To Kill A Mockingbird – Banned Again

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To Kill A Mockingbird – Banned Again

 “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” Atticus Finch, Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird  has a long history with censorship.  It is one of the most challenged books in American Literature – from strong language, sex and rape to it makes people uncomfortable and now it is racist. 

The plot and characters are loosely based on the author’s observations of her family and neighbors, as well as on an event that occurred near her Southern hometown in 1936 when she was 8 years old.

Atticus Finch functions as the moral backbone of the story, a person to whom others turn to in times of doubt and trouble. His daughter Scout is the narrator and the story is told through the eyes of an eight year old girl.  Unable to abide the town’s comfortable ingrained racial prejudice, Atticus agrees to defend Tom Robinson, a black man with trumped up charges against him. After losing the trial, Atticus practices empathy and understanding and teaches this to his children Scout and Jem. He never holds a grudge against the people of Maycomb. Atticus accepts all people because he is an expert at “climbing into other people’s skin and walking around. “ 

My son calls him the world’s greatest dad. To Kill A Mockingbird is a book I reread often when faced with a moral dilemma. It has always been a lesson in doing the right thing for no other reason then because it is the right thing to do even if you know the outcome.

The story reflects the time and language of the South during the depression. Yes, as a child It made me uncomfortable. It made me uncomfortable for the black people in my class also. I was also uncomfortable reading Anne Frank. Why did people hate us so much? 

Literature is not history. There is this wonderful moment in reading a novel where you think “You feel that way too? I thought that I was the only one.” I relate to Atticus Finch’s moral dilemma, Anne Frank’s fear and resilience, Hamlet’s indecisiveness, Holden Caulfield’s bad atttiude, Celie’s rise from nothing, Florentina’s love (In the Time Of Cholera) and Don Quixote snd Sancho Panza’s friendship. The list goes on and on. 

Having students read about racism is not an act of promoting racism. While some aspects of history can be “uncomfortable” to read, they are also thought-provoking and encourage important discussions on race. it provides students the opportunity to read and analyze the characters on their own terms and develop their own sense of morality.

To Kill A Mockingbird, Huckleberry Finn and other novels are being considered to be banned in California.  The banning of books sparks serious debate over literary censorship in the classroom. If we continue to ostracize and disallow certain texts to young readers, we are limiting their access to ideas and opinions which vary from our own. If we begin to exclude anything that may “trigger” a specific group, we will be grossly limiting our children’s education.

My boyfriend is rereading Hemingway. He said that  Hemingway is casually antisemitic and racist. I have no idea what that means. Further along in the book, he said, “It’s not so casual anymore. He is antisemitic and racist”. Is Hemingway next?

Read safe,

JAZ

Fifty Favorite Books That I Have Read On Trips, On The Beach Or At Home

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Fifty Favorite Books That I Have Read On Trips, On The Beach Or At Home

i thought i would reblog this one- since we suddenly have all this time now.

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” Lemony Snicket   

How does a book make the favorites list? I remember it. I have a really bad memory and  if it stays with me, it stays forever. I want a book to take me somewhere I haven’t been before, another time, another place, another pair of eyes.  There are  books that have taught me something and changed  how I see the world. Some  of them I have read more than once – under the covers with a flashlight.  I identify with certain characters.  There is this wonderful moment in reading where you think “You feel that way too? I thought that I was the only one.”

It was very hard to pick only fifty. My favorite books from many different stages of my life are here and in no particular order.  If you missed reading any…..they are good.

The Master And The Margarita   Mikhail Bulgakov  (Russian)

On The Road  Jack Kerouac (American)

Purge  Sofi Oksanen (Finnish)

The Chosen Chaim Potok  (American)

Love In the Time Of Cholera   Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Colombian)

Gone With the Wind  Margaret Mitchell (American)

Swann’s Way  (In Search Of Lost Time)  Marcel Proust  (French)

To Kill A Mockingbird  Harper Lee (American)

One Hundred Years Of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez  (Colombian)

All Over But The Shoutin’  Rick Bragg (American)

Snow  Orhan Pamuk  (Turkish)

The Fountainhead  Ayn Rand (American)

The Prophet  Kahlil Gibran  (Lebanese American)

Atlas Shrugged  Ayn Rand (American)

