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Book & Bone: Julia's Blog

Banned Books Week 2017: Keep Ideas Alive

Banned Books Week was Sept. 24th to 30th this year, and it’s a week worth celebrating -- longer than just a week. Every year, some small-minded person complains about books that might harm the children, or society, or General Decency, and some weak-souled library or school district caves in and removes the book from the shelf. This causes actual harm to the public; a book that can’t be read, an idea that can’t be heard, dies a lonely death. If ideas or books were actually harmful (that is, they emitted a poison gas or the ink made your skin fall off), I could understand the problem.

What Happened?

There’s lots of buzz going around about the new book by Hillary Clinton called What Happened, her view of how the Democrats lost the 2016 election. Madame Secretary has taken a lot of guff from people who wish she would just shut up and go away; and that aligns with how most history is written—by the victors. However, I am here to make a plea for patience and tolerance, to listen to her side of the story, because the victors may not, in the long run, be correct.

Looking Ahead by Looking Back

You know how “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” philosopher George Santayana’s timeless quote? As a progressive woman in California in the age of Trump, I can’t help but think of this when I open an old book off my shelf. I’ve been re-reading Nancy Mitford lately. You may have heard of her; she’s one of six titled Mitford sisters (her sister Jessica Mitford was best known for The American Way of Death). Nancy was an author, journalist and scholar; she became known, if not infamous, for her teasing piece about British U and non-U speech, separating the classes by diction: the difference in napkin vs. serviette; scent vs. perfume, looking glass vs. mirror, and so on

Fire in My Hands

I have been writing all my adult life, but it took me about fifteen years of caterwauling to give myself permission to be a writer. If you took a look at my journals from those “wish I were a writer” years, you’d see an endless kvetch about “writing is hard” and “I wish I had time” and “no one wants to hear what I say, or do they? I may never know!” It was gross, and I eventually tossed those journals (recycled the paper, anyway) because who needs that kind of negative energy just cluttering up the shelves? No one, that’s who.

Mentor Books, Historical Fiction, and The Real World

I have not been able to stop reading excellent literary historical fiction this summer. I’m currently writing a literary historical novel, and my usual gambit is to stay away from similar subjects/treatments at all costs. But I needed what my workshop leaders at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers last year called a “mentor book,” something that gives me a goal to strive toward. They suggested keeping such a mentor book near at hand to refer to, or even just to look at the cover, as some kind of icon or talisman to keep you writing in the right direction.

Introducing Julia's Blog

Welcome to All Things Book and welcome to my bookish blog, Book and Bone. It means “smart and deep,” if you ask Urban Dictionary, or google it, and I like where that takes us. I’ll be writing about the literary things that tickle my fancy: children’s lit revisited as an adult, Jane Austen, some totally geeky nonfic topic that I’m frothing about, history, literary travel, and that kind of thing. 

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