The American Library Association reports that 2022 saw more attempts to have books removed from schools and public libraries than in any prior year this century—indeed, it documented nearly twice as many attempted bans in 2022 than in 2021. Notably, the common thread in these aggressive efforts is the subject that binds the most-challenged titles: Most of them address themes of LGBT+ identity or gender expression. On our latest episode of the Smithsonian magazine podcast “There’s More to That,” I talk with journalist Colleen Connolly about Thomas Morton’s New English Canaan, the first book ever to be suppressed in North America. What did the Puritans find so threatening about it, and how has this book echoed through subsequent centuries? Then I’m joined by Carla Hayden, the librarian of Congress, for a wide-ranging conversation about the history of book bans in the United States, how a resurgent wave of book bans in many states differs from those of prior eras and why organized attempts to prevent specific people from reading specific books usually fail.
By Kathleen Bangs, CNN, Updated 12:46 PM EDT, Tue September 12, 2023
It’s one thing standing in line to watch the blockbuster film “Oppenheimer.”
It’s another thing entirely queuing up in a remote desert to experience the location of the film’s most pivotal scene.
But if you’re a fan of atomic history and can swing central New Mexico this October, your pilgrimage through the Jornada del Muerto (Dead Man’s Journey) will be so worth the effort.
Saturday, October 21, presents a rare opportunity to visit not just one but two scientifically significant and movie-famous destinations on the same day – each occupying opposite ends of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Editor’s Note: One part of my screenplay-in-progress is set at the Trinity Site in New Mexico…
Like the rest of the world, the Library of Congress was very saddened to hear of the passing of Jimmy Buffett this past weekend. His passing was, to us, all the more poignant as Mr. Buffett’s iconic recording, “Margaritaville,” was added to the Library’s National Recording Registry just earlier this year.
At the time, Mr. Buffett expressed his great pleasure at having his song selected, providing to us not only a wonderful interview on the song and his career but also generously sharing his memories of its making.
At the time of its induction, esteemed music writer (and Buffett fan) Scott Atwell wrote for the Library the following essay. We share it below.
Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…
By MEAD GRUVER, Updated 4:35 AM PDT, September 5, 2023
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — After parents in a rural and staunchly conservative Wyoming County joined nationwide pressure on librarians to pull books they considered harmful to youngsters, the local library board obliged with new policies making such books a higher priority for removal — and keeping out of collections.
But that’s not all the library board has done.
Campbell County also withdrew from the American Library Association, in what’s become a movement against the professional organization that has fought against book bans.
There’s a book that sits on a shelf in my room that routinely snags my attention and fills me with the exact dread of accidentally making eye contact with an ex at a crowded party. Look away! my brain screams. But it’s too late. Regret, shame and annoyance flood in, and I am once more in a silent standoff with that book I keep meaning to read and never do.
It’s not long or a classic, and it’s certainly not the only book I own and haven’t finished. But something about the spine always catches my eye, reminding me again and again (and again and again) of broken promises and literary shortcomings. One day, surely, I will finally pick up Z.Z. Packer’s “Drinking Coffee Elsewhere.” Right?
When Christopher Mazurek realizes he’s dreaming, it’s always the small stuff that tips him off.
The first time it happened, Mazurek was a freshman at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. In the dream, he found himself in a campus dining hall. It was winter, but Mazurek wasn’t wearing his favorite coat.“I realized that, OK, if I don’t have the coat, I must be dreaming,” Mazurek says. That epiphany rocked the dream like an earthquake. “Gravity shifted, and I was flung down a hallway that seemed to go on for miles,” he says. “My left arm disappeared, and then I woke up.”
Most people rarely if ever realize that they’re dreaming while it’s happening, what’s known as lucid dreaming. But some enthusiasts have cultivated techniques to become self-aware in their sleep and even wrest some control over their dream selves and settings. Mazurek, 24, says that he’s gotten better at molding his lucid dreams since that first whirlwind experience, sometimes taking them as opportunities to try flying or say hi to deceased family members.
Other lucid dreamers have used their personal virtual realities to plumb their subconscious minds for insights or feast on junk food without real-world consequences. But now, scientists have a new job for lucid dreamers: to explore their dreamscapes and report out in real time.