[Libs-Or] Tuesday Topic: Intellectual freedom beach reads for 2017
rossbk at multcolib.org
Tue Jun 13 14:04:49 PDT 2017
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intellectual freedom implications for libraries of all types. Each message
is sponsored by a member of OLA's Intellectual Freedom Committee
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Tuesday Topic: Intellectual freedom beach reads for 2017
Freedom of speech includes the freedom to read, so why not exercise that
right this summer by reading some books related to intellectual freedom?
We’ve separated our suggestions into two lists: one for adult readers and
one for children and teens, although of course we’ll be the last ones to
tell you to limit yourself to either one.
Books for adults (or kids who like to read up)
Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction by Nigel Warburton (2009,
nonfiction). Questions about “free speech” have been coming up a lot in the
news, and this slim book will give you an overview of the main arguments
about what free speech is and why it matters.
Free Speech: Ten Principles For A Connected World by Timothy Garton Ash
(2016, nonfiction). Want something more than a very short introduction?
Maybe an in-depth, international exploration of free speech and how it can
be a tool to combine freedom and diversity in our ever-more-connected
“cosmopolis” of a world? Then this is the book for you.
The Book Thieves: The Nazi Looting of Europe's Libraries and the Race to
Return a Literary Inheritance by Anders Rydell, translated by Henning
Koch (2017, nonfiction). The Nazis infamously burned books, but there is
much more to the story than that. They also undertook massive programs to
plunder, collect, and catalog massive libraries of books written by Jews
and others whom they despised. The goal of the Nazis was not just to remove
these books, but to control the knowledge within them in order to tell
their own Aryan history of the world. This book documents work by current
librarians and historians to identify the stolen book collections and
return them to their rightful owners.
Watchlist: 32 Stories by Persons of Interest, edited by Bryan Hurt
(2016, fiction). A big collection of short stories by an international
group of literary and science fiction authors (Aimee Bender! T.C. Boyle!
Charles Yu! Lots more!) speculating on a present and future where everyone
is watched and also, many times, simultaneously watching.
Revolution for Dummies: Laughing Through the Arab Spring by Bassem
Youssef (2017, biography). Bassem Youssef has had a fascinating life:
former heart surgeon turned social media star and political satirist, and
now an exile from his home country of Egypt. Both a biography and a
personal account of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, this is a story of
satire, free (and not free) speech, and the man who Egyptian officials
believed was a CIA operative on a “secret mission to bring down the country
Books for kids and teens (or adults who like to read young)
Ink and Bone: The Great Library by Rachel Caine (2015, young-adult
fiction). Get your road trip fix by traveling through time into history
rewritten where the omnipotent Great Library of Alexandria is now found in
every city, monitoring and controlling the movement of knowledge and
information through alchemy. This dystopian has it all – alchemy, secret
tunnels, treason, adventure, spies, friendship, and books upon books. And
at the heart of it all, readers follow Jess Brightwell who is being
confronted with the importance of loyalty, knowledge, freedom, and human
The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand by Jen Swann Downey (2014,
juvenile fiction) is exactly what it sounds like: a secret society of
swash-buckling, time-traveling, karate-chopping, evil-fighting librarians
on a mission to protect anyone throughout history who has gotten into
trouble over words. So, just the typical day of all librarians, right?
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (2014, young-adult
graphic novel) topped the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom’s Top Ten
Most Challenged Books of 2016. Nominee and winner of multiple awards,
including the Michael L. Printz and the Caldecott Honor, this book contains
the classic “sins” of drug use, profanity, LGBT characters, and sexually
explicit and mature themes. All this over the course of a summer at a lake
house on the beach, where Rose watches her parents fall apart. If that
doesn’t pique your interest, nothing will.
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (2008, young-adult fiction) is the first
book in the Little Brother series by longtime intellectual freedom
proponent Cory Doctorow. In this opener to the series, the Department of
Homeland Security has created a police state in San Francisco following a
major terrorist attack. Every citizen is now monitored as a potential
terrorist. Following long interrogations and unjust imprisonment, Marcus
and his friends must take down the ruling DHS because, like Doctorow
writes, “It’s not about doing something shameful. It’s about doing
something private. It’s about your life belonging to you.”
Candor by Pam Bachorz (2009, young-adult fiction) takes readers to sunny
Candor, Florida, a model community with a secret: teens are brought to this
picturesque town to be transformed into polite and submissive citizens
through the power of subliminal messages. But what the town’s founder
doesn’t know is that his son, Oscar, is using messages of his own to help
the clients escape before they’re reprogrammed. When Oscar falls in love
with a classic bad-girl client, he’s challenged to recognize his own
cruelty and the freedom of thought required for love.
You can find all of these titles, along with previous years’ picks, on the OLA
Intellectual Freedom Committee’s Goodreads page
-Ross and Shun-Sho
Chair, Oregon Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee
Information Services Librarian, Multnomah County Library
rossbk at multcolib.org
Youth Services Associate II, Crook County Library
sfong at crooklib.org
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