In honor of Banned Books Week happening later this month, every Staff Pick of the Week this month will feature Banned Books.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of books that people have attempted to ban, but we believe you should choose what you read – not someone else. Young Adult books seem to be the highest targeted, but there is attempted censorship in every genre. Here we list some absolutely wonderful Nonfiction books (found in our adult shelves) that are on ‘popular banned lists’ that are not also listed on the month’s new Staff Pick Banned Books Adult Nonfiction Bookmark. Please note that this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. Find out more at Banned Books Week’s official page.
Banned books are books that have been removed from the shelves of a library, bookstore, or classroom due to controversial content. A book may be challenged (an attempt to ban) or banned on political, religious, sexual, or social grounds. The acts of banning or challenging a book are a serious matter, because these are forms of censorship which strike at our freedom to read.
Black Boy by Richard Wright
Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger (we also have the film based on the novel)
I Saw Esau by Iona and Peter Opie
Kaffir Boy: The True Story Of A Black Youths Coming Of Age In Apartheid South Africa
Published: Oct 07, 1998 by Free Press
Find in the Library
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This week’s staff pick is “Simply Sensational Cookies” by Nancy Baggett. With school back in session and the end of summer, you might need a pick me up, and what better way than a batch of delicious homemade cookies? The staff has tried several recipes from this book, and they’ve all come out so well that the results don’t last long. The directions are easy to follow, each recipe is marked as to it’s level of ease (and many are ‘very easy’), and we recommend reading the blurbs at the beginning of each recipe because she has some great tips like rinsing raisins in hot water to keep them plump and from drying out the cookies. Her introduction is also chock-full of great baking advice. This book passed our staff test, and we highly recommend it any time you need a new cookie recipe.
“Sophisticated, contemporary cookie recipes from one of America’s most respected baking experts. From bestselling cookbook author and award-winner Nancy Baggett comes “Simply Sensational Cookies, ” a delicious collection of cookie recipes that covers both the classics that mom used to make and modern, innovative ideas for the adventurous baker. Whether you’re a novice baker, an experienced cook, or a parent looking for new treats to try, this is the ideal cookbook for cookie-lovers, with more than 200 recipes ranging from fast and simple no-bake preparations to challenging projects for experienced bakers.Features more than 200 recipes, from traditional cookies like chocolate chip to sophisticated, savory cocktail nibblesIncludes gorgeous and inspiring full-color photography throughout Nancy Baggett is also the author of “Kneadlessly Simple” (Wiley) and twelve other highly respected cookbooks
Whether you need quick treats for the kids to snack on or fancy fare for your next cocktail party, “Simply Sensational Cookies” offers a wide range of recipes that will satisfy your every craving.”–From Goodreads.com
Simply Sensational Cookies
Published: Sep 26, 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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This week’s staff pick is Lexicon by Max Barry. And it’s a doozy. Our staff member read this a year ago and still can’t’ stop talking about it.
“At an exclusive school somewhere outside of Arlington, Virginia, students aren’t taught history, geography, or mathematics–at least not in the usual ways. Instead, they are taught to persuade. Here the art of coercion has been raised to a science. Students harness the hidden power of language to manipulate the mind and learn to break down individuals by psychographic markers in order to take control of their thoughts. The very best will graduate as “poets”, adept wielders of language who belong to a nameless organization that is as influential as it is secretive.
Whip-smart orphan Emily Ruff is making a living running a three-card Monte game on the streets of San Francisco when she attracts the attention of the organization’s recruiters. She is flown across the country for the school’s strange and rigorous entrance exams, where, once admitted, she will be taught the fundamentals of persuasion by Bronte, Eliot, and Lowell–who have adopted the names of famous poets to conceal their true identities. For in the organization, nothing is more dangerous than revealing who you are: Poets must never expose their feelings lest they be manipulated. Emily becomes the school’s most talented prodigy until she makes a catastrophic mistake: She falls in love.
Meanwhile, a seemingly innocent man named Wil Jamieson is brutally ambushed by two strange men in an airport bathroom. Although he has no recollection of anything they claim he’s done, it turns out Wil is the key to a secret war between rival factions of poets and is quickly caught in their increasingly deadly crossfire. Pursued relentlessly by people with powers he can barely comprehend and protected by the very man who first attacked him, Wil discovers that everything he thought he knew about his past was fiction. In order to survive, must journey to the toxically decimated town of Broken Hill, Australia, to discover who he is and why an entire town was blown off the map.
As the two narratives converge, the shocking work of the poets is fully revealed, the body count rises, and the world crashes toward a Tower of Babel event which would leave all language meaningless. Lexicon is a brilliant thriller that explores language, power, identity, and our capacity to love–whatever the cost.”–Goodreads.com
A Discovery of Witches is the first in a trilogy by Deborah Harkness. The trilogy is now complete with July’s publishing of The Book of Life, and the series is so consistently great that really, we think you should read all three. These books are a fantastic combination of fantasy, historical fiction, romance, suspense and adventure. Our staff member thought they were like a more accessible (and fantasy instead of science fiction) Neal Stephenson.
“Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.
Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism” –Taken from Goodreads.com
The Library has these in regular and large type, as well as audiobooks. Please note, the large type works are on order and should be in soon.
Stay connected: Facebook, Twitter, blog and Summer.
2013 was a phenomenal year for books, and there are a lot of “best of 2013” lists. If you don’t know what to read this summer, why don’t you check out one of last year’s best?
Andrew Carnegie Medal Shortlist & Similar Works
Best of the Best Books List: 2013 Critics’ Top Picks from TheDailyBeast.com
The Best New Books of 2013 from Barnes and Noble
NPR’s Book Concierge
You can also look at our Staff Pick of the Week Blog Posts (collected here on Facebook) or Bookmarks when you visit the library!
Don’t forget that everything you read counts towards our Summer Reading program!