OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with Books

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Urine-Soaked Library Books Ruled An Accident

December 15th, 2010

A man accidentally tips one of several jars of urine placed on a library bookshelf. "Oops! Yuck!," he says. "Why do we even keep this stuff here?"

Hundreds of dollars worth of gay-themed library books that were found soaked in urine at Harvard is no longer being treated as a hate crime, according to university investigators.

The 36 books, which covered GLBT topics ranging from coming out to equal marriage rights, were found by a library staff member in late November. Urine had been poured over each of the books, ruining them completely. An almost empty bottle (the smoking gun, so to speak) was found nearby.

The Harvard University Police Department reacted quickly, launching an investigation. Their findings: The damage was an accident, caused by a library staff member who inadvertently tipped over a bottle of urine that was sitting on the bookshelf. With the conclusion of their investigation, the incident is no longer being considered an act of vandalism or a hate crime.

Ah. Case closed, then. Good work.

A mishap like this was probably inevitable, actually, considering how libraries always store their bookshelf urine in inordinately tall bottles with rounded bottoms. A bump is all it takes.

I’m not even sure why they store that stuff there in the first place, come to think of it.

Scholastic Censors Book Over Lesbian Moms

November 4th, 2009

Pink isn't always very gay

Luv Ya Bunches, a short novel for ages nine to twelve, has been pulled from U.S. book fairs by the Scholastic publishing company because one of the book’s characters, Milla, has two mommies.

The novel, published by Scholastic and written by Lauren Myracle, is about four school girls who form lasting friendships despite not having much in common other than all being named after flowers.

Shortly before the book’s release on October 1st, Scholastic sent a letter to the author asking her to remove several offensive words (specifically “geez,” “crap,” “sucks,” and “oh my God”) and to change Milla’s parents to be straight—or be banned from the publishing company’s book fairs. (Oh my God, that sort of crap sucks. I mean, geez!)

The author, speaking to a literary news site, had this to say:

The other issues, words like “crap,” just made me shake my head and laugh. But the idea that two moms could be problematic… well, astonished would be the best way to describe my reaction.

Myracle agreed to clean up the filthy, filthy language by changing “crap” to “junk” and so forth, but absolutely refused to ungayify Milla’s parents. As a result, Scholastic’s book fairs division banned the book outright, budging only a tad after gaining some negative press. So, while they continue to refuse to include the novel in book fairs targeted toward the book’s intended readers, they will permit it to appear at middle-school book fairs where the readers are too old to hold any interest in the novel. (Scholastic’s Canadian division, notably, never had a problem with the book and features it both in their book club and book fairs division.)

Still, it’s a good thing that Scholastic isn’t in charge of publishing this blog, or they’d probably blacklist me for even thinking to utter the following scathing and profane invective:

Jeepers golly gosh, Scholastic! What gives?

Wherever They Burn Books…

October 16th, 2009

There was a hot shirtless guy in the middle.

Earlier this year, a Wisconsin Christian group sued the American Library Association for the right to burn a library book entitled Baby Be-Bop. The book is a charming young adult novel about a gay boy struggling to come to terms with his sexual orientation after being attacked by a homophobic gang. Totally unacceptable, according to the religious extremist group who—backed by legal aid from the Christian Civil Liberties Union—demanded not only the rights to burn the book publicly, but also sought $120,000 in compensatory damages because the elderly plaintiffs’ “mental and emotional well-being was damaged by this book at the library.”

Robert C. Braun, the president of the Christian Civil Liberties Union branch, made his intentions quite clear: “We don’t want it put in a section for adults,” Braun told the press, “we want it out or destroyed.”

I haven’t heard what became of the lawsuit (which likely means it failed miserably), but the story stuck in my mind due to the sheer insanity of the situation. These kooks would absolutely burn this website if they could.

I had written off the situation as being hopelessly beyond response, when I came across another story this week that I found to be a wonderful inspiration. And it has a Canadian twist.

Peter Bernier, operating out of his Toronto home, is the founder and sole operator of Rainbow Link. Since 2005, Bernier has donated boxes of GLBT-themed books to small town libraries, helping stock the shelves with stories that people like him can relate to. Recalling what it was like reading his first queer novel as a gay person, Bernier explained his motivations to Xtra: “I wanted to read gay love stories. It was a long time before I found anything that reflected my desires or made any sense of them.”

Essentially, while some people are trying make books unavailable through symbolically violent means, one man is making them available through hard work and generous donations.

GLBT books offer guidance, advice, consolation, and entertainment to millions of gay people. To find out more about Rainbow Link and help become part of the exact opposite of a book burning, write to “culture” at RainbowLink.ca, or send something the old fashioned way: Rainbow link, P.O. Box 111, Station F, Toronto, Ontario M4Y 2L4.