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Why We Don’t Celebrate Banned Books Week

June 23rd, 2015  |  by  |  published in Books, Bookselling

 

[Used without permission. Get your Banned Books Week Swag here.]

[Used without permission. Get your
Banned Books Week Swag here.]

Why We Don’t Celebrate Banned Books Week.

Every September, the American Library Association (A.L.A.) celebrates Banned Books Week. Thousands of libraries and bookstores put up displays of banned books like Huckleberry Finn, The Grapes of Wrath, and Ulysses. Eureka Books never does.

This year’s list (permalink here) of the most frequently challenged books, compiled by the Office of Intellectual Freedom (the A.L.A. unit with the most Orwellian-sounding name), include Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel, Persepolis, and A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard. The reason these books have been challenged are drugs, sex, and language. Homosexuality, racial slurs, and political viewpoint are other common reasons books are challenged. Challenges are mostly made by parents and community members concerned about books available in libraries and taught in schools.

Did you catch what I did?

I started out talking about “banned” books and then I switched to “challenged” books. Book banning is easy to oppose; challenges, a murky concept as described on the A.L.A. website, are less black and white.

It’s a common ploy, using banned and challenged interchangeably. Pay attention next time you read an article about Banned Books Week. Look at the A.L.A.’s website for the same bait-and-switch maneuver.

Even David Goldenberg, of the myth-busting FiveThirtyEight blog, did it with his recent post, We Tried—And Failed—to Find the Most Banned Book in America. [I attempt answer Goldenberg's question about the most banned books in America here.]

The reason Goldenberg failed was that the A.L.A. won’t show anyone the data used to compile the list. He finally settles on And Tango Makes Three as probably the most challenged book in America (note the switch, from banned to challenged!). Tango is a picture book about a true story of two male penguins who adopt a baby chick at a zoo. It’s challenged as a gay-lifestyle parable. Really, I’m not making that up.

But here’s the thing, despite being the “most challenged” book in America, Tango has sold hundreds of thousands of copies and has been translated into many languages. This year, look for a 10th anniversary deluxe edition.

Wait a minute. A bestselling banned book? Isn’t that an oxymoron? How can a banned book sell so well?

Here’s how, and it’s the reason we don’t celebrate Banned Books Week at Eureka Books: The books are promoted and sold as “banned” books, and readers are encouraged to “celebrate the freedom to read” by buying and reading them. The clear subtext is to encourage a feeling of superiority (“I read banned books”) among those of us (me included) with liberal, left-leaning sensibilities.

But superior to whom? To conservative parents who don’t want their children exposed to four-letter words or to the real-life horrors  Jaycee Dugard suffered during her 18 years of captivity.

You or I might disagree with those opinions, but I suspect few parents would object to a high school library turning down a donation of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. Explicit S/M sex scenes probably aren’t appropriate for 14-year-olds.

So if we aren’t going to expose our children at publicly funded institutions to every kind of printed matter, then there have to be standards (spoken or unspoken) about what is and is not appropriate. Discussions and even disagreements about those standards are appropriate topics for parents, schools and libraries to engage in. [Amy Stewart, a co-owner of Eureka Books, weighs in with her perspective as a writer.]

While certain books do get challenged regularly, very few of them are actually banned at the local level. Even if a book is removed from one library or school, it’s not as if the book cannot be found nearby. After all, there are millions of copies of the 2014 top-challenged books in circulation.

I support freedom of expression, but I won’t use Banned Books Week to belittle the heart-felt concerns of people whose political and social values I don’t share. I don’t think they are right to try to remove most books from schools, and I am glad they almost always lose their battles (and they almost always lose).

Ironically, the people who challenge books may have the strongest belief in the printed word—books are so powerful to them that they have to fight against them. That sentiment, even if applied in a questionable way, always gives me encouragement in the day-to-day slog of keeping a bookstore alive and thriving.

**

NOTE: In all fairness, it’s entirely possible that a headline writer came up with the title of Mr. Goldenberg’s 538.com blog post, but it’s a perfect example of how “challenged” books get confused with “banned” books.

 


Read. Swap. Repeat.

May 16th, 2015  |  by  |  published in Arts Alive, Blogs, Books, Bookstore, Feature

READ-SWAP-REPEATAt Eureka Books, you can now swap your (gently) used books for almost anything in the store, even new books and most special orders.

Up until now, swap credit was good for used books in the store only. With the new program, you can trade your used books for new books, too. A very few exceptions apply.

