Category Archives: Books

Rumble in the Jungle… of LibraryLand?

Welcome back, intrepid readers, writers, and researchers. It’s a brand new school year, and we embrace it with new… prejudice?

shocked-cat-face

Shocked Tuxedo Cat is Shocked

Let us explain:

There is a publication called VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates that is widely read by those who pick out books for young adult readers (the term “young adult” officially refers to readers ages 12-18, but there is nothing keeping a 30-year-old from reading Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl). On September 22, 2016, VOYA published a review of the book Run by Kody Keplinger. The reviewer, Rachel Axelrod, stated this about the book: “The story contains many references to Bo being bisexual and an abundance of bad language, so it is recommended for mature junior and senior high readers.” (And all this during Bisexual Awareness Week.)

Many people online, librarians as well as bloggers, were upset by this line. Even the author of the book was upset. After all, the sex between straight characters had not been called out for being for “mature” readers. In response to VOYA‘s review, Tristina Wright, herself an author, sent an email to the editor in chief, expressing her concern about the review. Wright is not only bisexual herself, but also the mother of a genderqueer daughter. She was concerned that not only would readers see bisexuality as “something to be warned against,” as well as something only for the consideration of “mature” readers. The editor in chief, Rose Mary Ludt, responded, in part:

Our writers and reviewers have various lifestyles and beliefs and that has never been a concern of mine and usually not even revealed to me unless the writer chooses to do so, so the assumption that I or VOYA magazine might be bi- or any other kind of phobic is just that, your assumption. A misguided one.

Since this is Bi Visibility Week, I understand your need to find and destroy your enemies in a public forum, however, VOYA magazine and I are not your enemies.

Thank you for reading VOYA magazine.

While Wright shared this email with all names blacked out, VOYA had no problems with posting the exchange on their website with all names visible. The magazine did, however, go back later and delete the post.

As you might imagine, hilarity ensued. Or not. Many people, LGBTQ+ people as well as allies, complained to VOYA. VOYA published non-apology after another on their Facebook page, then going back to delete the non-apology posts, comments included, as well as blocking several people from replying to them on Twitter.

Things got so bad that the folks at SorryWatch had to step in:

…Saying “our writers and reviewers have various lifestyles” is like saying “some of my best friends are Black.” DO NOT. (Also, “lifestyles”? Ironic PBR-drinking-and-mustache-cultivation is a lifestyle. Being bisexual is a life, integral to someone’s sense of self.) Finally, the parting shot about “your need to find and destroy your enemies” is just WHACKADOODLE. (Sorrywatch.com)

Sorrywatch.com even gave VOYA a free apology that they could use to defuse the situation. They declined the kind offer. And the situation continued to spiral downward, to the point where all sorts of websites and media are commenting on what was going on:

It remains to be seen how this debacle will continue to affect VOYA; several librarians have declared online that they have not only lost respect for VOYA, but will also no longer use the magazine for book-buying purposes. One reviewer quit as soon as things started going south. A reputable literary agent stated that he would pull his ads from the magazine and encourage others to do the same.

Now what, VOYA?

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Filed under Books, Discrimination, LGBTQ, Prejudice

Captain America: Civil War

So, “Captain America: Civil War” is due to come out in April. Some of you who are keenly interested in the Marvel Comics universe may be quite anxious for this movie to come out. Others may be wondering, “What’s the big whoop?”

The movie is based on a short run of Marvel comics called (you guessed it) “Civil War.” A superhero battle resulting in collateral damage makes the government wonder whether superheroes and mutants should register with the government in an effort to track and control them. This pending legislation pits hero against hero, as this question is raised: what is worth more, safety or freedom of privacy?

This argument is not unlike that which faces the United States on a regular basis. The bombings of 9/11 brought forth a flurry of legislation, intended to keep us safe, yet many felt that we were giving up our freedoms, that which made the United States unique, in the face of fear. The USA PATRIOT Act directly interferes with many of the beliefs that librarians hold dear. For example, we don’t believe in letting others know what books you’ve been checking out, or what you’ve been doing on the public computers. Yet the USA PATRIOT Act dictates that that information be made public, if necessary. I’m sure you can see the conflict here, and how it relates to Captain America.

We’re not asking you to think of libraries when you see this movie (well, librarians will, probably — that’s just the way our minds work). But definitely consider the different arguments that Iron Man and Captain America represent. Safety or freedom? (Oh, and another couple of questions: Tony Stark or Steve Rogers? Black Widow or Scarlet Witch?)

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Filed under Books, intellectual freedom, legal, Libraries, super heroes

New Book Chosen for Next Year’s One Book One Campus

A book has been chosen for 2015’s One Book One Campus read. The title is Always Running: La Vida Loca, by Luis J. Rodriguez. It’s about the author’s experiences in the gang scene in Los Angeles. This is a riveting read, and it has earned the 1993 Carl Sandburg Literary Award for Non-Fiction, and many other accolades.

Mr. Rodriguez was just selected as the Poet Laureate of Los Angeles. He will be writing poems talking about the amazingly vibrant city. In his acceptance speech, he spoke about his experiences with the public library.

We are excited to be able to incorporate this powerful book into our college. There will be more information about activities in the coming months.

If you are interested in checking out a copy, it is available in the Main Stacks at HV6439.U7 L77 2005.

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Vote for a book!

Hello! The One Book One Campus committee is asking faculty and staff of Ventura College to vote for one of eight books to be chosen as the 2015 One Book. 2015 is closer than we think! You can find the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VCOneBook2015

Please make your voice heard!

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A Life in Morocco

On Tuesday, October 15 (that’s tomorrow, for those of you keeping score), the library will host Chris Cryer, author of Tolstoy in Riyadh, as part of its Muslim Journeys program. She will be discussing the lives of women in the book Dreams of Trespass. This book, written by Fatima Mernissi, is an autobiography of the author’s life in a harem in 1940’s Morocco. It is a beautifully written book, and it tells of the tensions between the old ways and the new.

We hope you can join us! 5:30pm in the Reading Room of the Library, LRC 2nd floor.

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Cultural Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys Events

Hello! A few months ago, the Library received a collection of books and videos called the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys. The intent of this collection is to increase understanding of the peoples, cultures, histories, and religion of Muslim people here in the United States and around the world.

The Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys is a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities, conducted in cooperation with the American Library Association. Support was provided by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. Additional support for the arts and media components was provided by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

These books are available for checkout; the videos can be viewed on any computer within the library.

To support this collection, the Library is hosting a series of events:

  • On September 25, the Library is hosting a food tasting at 5:30pm.
  • On October 15, Chris Cryer, author of Tolstoy in Riyadh, will talk about The Arabian Nights.
  • On October 29, Nooshie Motaref, author of Iran: A Persian Tapestry, will do a presentation on Sufism and Islam.

We hope you will join us!

 

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Summer Reading, Had Me A Blast…

Finals start next week, and you may be winding up your final papers. Perhaps you’re looking for a little light reading? Come check out our summer reading display! It’s full of books that might entertain you and take your mind off of things like isosceles triangles. Featured books include:

  • The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
  • Bone by Jeff Smith
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  • Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  • City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  • Singing in the Comeback Choir by Bebe Moore Campbell

These books will be on display all through the summer, so if you don’t get to them before the semester is over, you can come back during summer semester and check them out.

 

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