Book Bites: News and Views for October 2

 

Banned Books Week (September 27 – October 3) celebrated the freedom to read with a special focus this year on the children’s books that are disproportionately the targets of challenges and bans. We took a look at some of the surprising titles challenged over the years.

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The Writer’s Trust of Canada announced the shortlist for the 2015 fiction award this week, honoring five titles from a pool of more than 125 entries. The finalists are:

Fifteen Dogs — André Alexis

His Whole Life — Elizabeth Hay

Red Jacket — Pamela Mordecai

Confidence — Russell Smith

The Jaguar’s Children — John Vaillant

The winner will be announced November 3, 2015, and will receive a $25,000 prize.

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The Heart Goes Last, Margaret Atwood’s much buzzed-about new novel was released on September 29. Originally published as an e-book serial, the story centers around a couple living in not-so-distant future where corporate interest rules the land and things are so bad that people will alternate living in a prison for half of their lives just to have a comfortable home to stay in for the other half. There is only one thing that hasn’t changed in this most desolate new economy — love, of course.

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Prince Edward Island attracts scores of visitors making pilgrimages to Green Gables, the fabled, fictionalized abode of L.M. Montgomery’s timeless heroine, but one location deep in the Anne myth is struggling just to stay open. According to a report in the CBC, The schoolhouse where Montgomery once taught can barely afford to stay open much longer. A place of early influence on the author, the problem with the Lower Bedeque schoolhouse, say volunteer operators, is that it isn’t near the other Anne sights, and so gets left off of tourist’s sightseeing agendas. P.E.I., for context, is a sprawling 224 km/139 mi long and 6 km/4 mi wide.

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The #TreatYourShelf hashtag advocated for a little self-indulgence for book lovers this week, suggesting a new book would be the perfect addition to anybody’s fall bookshelf. Don’t mind if I do.

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This week in book history: 1856 — Madame Bovary begins its publication in installments in Revue du Paris, after the book has been deemed too steamy for release. 1943 — Mein Kampf is published in the United States. 1888 — T.S. Eliot is born. 1949 — Jane Smiley is born.

 

    Karen Green

    Karen Green is a freelance writer and big city ex-pat now living in rural Ontario. She writes for numerous print and online publications, and considers her library card to be one of her most valuable possessions.

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