Thursday, October 04, 2007

Thursday, October 04, 2007 4:14 pm by Cristina in , , ,    4 comments
Let's begin with controversy. We read in the Norwich Evening News the following:
A crusading mother-of-three has made it her mission to ensure children grow up hearing of only the good things in life. [...]
Mrs Hughes, whose children are 13, 12 and nine, said: “I've seen the way my children respond to news that goes on in real life, whether that be the disappearance of a child, like Madeleine McCann, or bombings, and that gives them enough nightmares.
“Books should give them a sense of good triumphing over evil and let them be rest assured that the goodies will come out on top.”
“It's about encouraging children to read books with positive values. Look at Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, there are some unpleasant characters, but Charlie wins out in the end. That's the type of book we support.”
As part of the campaign, letters have been sent out to school libraries asking them to remove Lemony Snicket books from the shelves and HEF are holding a number of activities, such as Bad Book Bonfires, where they are encouraging people on Guy Fawkes's Night to make their bonfires from “bad books”. Other reads on their “bad book” list include Villette by Charlotte Bronte, The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jeah Rhys, The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson and Shockheaded Peter by Heinrich Hoffman. (Kate Scooter)
We'll narrow down all the (many) things we would like to say to the fact that burning books never ever brought good things. It's a savage, ignorant, medieval response. More good would come from talking to and with the children about these 'bad books', and explaining things properly to them so that they understand and make up their minds. But that's too time-consuming, isn't it? Burning books is so much faster.

EDIT: Check the comment below, it all ended up being a marketing ploy for Lemony Snicket.

A handy example: the Brontë children grew up reading books uncensored by their elders. Oh, alright, they grew up to write 'bad books', though.

Fortunately people out there keep on reading these 'bad books'. Literary Zone looks into imagery and quuotes from Wuthering Heights. Terra Incognita reviews Wuthering Heights at length in Spanish, although not very favourably. And we seem to be going through some sort of Abismós de Pasión revival (Buñuel's take on Wuthering Heights) for many blogs are posting about this film lately. Today's thermidor_mure's turn.

Finally, Curled Up with a Good Book, reviews Maureen Adams's Shaggy Muses.

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  1. OMG! Book burning?! While I agree with her about the news (I can't watch the news. I get nightmares), I am shocked by the book burning. It makes me want to rescue them. Why should all books have happy endings?

  2. Maybe so that way children will get these huge depressions when they realise the world is not at all up to their rosy endings.

    It's a terrible piece of news.

  3. Lordy, check this out:

    It seems it was all a marketing ploy by the Lemony Snicket people. We are not amused! ;)

  4. Thank you, Chris! We admit to having totally fell for it, but deep down we're glad to see it's a hoax - it was awful to think of it being real.