Dates in Fiction

Dates in fiction, or a collection of events that didn’t really happen…

October 29—Rosemary finds out that she is pregnant in Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

October 31—Jean Louise Finch (Scout) meets Mr. Arthur (Boo) Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

November 4—Alice goes through the looking glass in Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

November 10—Dorian Gray’s birthday in The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

December 3—The Soviet submarine Red October begins its voyage in The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy

December 20—The ice skating race occurs in Hans Brinker by Mary Dodge

December 25—The Pequod sails from Nantucket in Moby Dick by Herman Melville

December 26—Sam McGee dies in The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert W. Service

Join the Madison Public Library's Reading and Discussion Group

Good books bring people together. Consider all the people who have come together to read and discuss the books promoted by Oprah's Book Club, or all the people here in Madison who read Fahrenheit 451 for the Big Read in April.

October is National Reading Group Month. Its expressed goals are to celebrate the joys of shared reading, strengthen the community of the book, and promote a more literate, engaged community.

Naturally, the Madison Public Library shares those goals. So, there could be no better time to invite all interested readers to participate in a reading and discussion group at the Public Library. If this invitation appeals to you, let me know. I'm in the process of collecting titles for discussion and arranging a schedule. All suggestions, comments, and ideas are welcome. You can sign up at the Library, or reply to this blog. Please include your name, address, and a telephone number.

I think it would be great to have such an overwhelming response that we had to have two or three groups to accommodate everyone who is interested.

Banned Books

September 29 through October 6 was Banned Books Week. This annual event reminds us Americans not to take the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion for granted.

I’ve read banned books, and I bet you have, too. The list of banned books includes classics like Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird. Like me, you probably had no idea that there were any ideas so objectionable in those books that we needed to be protected from them. Obviously, someone saw something that I did not, and that difference of opinion is the very basis of the intellectual freedom we Americans enjoy.

We each have the right to hold any opinion on any subject, and we can communicate those opinions through a variety of means. Providing access to ideas and information of all kinds is the Public Library’s mission. Librarians everywhere adhere to the opinion of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas that “Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.”

So the Madison Public Library has materials that frequently make the banned books lists, and the library will continue to make books like the Harry Potter series and others available to anyone who wants to read them. Frankly, if there isn’t something on the Public Library’s shelves that you disagree with, we’re not doing our job.

I find the exchange of ideas and discussion of differing viewpoints stimulating. It pushes me to consider the facts, weigh the information, and possibly draw some new conclusions. Take advantage of the Public Library’s open invitation to enjoy that kind of stimulation through books, magazines, newspapers, video, the Internet, and discussion.