BiblioFiles #70: On Censorship and Book Banning

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The titles you can find wandering through the children’s section of the library can be quite alarming. Should the public library really be putting such things on their shelves? Every year the ALA releases their list of books that have received the most pushback - the most requests to be banned. It can be easy to sympathize with those who have expressed their concern, but what is at stake when we ask the library to remove a book from their collection? Or what about when public opinion turns against an author in the canon? What problems are wrapped up in the larger issue of censorship and book banning?

Referenced Works:

State of America’s Libraries Report 2019

Little House on the Prairie, Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Areopagitica by John Milton

– Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

We love hearing your questions and comments! You can contact us by emailing adam@centerforlit.com, or you can visit our website www.centerforlit.com to find even more ways to participate in the conversation.

BiblioFiles #69: "On Three Ways of Writing for Children" by C.S. Lewis

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After a brief glimpse into the wondrous, chaotic world of how BiblioFiles episodes are planned, the CenterForLit crew lands on talking about C.S. Lewis’s fabulous essay, “On Three Ways of Writing for Children.” The main questions include: What is the purpose of children’s literature? What is a good story for children? And why should an author of children’s literature set out to write in the first place?

Referenced Works:

All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan

Letting Swift River Go by Jane Yolen

“On Three Ways of Writing for Children” by C.S. Lewis

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

Summer Reading BiblioFiles Episode

– “Cinderella” by the Brothers Grimm (read by Emily Andrews in the Pelican Society)

– “Birches” by Robert Frost

The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall

The Worm Ouroboros by Eric Rücker Eddison

We love hearing your questions and comments! You can contact us by emailing adam@centerforlit.com, or you can visit our website www.centerforlit.com to find even more ways to participate in the conversation.

BiblioFiles #68: Meditations on Summer Reading

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It’s a busy summer for the CenterForLit crew. So even though our days may not actually be full of lazy, beach-side reading, we can certainly still dream about it. In this episode we talk about our different ideal summer reading experiences and swap a few titles to add to our unrealistic bucket lists. What would you like to read this summer?

Referenced Works:

Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

Past Tense by Lee Child

The Pale King by David Foster Wallace

– Paper Towns, An Abundance of Katherines, Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

– Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

Bud & Me: The True Adventures of the Abernathy Boys by Alta Abernathy

The Civil War: A Narrative by Shelby Foote

The Story of Civilization by Will and Ariel Durant

The Killer Angels: A Novel of the Civil War by Michael Shaara

Inkheart, Inkspell, Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke

The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley

The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien

– The Space Trilogy: Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis (Now being discussed in The Pelican Society)

Sleeping Murder, Murder in Retrospect by Agatha Christie

The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse

Jeeves & Wooster: The Complete Series

– Franny and Zooey, Nine Stories, Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Straw Into Gold by Gary Schmidt

– The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski

– Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens

Hard Times BiblioFiles Episode

– The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

We love hearing your questions and comments! You can contact us by emailing adam@centerforlit.com, or you can visit our website www.centerforlit.com to find even more ways to participate in the conversation.

BiblioFiles #67: After Apple-Picking and Homeschooling

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This was a monumental episode of BiblioFiles. Just prior to recording, Missy finished her very last day of homeschooling. Ever. She asked us if we could discuss Robert Frost’s “After Apple-Picking” to mark the occasion. It was a great choice. Today, we’re honoring homeschooling parents (and all parents in charge of little minds) everywhere. Also stay tuned to the end of the episode to hear a very exciting announcement about what’s coming next from CenterForLit! Trust us, it’s going to be great.

We love hearing your questions and comments! You can contact us by emailing adam@centerforlit.com, or you can visit our website www.centerforlit.com to find even more ways to participate in the conversation.

BiblioFiles #66: Dialectic and Life in Crime and Punishment

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Emily finally finished Crime and Punishment! In celebration, we’re taking this episode to talk about one intriguing line in the book’s epilogue. How do we learn things? How does change take place in our lives? What role does the intellect play in that process? What about community? We look at how Dostoevsky answers these questions and more.

Instead of dialectics, there was life, and something completely different had to work itself out in his consciousness.”