In addition to books, swap credit is good for maps, prints, t-shirts, tote bags, pouches and greeting cards.  Nearly everything in the store — and most things we can order — can be bought with swap credit.

So read, swap, and repeat. Expand your mind; help save the planet.


Nov. 1 Book Launch Party for Both Sides of the Bluff by Jerry Rohde

July 6th, 2014  |  by  |  published in Blogs, Books, Events, Feature, Local Authors

scott bsb coverJerry Rohde will be giving a free lecture and signing his new book, Both Sides of the Bluff, at Eureka Theater on November 1, 2014.  Eureka Theater is located at 612 F Street.

The lecture is at 5 p.m. and the book signing is from 6-9 p.m.  The event is sponsored by Booklegger and Eureka Books.

Pre-Ordering Now Available!

Can’t make it to the event? Don’t want to wait until November 1 (we will have books by October 23, at the latest)?  Pre-order your copy online now.


Quilt books galore

February 3rd, 2014  |  by  |  published in Books, Bookstore, Feature 2

QuiltsTHIS JUST IN: Quilt books.  Lots and lots of quilt books. Tell your crafty friends.

To name just a few of the titles:

  • Quilting with Style: Principles for Great Pattern Design
  • Quilts from the Quiltmaker’s Gift: 20 Traditional Patterns for a New Generation of Generous Quiltmakers
  • 70 Classic Quilting Patterns: Ready-to-Use Designs and Instructions (Dover Quilting)
  • Applique Masterpiece : Affairs of the Heart
  • Applique 12 Easy Ways! : Charming Quilts, Giftable Projects, and Timeless Techniques
  • Garden Party: Applique Quilts That Bloom (That Patchwork Place)
  • Quick & Easy Quiltmaking: 26 Projects Featuring Speedy Cutting and Piecing Methods
  • Applique in Bloom
  • Pink Lemonade & Other Delights : 10 Refreshing Quilt Projects
  • Fast Patch: A Treasury of Strip-Quilt Projects (Contemporary quilting)
  • The Border Workbook: Easy Speed-Pieced and Foundation-Pieced Borders
  • Lois Smith’s Machine Quiltmaking
  • Quick Quilting: Rotary Cutting, Machine Piecing, Machine Applique, Machine Quilting
  • Cat’s Meow : Purr-fect Quilts for Cat Lovers
  • Botanical Wreaths: Nature’s Glory in Applique
  • Machine Applique: A Sampler of Techniques
  • Radiant New York Beauties: 14 Paper-Pieced Quilt Projects
  • Pieces of the Past
  • Magic Stack-n-Whack Quilts
  • Magic Base Blocks for Unlimited Quilt Designs
  • Super Simple Strips
  • Contemporary Classics in Plaids & Stripes: 9 Projects from Piece O’Cake Designs
  • The Standard Book of Quilt Making and Collecting
  • Quilts for Fabric Lovers
  • Sensational Scrap Quilts
  • It’s Raining Cats & Dogs: Paper-Pieced Quilts for Pet Lovers
  • Fantasy Fabrics: Techniques for Layered Surface Design
  • Plentiful Possibilities: A Timeless Treasury of 16 Terrific Quilts
  • Go Wild With Quilts : 14 North American Birds & Animals
  • Timeless Toile: Terrific Quilts, Pillows, and Purses
  • Precision-Pieced Quilts: Using the Foundation Method (Contemporary Quilting)
  • Paper Piecing with Alex Anderson: Tips Techniques 6 Projects
  • Easy Paper-Pieced Keepsake Quilts : 72 New Blocks Including the Alphabet!
  • Paper Piece a Merry Christmas (That Patchwork Place)
  • Scrap Quilts
  • Scrapmania: More Quick-Pieced Scrap Quilts
  • The Scrap Look: Designs, Fabrics, Colors and Piecing Techniques for Creating Multi-Fabric Quilts
  • Rotary Roundup: 40 More Fast & Fabulous Quilts
  • More Quick Rotary Cutter Quilts
  • Rotary Riot: 40 Fast and Fabulous Quilts
  • Dutch Flower Pot Quilts
  • Little Quilts : All Through the House
  • Quilts Galore!: Quiltmaking Styles and Techniques
  • Old Favorites in Miniature: Patterns and Instructions for Making Nineteen Miniature Quilts
  • Twenty Little Patchwork Quilts: With Full-Size Templates (Dover Quilting)
  • Working in Miniature: A Machine Piecing Approach to Miniature Quilts
  • Quilts for Red-Letter Days: More Than 30 Small Celebration Quilts
  • Quilted for Christmas: Book Two
  • Mariner’s Compass: An American Quilt Classic
  • Applique Masterpiece: Little Brown Bird Patterns
  • Pieced Borders : The Complete Resource
  • A Bird’s Eye View
  • The Block Book
  • Baltimore Album Legacy
  • Applique Designs: My Mother Taught Me to Sew
  • Baltimore Album Quilts: Historic Notes and Antique Patterns : A Pattern Companion to Baltimore Beauties and Beyond
  • Quilting Makes the Quilt
  • Attic Windows: Quilts With a View
  • Stripes in Quilts
  • Jacobean Applique: Exotica, Book I (Bk.1)
  • A Quilter’s Ark: More Than 50 Designs for Foundation Piecing

