Moral Compass Distorted by Northern Lights?

I used to stare covetously at this cover in Borders

I used to stare covetously at this cover in Borders

THE DEFENDANT: The Golden Compass (a.k.a. Northern Lights), Philip Pullman

THE VERDICT: The His Dark Materials series as a whole was the second most frequently challenged book of 2008, with The Golden Compass itself coming in at #4 on the list in 2007, according to the ALA. In addition, Philip Pullman was the second most challenged author in 2008 and the fifth most challenged in 2007. He has also been called the most dangerous author in Britain. So, why the sudden interest in the books in the late 2000s when they were published in the mid-90s? Much like The Hunger Games, ire against the books reached fever pitch when the movie adaptation thrust it (back) into the public eye. It also became the target of Catholic groups going on the offensive against the movie, which, given the plot of the book, may have only proven its point.

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I Am a Librarian

Look, I… I may not be an explorer or a treasure-seeker or a gunfighter, Mr. O’Connell, but I am proud of what I am… I… am a librarian.

- Evelyn O’Connell, The Mummy

Happy National Librarian Week! Go thank a librarian.

The Perks of Looking for the Bluest Underpants

Big news in the banned books world. The ALA’s list of the top ten most frequently challenged books of 2013 has been released. You may recognize a lot of familiar targets, including The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time IndianFifty Shades of Grey, The Hunger GamesLooking for Alaska, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (almost all of which we’ve reviewed on the blog). Captain Underpants has also hung onto its place at the top for reasons I’ll never entirely understand. Graphic novel Bone joins the list, along with other fresh kindling. Read More…

The Girls’ Guide to Horror; Full Interview with Shannon Barnsley


I sat down with writer, blogger, and fellow Hampshire alum Lydia Hadfield to talk about women in horror. You can read the full interview on her blog here. And, if you happen to live in the Brunswick area, quotes from me, local librarians, and local teenagers will appear in her article on the matter for The Brunswick Citizen.

Originally posted on Sediment and Scrawl:

Fantasy writer and banned books blogger Shannon Barnsley  and I chatted by way of email interview. We talked about girls and the YA horror genre. Quotes from Shannon’s responses will be appear in my “Girls’ Guide to Horror” article along with input from Brunswick librarians and teenagers. The story will be published in The Brunswick Citizen newspaper this coming Thursday.

The Full, Unadulterated Shannon Barnsley Talks About Girls in YA Horror Interview is featured below!

Barnsley’s work is published in Redhead Magazine. She also writes about the politics of banned comics, books and movies for Bound and Gagged.

HADFIELD: How would you define the horror genre?

BARNSLEY: Oh, man, this is a tough one. We often think of horror as a more modern genre, but we’ve been telling stories that frighten us around the fire since we’ve had a fire to keep the things that scare us at bay. There are elements of…

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Table Top Day

Happy Table Top Day, readers! For those who don’t know, Table Top Day (also known as International Table Top Day), is a day dedicated to table top games. This includes board games, card games, table top RPGs, and other table-based gaming that involves live human interaction. Last year the event was marked with festivities on every continent (those paladin penguins are hardcore gamers, you know) and the goal is to make this year’s celebration even bigger. Read More…

Book to Screen a Give and Take

Readers! I bring you the trailer of the upcoming movie adaptation of banned classic The Giver by Lois Lowry. If nothing else, the sudden surge in popularity of dystopian novels, particularly aimed at younger audiences, has allowed this movie to exist after Jeff Bridges tried for years to make it happen. I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. I really don’t like the characters being aged up and the medication being changed to injections because it makes the creepy shit seem more palatable or more overtly dystopian sinister rather than our own society’s creepy behavior mirrored back at us. Read More…

Overthinking Overdrinking: St. Paddy’s Purim


An Interfaith perspective on St. Patrick’s Day and Purim. I raise a glass to all my readers, be they Pagan, Catholic, Jewish, or none of the above. Let’s drink and be merry together regardless.

Originally posted on Archimedes' Fulcrum:

Sometimes it is hard to explain one’s interfaith background. Sometimes it causes confusion in a synagogue when you forget to take off your Celtic cross necklace, though to be fair, in my experience, more people understand the significance of tzitzit at a Pagan Pride festival than on the street in Providence. 

Sometimes, however, it is just plain awesome. And this year is one such time. 

This year, Purim, the drunken celebration often called ‘the Jewish Halloween,’ which commemorates yet another failed attempt to exterminate, convert, or otherwise make Jewishness not happen, comes just one day before St. Patrick’s Day, the most well-known and pervasively-celebrated Catholic saint’s day in Protestant-swarmed America. And being Jewish and of Irish extraction… well, pass the Manischewitz and the Guinness, bhoys, it’s shaping up to be a helluva weekend! 

Now, I for one appreciate the fact that St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by Irish and non-Irish…

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