Tuesday News: Book banning backfires, Spain searches for Cervantes, Vikings are revealed, and 1920’s Fairy Tales illustrated
Parents call cops on teen for giving away banned book; it backfires predictably – This is both sad and amusing. Sherman Alexie’s National Book Award winner, 2007 YA novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian had been banned from an Idaho junior high school curriculum. In concert with a petition to reinstate the book, a local bookstore (Rediscovered Books – perfect name), worked with students to distribute copies of the book on World Book Night, “an initiative to turn reluctant young readers onto reading with free, super-readable books.” Until, that is, some parents call the police because they were concerned that the students receiving books did not have their parents’ permission. Even though the cops could do nothing, and the whole thing simply raised the profile of the idiotic ban.
Not only did [the giveaway] go as planned, but when Alexie’s publisher Hachette got word of the incident, they sent Rediscovered an additional 350 copies on the house. So while the book may still be banned in the school curriculum, it’s available free of cost for any kid who wants to stop into Rediscovered and pick one up. –Death and Taxes
Spain to search for author Miguel de Cervantes’ remains – Although Miguel de Cervantes is now considered one of the most important literary figures in Western history, the author of Don Quixote died in 1616, penniless and without fanfare. Records indicate the general location of his burial, but there is no extant gravesite, so forensic scientists are going to use radar devices to search for the body. The enterprise will cost about 100,000 euros ($138,000 US; £82,352) and is expected to take a few months to complete.
“The radar cannot tell you whether it is the body of the writer, but it can indicate the place of burial,” the expert leading the search, Luis Avial, told reporters on Friday.
“The geo-radar can tell us that location… then comes the delicate work,” he added, referring to the exhumation and identification process. –BBC News
Every Viking ‘Fact’ Is Wrong – I have to admit that the way the Anglo Saxon period is portrayed in Romance drives me up the freaking wall. And it doesn’t help that stereotypes abound inside and outside fiction. So I’m pretty excited about this new exhibit at British Museum of artifacts from the Viking Age, which is challenging many of the stereotypes and myths that prevail about that era. Although we generally accept that history is written by the victors, in this case it’s the opposite, and the upshot of that has been that the Vikings have been presented as bloodthirsty, uncivilized brutes, rather than successful traders who were pretty much on par with other groups for sheer awfulness and violence. Which is not to say that they were total peace-seeking people, and their involvement in the slave trade was certainly despicable. However, they were a far more varied and complex people than has generally been portrayed, as were so many of the groups that represent the roughly 600 years of Anglo-Saxon history.
It seems this was a rare era in which history was not written by the victors; mostly because the victors couldn’t write. It was left to monks and Christian churchmen to craft the only contemporary accounts of many of the Vikings’ raids, and Vikings did attack churches, which held no sacred mystique for them. They were simply seen as easy, wealthy targets, confounding local conventions of the time.
“These accounts are dressed up in the language of religious polemic,” Williams said. “Many [of the stories] were borrowed from earlier accounts—from classical antiquity. The violent reputation and particularly the reputation for atrocities was created then, but the Vikings were probably no worse than anyone else.” –The Daily Beast
15 Breathtaking Illustrations Of Fairy Tales From The 1920s – From Cinderella to Puss in Boots and Sleeping Beauty, these illustrations are really lovely. –Buzzfeed