To help counter the trend, libraries this week are commemorating Banned Books Week, whose 2022 theme is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”

Tarryn Mento/KPBS
Downtown San Diego’s public library is shown in this undated image.

“I should say, it doesn’t stop with just banning books. What we’re seeing across the country is they’re banning voices, modern voices, librarians, teachers,” said Patrick Stewart, CEO of the San Diego Public Library Foundation. “It’s gone beyond just the banning of a book, or a certain piece of literature or textbook.”

Stewart joined San Diego Public Library director Misty Jones on Midday Edition Monday to talk about their reaction to the report’s findings.

“It’s disheartening,” Jones said. “It is seeing just the increase in the number not only of challenges, but the extent and the links to what people are going for, these challenges going before school boards, the personal attacks on librarians and teachers for doing their job.”

Many of the books being targeted involve topics on race and sexuality.

Source: https://www.kpbs.org/news/local/2022/09/19/report-finds-increase-in-attempts-to-ban-books

Why You Should Turn Subtitles On For Absolutely Everything – CNET

I use subtitles all the time. No matter what.

By Mark Serrels, Sept. 19, 2022 5:10 p.m. PT

overhead shot of a video presentation about sex education on a laptop
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

“Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”

That’s Academy Award winner Bong Joon-ho, quoted from a Golden Globes acceptance speech all the way back in January 2020. He was talking about subtitles, which, despite being completely necessary and helpful and beyond useful, are apparently hated by some people.

Bong Joon Ho: “Once you overcome the one inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films” https://t.co/oWOsq8YtW4 pic.twitter.com/mJAJhEIH4U— Variety (@Variety) January 6, 2020

Almost immediately afterward, Bong pulled in a ridiculous four Oscars with Parasite — a fantastically made, multilayered dark comedy that delves deep into the underbelly of class divides. Parasite was an extremely deserving winner. You should absolutely watch this movie.

Source: https://www.cnet.com/culture/entertainment/why-you-should-turn-subtitles-on-for-absolutely-everything/

Peak Cuteness, and Other Revelations from the Science of Puppies | The New Yorker

A new book explores how dogs and people grow up together.

By Rivka Galchen, September 18, 2022

Photographs by Peter Fisher

Alexandra Horowitz, the head scientist at Barnard College’s Dog Cognition Lab, has conducted a longitudinal observational study on the first year of life of a member of Canis lupus familiaris. In other words, like many others, Horowitz got a pandemic puppy. And she paid a lot of attention to that puppy, whom she and her family named Quiddity, or Quid, meaning “essence of.” She chronicles this in “The Year of the Puppy,” a book with an unsurprisingly adorable cover.

Since Horowitz already had two dogs, a cat, and a son, her motivation for getting a puppy is somewhat convincingly presented as being in the service of science. Horowitz has written several popular books about dogs and dog science: “Our Dogs, Ourselves,” “Being a Dog,” and “Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know.” In her new book, Horowitz’s goal is to think and write about dogs in a way that is distinct from usual pet-related fare about how to teach a puppy not to lunge at children and not to increase your household paper-towel budget. Instead, she aims to try to better understand a young dog, from Day One to day three hundred and sixty-five, as a being in transformation. She wants to write about puppies developmentally.

Source: https://www.newyorker.com/science/elements/peak-cuteness-and-other-revelations-from-the-science-of-puppies

Imaginary Histories: How Tolkien’s Fascination with Language Shaped His Literary World ‹ Literary Hub

Damien Bador on the Origins of a Fantasy Classic

By Damien Bador, April 8, 2021

JRR Tolkien disliked novels that tended toward autobiography, though he did not dispute the fact that an author has no choice but to use his or her own experiences in writing fiction. The Lord of the Rings is most assuredly not an allegory for the 20th century, nor are any of his protagonists a reflection of Tolkien himself. Yet, if there is a domain inextricably intertwined with the life of our author, it is linguistics: comparative philology, to be precise.

From article…

For Tolkien, language and literature necessarily go hand in hand; this is the only way to ensure proper understanding of a text, particularly in the case of ancient texts. Tolkien conveyed this point of view in his analysis of Beowulf, published in The Monsters and the Critics: And Other Essays, which combined philological rigor with literary appreciation at a time when critics generally saw the epic poem merely as a source of historical information distorted by myth.

The importance of language is easily discernible in Tolkien’s obsession with finding the perfect turn of phrase, even if it meant reworking certain sentences countless times. His preoccupation with linguistic detail also found its way into his stories themselves, focusing on the languages spoken by the various characters. No one who has read The Lord of the Rings can fail to have been struck by the passages in Quenya or Sindarin, the two main Elvish languages, and in perusing the novels’ appendices, it becomes clear to the reader that these are true languages, each with its own specific grammar and vocabulary, and that Tolkien also paid close attention to the evolution of these languages, and to their relationships to one another.

Source: https://lithub.com/imaginary-history-how-tolkiens-fascination-with-languages-shaped-his-literary-legacy/

What Do Dogs Know About Us? – The Atlantic

Man’s best friend is surprisingly skilled at getting inside your head.

By Alexandra Horowitz, September 16, 2022

Bruce Davidson / Magnum

Quid and I have struck a deal. Every morning she flies up the stairs, leaps onto our bed, and attacks my nose with her sharp little teeth. And I am awakened.

Oh wait, no; we don’t have a deal. She just does that. It is vexing and charming at once. Just at the moment of nose-attack I can smell the sleep collected on her breath and fur. It mingles with the odor of the other dogs in the room and is beginning to smell, to me, like home. It has been six months since she left her natal litter of 10 siblings and joined our family of three humans, two dogs, and one cat.

This article has been excerpted from Alexandra Horowitz’s forthcoming book, The Year of the Puppy: How Dogs Become Themselves (Viking)

And it has been a few months since she went from being a very young puppy to an adolescent, her brain trailing her body in development. Recently, she has become more interested in contact of any sort with us. She minds where we are, beating a hasty path after us if we rise from a chair to leave the room, sometimes licking our ankles as we go. She lies next to me on the couch, her body contorted to maximize body-to-body contact.

Source: https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2022/09/what-dogs-know-about-people/671454/