“You can have my book when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers”

The subject line comes from an awesome PR campaign by the public libraries of Wyoming. It is the perfect kick-off for this week because……

HAPPY BANNED BOOKS WEEK!!! Celebrate that most treasured of our freedoms – the freedom to think and read what you want – by reading a banned book. Choose one of mine. Or one of Chris Crutcher’s or one that made the Top Ten List last year.

Do you think we have come so far in America we don’t have to worry about banned books? Then read this gay-bashing, librarian loathing, freedom crushing article.

Speaking of Crutcher….. we have an Amazing Author Alert: Chris Crutcher is coming to Syracuse. THIS WEEK! Come out on Wednesday night to hear Crutcher talk about “Turning Real Life into Fiction” at the Onondaga County Public Library. BH and I will be there. If you see us, please say hello. Chris is one of the most important YA writers of our generation and a great speaker – this is a terrific opportunity. He will also be signing books and reading from his newest book, Deadline, at the Dewitt Barnes & Noble on Tuesday night at 7:30pm (thanks for the heads-up, ShelfLife.)

Many thanks to all the conference-goers who came out to the SCBWI Fall Philly on Saturday. Special thanks to for driving me to and fro (w/ great tunes playing) and former regional RA Laurie Krause Kiernan for passing on five boxes of unloved canning jars that I will now attempt to fill with applesauce. I really appreciated all of the kind things and the stories that people told me over the course of the day. Allow me to reiterate what I said in my speech – turn off the Internet and go work on your book now. Then go for a walk or a run!

Had a great time with two of our daughters, their beloveds, and various friends at the PA Renaissance Festival on Sunday. We got to hear the Tartan Terrors again. I think I might have to become a groupie. Photos of all the festivities as soon as we get our Internet and server problems solved. At the rate it’s going, it may be a month or so.

I have SO MUCH WRITING to do it isn’t even funny, but it doesn’t matter because it is October and October is the best month.

17 Replies to ““You can have my book when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers””

  1. It was terrific to meet you. October is my favorite month, too. October makes me think of apples and pumpkins and leaves, of acorns and busy squirrels. It’s the month that makes me nostalgic for things that never were, I think.

    And starting today, I’m reducing internet time and going walking. All thanks to you for that one.

    I’m glad you had great weather for the RenFaire. Happy applesauce-making and writing! (Oh, and if the canning doesn’t work, applesauce freezes like charm!)

  2. October is the best month. The things it makes one think of are why we chose to have our anniversary that month (and of course what it’s the anniversary of).

    I rather like the idea of people defending their right to read what they wish with their lives; the juxtaposition of a cause associated with the right with one associated more with the left is one of those sudden reminders of life’s complexity that most pleases us.

  3. That sounds as though you’re paraphrasing Mark Twain about the longest winter he ever spent being one summer in San Francisco. 🙂

  4. ALA, pornography, and freedom

    Guess which word does not belong in the subject line? According to articles like the one you gave us the link to (and thanks for that slap up side the head to remind us of all the folks out there who think we have some sort of agenda when we promote free speech and free access to books), it would be freedom. I am pleased that my name appears in websites linked to PABBIS and other incredibly scary censorship groups!

    Instead of Professor Nana perhaps I need to adopt a new pseudonym, Pornographer Nana, perhaps?


  5. wow, new euphanism: “intergenerational intimacy” that’s the funniest I’ve heard, not the concept but how they’ve blanketed pedophilia as “intergenerational intimacy”…gosh

  6. now, im not saying that i agree with everything that the “gay-bashing, librarian loathing, freedom crushing” author said, but there were a couple of things i did find troubling in her article. for instance, the lack of books from her perspective. i dont have to agree with her to think that she, and those who think as she does, should have access to books written supporting their beliefs, just as those with more liberal viewpoints should have more liberal literature available to them. i also think that she made a good point about what children are exposed to. i think that parents have a right to control what their children read, especially in their pre-teen years. there are books out there that an elementary-aged child might not be able to handle appropriately. to me, its not so different from the mpaa, that decides what movies should be available to what age groups. not that i believe their system is infallible either, but i wouldnt want my eight year old cousin to be able to freely wander into a theatre and see a film full of graphic sex or gorey violence. she simply isnt old, mature, or experienced enough to understand the contexts from which these movies come. that is why i am supportive of their ratings system. it would be nearly impossible to set out such a system for books, and it would surely fail to be a fair and accurate method, especially for the first few years. however, in my humble opinion, there should be something limiting what children can read. almost every “romance novel” contains graphic chapters describing so-and-so’s quivering such-and-suches. as far as i know, there is nothing in place to prevent children of any age from walking into any major bookseller and purchasing “coffeetable books” of images that were originally published in magazines only available to those over the age of eighteen. these books arent sealed in plastic covers, dont have warnings or age advisories on the cover, and in many cases are located on shelves right at eye level with gradeschoolers. this is troubling to me.
    im not a confrontational person in general, but i have certain beliefs i am not willing to compomise on. thank you for providing a blog where we can all comment, exercising our freedom of expression, to enter into an open and beneficial dialogue with those whose opinions differ from our own.