Referenced Works:

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky)

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

– Gravity and Grace by Simone Weil

Radio Read Along

We love hearing your questions and comments! You can contact us by emailing adam@centerforlit.com, or you can visit our website www.centerforlit.com to find even more ways to participate in the conversation.

BiblioFiles #65: Gravity and Grace

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In this episode the CenterForLit crew discuss a Simone Weil quotation that recently caught their eye and tease out some of its implications, making connections to Flannery O’Connor, education, and modernism.

“All the natural movements of the soul are controlled by laws analogous to those of physical gravity. Grace is the only exception...Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it, and it is grace itself which makes this void...The imagination is continually at work filling up all the fissures through which grace might pass...We must continually suspend the work of the imagination filling the void within ourselves.” - Simone Weil

Referenced Works:

Gravity and Grace by Simone Weil

King Lear by William Shakespeare

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Radio Read Along

We love hearing your questions and comments! You can contact us by emailing adam@centerforlit.com, or you can visit our website www.centerforlit.com to find even more ways to participate in the conversation.

BiblioFiles #64: Neil Postman, Literary Language, and Shakespearean Gore (What Are We Reading?)

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It’s time for another What Are We Reading? episode of BiblioFiles. And instead of asking one person to sit in the hot seat, the entire CenterForLit crew decided to share the strange array of books sitting on their nightstands. It appears that many of us are interested in the relationship between digital and print at the moment; Adam has discovered his “twin” in the publishing world, and Shakespeare’s bloodiest play lends itself to many bad puns.

Referenced Works:

The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis

– Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

Reader, Come Home by Maryanne Wolf

Disruptive Witness by Alan Noble

How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster

Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare

The Worm Ouroboros by Eric Rücker Eddison

We love hearing your questions and comments! You can contact us by emailing adam@centerforlit.com, or you can visit our website www.centerforlit.com to find even more ways to participate in the conversation.

Lit, Period #7: Modernism

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Fitzgerald, Hemingway, World War I, and the fragmentation of reality – it can all only mean one thing: Lit, Period is finally back with a discussion of Modernism! The merits of this literary period can be controversial in some circles. Why should we read those expatriates with their stream-of-consciousness narration and difficult texts? The CenterForLit crew sits down to discuss this question and offer their perspective on the American Alcoholics (and friends).

To grab a copy of the Lit, Period notes for this episode, visit our website at wwww.centerforlit.com/litperiod7.

We love hearing your questions and comments! You can contact us by emailing adam@centerforlit.com, or you can visit our website www.centerforlit.com to find even more ways to participate in the conversation.

BiblioFiles #63: "A Defence of Penny Dreadfuls" by G.K. Chesterton

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The CenterForLit crew is on a quest to discover what respected artists and thinkers have to tell us about good reading! This week we’re looking at a little essay by G.K. Chesterton: “A Defence of Penny Dreadfuls.” It is certainly Chesterton at his finest, and we have a lot of fun savoring his witty bon mots and chewing on his insightful wisdom.

Referenced Works:

– Sponsor: Libromania Podcast (Close Reads Podcast Network)

“A Defence of Penny Dreadfuls” by G.K. Chesterton

In the Woods by Tana French

– The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Myseries

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

We love hearing your questions and comments! You can contact us by emailing adam@centerforlit.com, or you can visit our website www.centerforlit.com to find even more ways to participate in the conversation.

BiblioFiles #62: What is the Importance of Children's Poetry?

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From nursery rhymes to A.A. Milne to Shel Silverstein, many of us have warm memories of the lyric verses we were taught in our childhood. But if you go back and look at those words, you are unlikely to find much of weight or “thematic importance.” And yet these works remain beloved. What is the importance of children’s poetry? Why should we read it to our children – or for ourselves? In this episode the CenterForLit crew sits down to answer these questions and to revel in our own memories of children’s poetry.