 

 


Humboldt: Life on America’s Marijuana Frontier

June 12th, 2013  |  by  |  published in Books, Feature 2

Humboldt-book-coverThe newest book on Humboldt County goes on sale June 18th.  Until then we have it under lock and key.

From the publisher:

In the vein of Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief and Deborah Feldman’s Unorthodox, journalist Emily Brady journeys into a secretive subculture–one that marijuana built.

Humboldt: Life on America’s Marijuana Frontier

Say the words “Humboldt County” to a stranger and you might receive a knowing grin. The name is infamous, and yet the place, and its inhabitants, have been nearly impenetrable. Until now.

Humboldt is a narrative exploration of an insular community in Northern California, which for nearly 40 years has existed primarily on the cultivation and sale of marijuana. It’s a place where business is done with thick wads of cash and savings are buried in the backyard. In Humboldt County, marijuana supports everything from fire departments to schools, but it comes with a heavy price. As legalization looms, the community stands at a crossroads and its inhabitants are deeply divided on the issue–some want to claim their rightful heritage as master growers and have their livelihood legitimized, others want to continue reaping the inflated profits of the black market.

Emily Brady spent a year living with the highly secretive residents of Humboldt County, and her cast of eccentric, intimately drawn characters take us into a fascinating, alternate universe. It’s the story of a small town that became dependent on a forbidden plant, and of how everything is changing as marijuana goes mainstream.


The Saddest Book in the World?

August 30th, 2012  |  by  |  published in Books

This made me want to cry:

The 1943 “Taps” yearbook. Taps, of course, being the song played at military funerals and the school being the Pennsylvania Soldiers’ Orphan School, whose students were made to parade around with “Orphan School” signs — and you thought your high school years were tough.

Senior Guy Cooper’s fondest memory was his “12 years at S.O.S.”

SOS! Are you kidding me? They called the yearbook Taps and the school abbreviation was SOS?

When the official in charge of the Soldiers’ Orphan School said his goal was to “fit [the students] physically, mentally, and morally for the stern realities of this world,” he wasn’t kidding.

If Lemony Snickett had come up with this for the Baudelaire Orphans in his Series of Unfortunate Events, it would have seemed too satirical.

And to top it off, the bright young seniors in this yearbook, who survived twelve years of SOS, graduated just in time to be drafted for the worst years of WWII.


Ray Raphael to Sign New Book on April 7

March 26th, 2012  |  by  |  published in Arts Alive, Books, Local Authors

Mr. President by Ray RaphaelAs a populist historian of the American Revolution, Redway author Ray Raphael is more likely to write about farmers and innkeepers than presidents. But that’s exactly what makes his new book, Mr. President: How and Why the Founders Created a Chief Executive, so compelling. To celebrate the release of the book, published by Knopf, the most prestigious American publisher, Raphael will sign copies—and undoubtedly engage in lively discussions ab

out this hot topic—at Eureka Books during Arts Alive on Saturday, April 7 at 6 PM.

The book is in stock now.