  7. thank you for the discussion

    I agree with you 100% that the author of that article should be able to find books that support her belief system in a public library. She and I part ways when she attacks the ALA, librarians, and homosexuals. I am very happy to defend all three.

    Parents not only have a right to monitor their children’s reading and viewing habits, they have a responsibility to do so. There have been many discussions of rating systems for books, but no one has been able to devise a workable system, not even close. One of the advantages of the Internet is that parents have more information about books than ever before. Families that actively read books together and discuss them strengthen their family bonds and raise great readers.

    I am not a fan of Big Government. I think that if we implemented a rating system for books, or limited where books can be shelved in a bookstore, we are taking away even more responsibility from parents. If you are going to bring a child into the world, then you have an obligation to provide the child with the kind of visual input and intellectual stimulation that you feel is appropriate for their age.

    Thanks for your kind words and for taking the conversation another step further.

  8. Re: thank you for the discussion

    I also think that article brought up interesting points.

    Who has more control: parents who ask for books to be removed from the library or the people who buy the books for the library in the first place?

    Seems like the latter.

    It must be very hard to make sure you have every viewpoint represented in a balanced way in a library, though!

    Also, I have to admit that the stack of banned books you find on tables at the library or bookstore usually contain all my favorite reads.

  9. Re: thank you for the discussion

    I agree that the author of the article should have been able to find books that support her beliefs, but the hateful attacks she used were unacceptable to me.

    I also agree that parents are to monitor their own children’s reading/viewing. My mother went so far as to allow me to read a certain book, but staple a few pages together b/c she didn’t want me to read certain sexual scenes (I was much younger then). No ratings system needed, just she read the book first- if more parents used that ratings system for everything, maybe parents and children would communicate more.

  10. Laurie, thanks so much for your thoughtful critique this past weekend. I swear, I’m signing off the internet in a minute! I swear! And then I’m gonna work on my novel more. But between your words and Joyce’s, I had a total OMG I’M SUDDENLY BRILLIANT moment at the con. Yes, my setting is deepening line by line. Seriously, True Lightbulb Moment. Thanks for taking the time to work with us con-goers.

    As for banned books, dear lord, once I start on how much I HATE people who try to get them banned, my blood pressure rises and then I REALLY can’t get anything productive done.

    On the PLUS side, having your book banned does increase its exposure and get lots of teens to read it! Woo hoo for that! 🙂

  11. Having been born in October, I wholeheartedly agree that it certainly is the best month.

    I look forward to the day when censorship is an archaic word that our kids have to scramble to look up in the dictionary.

  12. At the bottom of the freedom crushing article it said…Linda Harvey is president of Mission America, a pro-family organization which monitors homosexual activism in youth culture. So I emailed them and told them that Mayor Sanders of San Diego was my new hero! Childish and completely satisfying!!

  13. Linda and I are having a dialog…thought I would share…

    —– Original Message —-
    From: Linda Harvey
    Sent: Tuesday, October 2, 2007 8:52:55 PM
    Subject: Mayor of San Diego–Hero?

    Well, I don’t think my standards for hero and yours are exactly the same, Kimberly. But thanks for letting me know.

    Linda Harvey
    Mission America

    Anyone who has the courage to stand up and remind us that we are all connected is a hero in my book. The title of hero didn’t come when Mayor Sanders realized that love was much more important then anything else, although that is pretty awesome. His courage didn’t come from having an “Ah Ha” moment…we all have those, it came from not denying and suppressing it’s occurence. I read your article about gay literature and banning. It was the same fear based reaction that stops us, all of us, from having more. I know that anything that I write to you has very little chance of changing your mind. You feel safe in the world you have created for yourself and that is your right, but I read your article on homosexuality and books and I watched Mayor Sanders on video on the same day and I thought that real love deserved to be shouted from the rooftops for those people ready to hear it…and for those who are not…it gives you something to do tomorrow.


  14. I got this from the ACLU of TX’s Banned Books Report for the 2005-2006 school year. I graduated from a high school in the KISD school district and I’m happy to report that I escaped relatively unscathed and enjoy reading banned books with “content regarding transgender and gender identity.”

    The school district with highest number of challenges was
    Killeen ISD, which reported 6 book challenges at 5 different
    schools resulting in 3 books being banned and one book being restricted due to “content regarding transgender and gender identity.” Killeen ISD was also responsible for the blacking out of the word “Goddamnit” in Avi’s The Fighting Ground resulting in the only reported case of direct censorship without restriction or banning.

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