Referenced Works:

– Sponsor: Libromania Podcast (Close Reads Podcast Network)

– “Disobedience” and “Happiness” by A.A. Milne

– “At the Sea-side”  by Robert Louis Stevenson

Where the Sidewalk Ends, “Tree House,” “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout,” and “Overdues” by Shel Silverstein, T

– “I’m Nobody! Who are you (260)” by Emily Dickinson

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt

– “The Swing” by Robert Louis Stevenson

– “Birches” by Robert Frost

A Poke in the I and A Kick in the Head by Paul Janeczko

We love hearing your questions and comments! You can contact us by emailing adam@centerforlit.com, or you can visit our website www.centerforlit.com to find even more ways to participate in the conversation.

BiblioFiles #61: Celebrating 50 Years of Honey for a Child's Heart

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Back in the day the Andrews family relied heavily on Gladys Hunt’s 1969 guide to children’s literature, Honey for a Child’s Heart. In this episode we celebrate its 50th anniversary and consider what wisdom it has to offer us today.

Referenced Works:

–Sponsor: Libromania Podcast (Close Reads Podcast Network)

Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt

We love hearing your questions and comments! You can contact us by emailing adam@centerforlit.com, or you can visit our website www.centerforlit.com to find even more ways to participate in the conversation.

BiblioFiles #60: Virgil Wander, Community Ties, and a Candid Conversation (What Are We Reading?)

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It’s the Andrews like you’ve never seen them before. When Adam hits record without telling the crew, he subjects the BiblioFiles world to a regular, old, unpremeditated Andrews family exchange. Once that’s finally over, we begin a discussion of Missy’s latest read, Virgil Wanderer, and revel in the beauty of Leif Enger’s recent offering.

Referenced Works:

– Libromania (closereadspods.com)

Virgil Wander, Peace Like a River, So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Leif Enger

An Interview with Leif Enger about Virgil Wanderer (The Rabbit Room)

Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

Pelican Book Club: Jayber Crow

We love hearing your questions and comments! You can contact us by emailing adam@centerforlit.com, or you can visit our website www.centerforlit.com to find even more ways to participate in the conversation.

BiblioFiles #59: Wintertime Reading

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Always winter. Never Christmas. That’s January for you. We need the perfect winter reads to get us through these dreary days. The CenterForLit crew shares their personal winter predilections and suggestions about what to read (and what not to read!) in order to survive until spring.

Referenced Works:

– Sponsor: The Bookening Podcast

Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

– “For The Time Being” by W.H. Auden

– The Cuckoo’s Calling, Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom (with Elizabeth and John Sherrill)

Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

Dickensian by BBC, available on Amazon Prime

Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé

The Father Brown Stories by G.K. Chesteron

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs

Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman

The Mitten by Jan Brett

 – Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton

The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, Smiley’s People, A Perfect Spy by John le Carré

The Night Manager by BBC, available on Amazon Prime

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

We love hearing your questions and comments! You can contact us by emailing adam@centerforlit.com, or you can visit our website www.centerforlit.com to find even more ways to participate in the conversation.

BiblioFiles #58: Is Literature Art or Artifact?

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To what extent is literature a product of its time? Is there danger in ignoring the historical context of a work of art? Or in focusing too heavily on it? Should we treat literature primarily as art or artifact? The CenterForLit crew takes up this question in our first episode of the new year! This wouldn’t be BiblioFiles if we didn’t start off 2019 with a tough-y.

Sponsor: The Bookening

Referenced Works:

Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

– “The Death of the Author” by Roland Barthes

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Close Reads Podcast)

– “On His Blindness” by John Milton

– “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

Radio Read Along podcast

We love hearing your questions and comments! You can contact us by emailing adam@centerforlit.com, or you can visit our website www.centerforlit.com to find even more ways to participate in the conversation.

BiblioFiles 2018 Christmas Special

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It’s a special Christmas present for you from CenterForLit! Our Radio Read Along podcast is taking over BiblioFiles this week as Adam reads aloud O.Henry’s short story “The Gift of the Magi.” This also gives the BiblioFiles team some time off to rejuvenate and celebrate the holidays with the fam. We hope you enjoy this classic tale with your family and have a very Merry Christmas!

Referenced Works:

Radio Read Along podcast
The Pelican Society

BiblioFiles #57: Which Contemporary Novels Will Become Classics?

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After receiving this intriguing question from a BiblioFiles listener, the crew settled in to indulge in an episode of pure, delicious speculation. Do you have a title you’d like to add to the conversation? Comment below with your suggestions for the CenterForLit reading list!