Don Quixote  Miguel de Cervantes (Spanish)

The Great Gatsby  F. Scott Fitzgerald  (American)

The Stranger  Albert Camus  (French)

The Giving Tree  Shel Silverstein (American)

Diary  Of A Young Girl  Anne Frank (Dutch)

The Old Man And The Sea  Ernest Hemingway (American)

The Kite Runner  Khalid Hosseini  (Afghan American)

For Whom The Bell Tolls  Ernest Hemingway (American)

The Unbearable Lightness Of Being  Milan Kundera  (Czech)

Middlesex  Jeffrey Eugenides  (American)

Siddhartha  Herman Hesse (German)

The Things They Carried  Tim O Brian (American)

Life Of Pi  Yann Martel (Canadian)

The Sun Also Rises  Ernest Hemingway (American)

Zorba The Greek  Nikos Kazantzakis  (Greek)

A Heart Breaking Work Of Staggering Genius  Dave Eggars (American)

The House of The Spirits  Isabel Allende  (Chilean)

Catcher In The Rye  J.D. Salinger  (American)

The Gulag Archipelago  Alexandr Solzhenitsyn (Russian)

Good Night Moon Margaret Wise Brown  (American)

Wild Swans  Jung Chang (Chinese)

Tuesdays With Morrie  Mitch Albom  (American)

The Painted Bird  Jerzy Kosinski (Polish American)

The Prince Of Tides  Pat Conroy (American)

Man’s Search For Meaning  Viktor Frankl  (Austrian)

Slaughterhouse Five  Kurt Vonnegut  (American)

War And Peace Leo Tolstoy  (Russian)

Metropolitan Life  Fran Liebowitz  (American)

Fly  safe,

JAZ

Things That I Have Learned In Granada, Spain

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Things That I Have Learned In Granada, Spain

“Like Spain, I am bound to the past.” William S. Burroughs

Granada was originally called Gárnata which could mean  “hill of strangers” in Arabic.

Granada was a Muslim Kingdom for almost 781 years, which is the longest culture to rule in Spain. The city was the last stronghold of Muslim Spain which fell to the Catholic Monarchs in 1492.

City symbol is the pomegranate which is logical considering that “granada” in Spanish means ‘pomegranate.’

Granada has 250 days of sunlight. Two of them were not while I was there.

Granada is home to 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites – Alhambra, Generalife and Albacin.

Almost 3 million tourists from all around the world visit Granada and the Alhambra every year.

The Alhambra Palace Hotel has incredible views of the city and “Selections from Don Quixote” in the room.

Reading the highlights of Don Quixote in Spanish in Spain was very cool.

In the Royal Chapel of Granada are the  sarcophagi of Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand, their daughter Juana and her husband Phillipe.

   At the time of the reconquest of Granada Christopher Columbus was looking for sponsors to fund exploration to discover the “New World”. The Spanish monarchs agreed and he went on to discover America.  There is a statue of Christopher Columbus kneeling before Queen Isabella at the end of the Gran Via de Colón in Granada. (His name in Spanish is Cristobal Colón).

Playwright and poet Federico Garcia Lorca was arrested and killed on the orders of right wing military authorities in Granada in 1936 according to newly released documents that shed light on the death of one of the highest-profile victims of the Spanish Civil War.

Granadinos are less friendly and lighthearted than the average Spaniard but that still means that they are more friendly than the French.

The gypsies arrived in Granada about 600 years ago and one of the places where they congregated was in the caves of the Sacromonte. The mixture of Arabic influence combined with the particular lifestyle and temperament of the gypsies created Flamenco. 

Mario Maya was one of the Spain’s most innovative and influential flamenco dancers. He was born in Córdoba in 1937, but grew up in the Sacromonte of Granada.

Munira is a great store to buy interesting souvenirs and gifts.https://www.munira.net

Granada has hot dry summer and cool winters. In July and August the temperature is often over fourty Celsius. . In 2017 several all time temperature records were broken.

The wettest months are November and December and the day in October that I had a walking tour of Sacromonte and the Albacin neighborhoods up in the hills. I had to make a deal with the taxi driver not to leave us in the pouring rain.

Watching the sunset and sunrise over the city against the Sierra Nevada foothills is really special.

 

Fly safe,

JAZ