Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Upcoming Fall Events

September 29-Oct 6, 2007

This marks the 26th anniversary of Banned Books Week, ALA's annual celebration of the freedom to read. It's a time to reflect on your freedom to read, to cherish it and read what you want to read. As the author of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, said, "You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them."

It's sad that in this day and age even more books are challenged every year. The number one challenged book this past year was the children's book, "And Tango Makes Three", by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell because it "promotes" homosexuality, is anti-family, and is unsuited to age group. The other most challenged books were:

"Gossip Girls" series by Cecily Von Ziegesar
"Alice" series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor for
"The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things" by Carolyn Mackler
"The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison
"Scary Stories" series by Alvin Schwartz
"Athletic Shorts" by Chris Crutcher
"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky for
"Beloved" by Toni Morrison
"The Chocolate War" by Robert Cormier

2000-2005 Most Frequently Challenged Authors
Top Ten Challenged Authors 1990 to 2004


Sunday, October 7, 2007
Noon to 4pm -- tours leave every 15 minutes
1 Speedway Rd., near West High School

"Talking Spirits" is the Wisconsin Veterans Museum's most visible and best attended public program. Utilizing letters, diaries, photographs, and other primary sources, the stories of notable veterans, politicians, and everyday Madisonians come to life in this living history event. Using their own words, Madison playwright John Sable crafts brilliantly emotional and informative scripts. Local actors and actresses don period dress and give visitors the once-in-a-lifetime experience of meeting these characters in the cemetery grounds. Past characters include Governors Lucius Fairchild and Philip Fox La Follette; Louis and Cordelia Harvey; Civil War hero Henry Harnden; and World War II sailor and professional wrestling legend, Art Thomas, among others (such as the Confederate soldier pictureds right).

This year's characters include:

General Theodore Read - Killed at High Bridge, VA in April 1865; actions at High Bridge prevent Lee's retreat from Virginia and ensured his surrender at Appomattox days later

Colonel Cassius Fairchild & wife - Wounded at Shiloh in 1862; couple married ten days before Cassius' death in 1866

Professor William Allen - Founder, UW-Madison History Dept.; tought freed slaves in South Carolina during the war as part of the Freedman's Bureau

Harriet Grannis Morris - Participated in the Women's Aid Society, local philanthropistWilliam H. Noland - Madison's first African-American resident, businessman, mayoral candidate in 1866

Bascom B. Clarke - Confederate Civil War orphan; moved to Madison and became wealthy publisher of the American Thresherman magazine

The "Talking Spirits" tour has become one of my favorite local events, and I look forward to it each fall. Allow at least two hours for the tour. They recommend 90 minutes, but tours fill up fast and you may have a short wait for the next one available, or may wish to further explore sections of the cemetery on your own after. Also remember to dress for the weather (it is, afterall, autumn and the cemetery is quite shaded) and wear comfortable walking shoes. I also recommend a bottle of water. While refreshments are offered before and after the tours, there are no drinking fountains inside the cemetery grounds, should you become thirsty during the tour.

This year's tour is supported by the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission with additional funds from the Evjue Foundation and the Overture Foundation.
October 10-14, 2007
Primarily Madison, WI

This year's theme is "Domestic Tranquility" and will explore historical and present-day issues regarding this concept. From their website:

What begets tranquility? Who decides what is "domestic"? And what role does the government play in protecting it? From immigration and border disputes, to violence and the right to bear arms, to religion and public life -- novelists, poets, journalists, and others will gather to explore what a tranquil home might look like to them.

Some of the authors scheduled to appear at this year's festival include: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Rick Bass, T.C. Boyle, Michael Cunningham, Jane Hirshfield, Rabbi Harold Kushner, Zakes Mda, Luis Alberto Urrea, and Terry Tempest Williams.

And if you've never heard of a single one of those authors mentioned, you're not alone. I'd be willing to bet most the city hasn't heard of them.

This year's schedule was posted late last week and, of course, the two programs I am most interested in attending are 20 miles out of town (Mount Horeb), with no way to get there. Typical. While I love the idea of the book festival, the one thing I detest is how spread out events are, with much overlapping and little or no time to get from one event to another. Even those events held in down town Madison are spread out over a mile and a half. Between the Monona Terrace and Overture Center you'd think they could find a way to hold all events in one location as most book fests around the country do. This would allow people ample time to move between events, not to mention if your first choice was filled (as happened to me with one event last year) or wasn't quite what you were expecting, you could easily pop into another without missing half of it.

Guess that would be too convenient and make too much sense.

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