Referenced Works:

– “The Contribution of the 20th Century” by Clifton Fadiman

– Gilead, Home, and Lila by Marilynne Robinson

“The Steward of Middle-earth” by Hannah Long

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

BiblioFiles Episode #19: An Interview with Author Gary D. Schmidt

Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

“Is the Aeneid a Celebration of Empire – Or a Critique?” by Daniel Mendelsohn

Blood Meridian and The Road by Cormac McCarthy

We love hearing your questions and comments! You can contact us by emailing adam@centerforlit.com, or you can visit our website www.centerforlit.com to find even more ways to participate in the conversation.

BiblioFiles #56: Roald Dahl, Oompa Loompa Laws, and the Difference Between Moral and Theme

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When Ian settled in to lead a discussion of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with his students, he looked for some way to tie the entire story together into a continuous narrative. Is there an overarching theme, or is this beloved Roald Dahl story just a series of morality tales? How is the tone in keeping with the rest of Dahl’s work? Is it possible to love something that just lays down the law on us? These are the questions that arise when the BiblioFiles team sits down to record a rambunctious, wandering episode without any prior planning or meditation…

Referenced Works:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

– Danny, the Champion of the World

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Matilda

– “Paron’s Pleasure”

The BFG

We love hearing your questions and comments! You can contact us by emailing adam@centerforlit.com, or you can visit our website www.centerforlit.com to find even more ways to participate in the conversation.

BiblioFiles #55: On Making Booklists

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Join the BiblioFiles Podcast Discussion Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/333790777396633/

What is the secret to making a good booklist – for yourself or for your students? What belongs on the best booklists? In this episode the BiblioFiles crew chats about their own various experiences with making booklists and discusses how different personalities react to them. We talk about the difficulties a teacher encounters when crafting a booklist for their students and throw around some approaches that have worked for us.

Referenced Works

Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

Moby Dick and Billy Budd by Herman Melville

Paradise Lost by John Milton

– Augustine’s Confessions

The Gift of Fire by Richard Mitchell

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

– How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler

We love hearing your questions and comments! You can contact us by emailing adam@centerforlit.com, or you can visit our website www.centerforlit.com to find even more ways to participate in the conversation.

BiblioFiles #54: Hard Times and Soap Boxes (What Are We Reading?)

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Have you ever had that experience where you read a book by an author you absolutely love…and find that you don’t really love it? It’s Adam’s turn in the hot seat for this What Are We Reading? episode of BiblioFiles, and he’s talking to us about Charles Dickens’ Hard Times. As one of Dickens’ most enthusiastic advocates, we were surprised to learn that he didn’t much enjoy this novel. We grill him for the reasons why, discuss the proper places of questions vs. answers in literature, and talk about the different aspects of Dickens’ writing.

Referenced Works:

– Hard Times

– Little Dorrit

– Great Expectations

– A Tale of Two Cities

We love hearing your questions and comments! You can contact us by emailing adam@centerforlit.com, or you can visit our website www.centerforlit.com to find even more ways to participate in the conversation.

BiblioFiles #53: An Apology for Poetry

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What is poetry’s relationship to the literary arts? How is poetry different from prose or other works of literature? Why should we read it in addition to other works? In this episode the BiblioFiles crew attempts an apology for poetry while rambling on about all of their favorite poets and poems along the way.

Referenced Works:

Poetics by Aristotle

– “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

An Invitation to Poetry by Jay Parini

– “Poetry” by Marianne Moore

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

– “The Kings’ Breakfast,” “Disobedience,” and “Happiness” by A.A. Milne

– “Digging” and Beowulf by Seamus Heaney 

– The work of Siegfried Sassoon

– John Donne’s Holy Sonnets

– The work of Gerard Manley Hopkins

– “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S Eliot

– “The Gray Man” in Usher by B. H. Fairchild

– Shakespeare’s Sonnets

– The work of Christian Wiman

– The work of Robert Frost

David Middleton

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

We love hearing your questions and comments! You can contact us by emailing adam@centerforlit.com, or you can visit our website www.centerforlit.com to find even more ways to participate in the conversation.