Ideas for the Humboldt author / history buff on your gift list

December 6th, 2011  |  by  |  published in Books, Humboldt County

In no particular order:

Two Peoples, One Place by historians Freeman House and Ray Raphael provides the best introduction to early Humboldt County history, to about 1885. It's just out in a very nice paperback edition, and we have copies signed by both authors. $19.95

Grave Matters: Excavating California's Buried Past by Tony Platt, an important look at the troubling practice plundering Native American gravesites. A powerful and significant book. A few signed copies remain. $18.95

Plastic oceanPlastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain's Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans by Capt. Charles Moore and former Humboldt resident Cassandra Phillips. This is the first-hand story of the discovery of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, co-written by a former HSU staffer.\

Redwood sawRedwood Saw by Richard Rothman. Self described as the Franz Kafka of landscape photography, Rothman's portrait of life in Del Norte County, combines images of redwoods, portraits of working class people, and unexpected nudes. The title suggests images of logging, but Redwood Saw refers to the name of a run-down looking shop in a dismal stripmall. This book is not for everyone, but it hangs together as a single artistic statement in a way no other photobook on the North Coast ever has. Limited to just 1500 copies and not available online. $65

Humboldt Heartland by Andy Westfall. Two photobooks about the Redwood Coast could not be more different than Humboldt Heartland and Redwood Saw. Andy Westfall spent years photographing the ranchers of Humboldt County and this book is a stunningly beautiful portrait of rural life in some of the most remote landscapes of California. Andy tells us that fewer than 100 copies remain and it probably will not be reprinted. If the $75 price deters you, I'm reasonably confident that the price will only go up once it's out of print.

FupFup by Jim Dodge. A worldwide phenomenon, that still sells well across the globe after nearly three decades, this charming, magical tale is back in a new edition. Everyone with a love of literature or a sense of humor should have a copy. At $9.95 for a signed copy, you'd be crazy not to pick one up.

The Pacific Crest Trailside Readers (two volumes, available separately, for California and Oregon & Washington). Local authors Rees Hughes and Corey Lee Lewis edited this anthology of writing about the wilderness trail that snakes from Mexico to Canada. Local artist Amy Uyeki provided the woodblock illustrations.

Kinetic Sculpture Racing by Duane Flatmo. The perfect stocking stuffer—the commemorative booklet put out by local artist extraordinaire Duane Flatmo to celebrate his 30th year participating in Humboldt's kookiest event. Signed copies, while they last, are $7.95

Ca-ind-langCalifornia Indian Languages by Victor Golla. It's rare that a scholar's life's work is condensed into a single book, and if you think of it that way, the $90 price tag does not seem that extravagent. In case you might mistake this for a dense linguistics tome, it is actually quite accessible and contains a tremendous amount of local history unavailable in any other book.

Son of Field Notes by Barry Evans. Our local scientist for the masses collects more of his essays on science from the North Coast Journal.


The British Invasion, Harry Potter style

October 1st, 2011  |  by  |  published in Book Collecting, Books, New Arrivals

British editions of Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling

British editions of Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling

We are excited to present our newly acquired collection of British 1st edition Harry Potters in both the children’s and adult designs.  The books are unread and in fine condition.

Do you speak Latin?  We have a 1st edition Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis. Irish?  Come check out Harry Potter agus an Orcholch.  Welsh?  We have Harri Potter a Maen yr Athronydd.

If you speak English we have a lot to choose from.  All seven books plus The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Canadian 1st editions also available.

Accio Potter!


Fortuna and Eel River Valley History Come to Life at Arts Alive!

August 4th, 2011  |  by  |  published in Arts Alive, Books, Humboldt County, Local Authors

Fortuna and the Eel River Valley by Alex Service and Susan O’Hara

Fortuna and the Eel River Valley by Alex Service and Susan O’Hara, published by Arcadia

Alex Service, curator of the Fortuna Depot Museum, has sorted through historical photographs from the museum’s collection, along with photos of the Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department and local residents to tell the story of the community’s history.  Her new book, Fortuna and the Eel River Valley, was co-authored with historian and educator Susan O’Hara and has just been published by Arcadia Publishing.  Service will be at Eureka Books on Saturday, August 6 from 6-9 pm to sign copies of the new book.

“This history of Fortuna and the Eel River Valley really reflects all of the larger forces at work in Humboldt County over the years,” said Eureka Books owner Scott Brown.  “From logging and milling, to our local apple growers and dairies, to the expansion brought on by the railroad in 1914, this book fills a critical gap in our appreciation of our history.” The book also covers Fernbridge, the company town of Scotia, and Newburg, a long-vanished mill town.

Fortuna and the Eel River Valley represents an important contribution to the growing collection of Arcadia titles on local history.  In addition to histories of several towns in Humboldt County, the company has also published books on the history of Humboldt State University and the Sequoia Park Zoo.  “These photographs are hard to come by,” said Brown, “and as anyone who has ever tried to organize family photos knows, it’s not easy to get the right dates, names, and places for each photo.  It’s a tremendous amount of effort, and we’re lucky to have so many local historians working on these books.”



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