Posts Tagged ‘Banned Books Week’

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Cast of Wonders 227: Problematic (Staff Pick 2016)

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders takes the month off to recharge, plan the year ahead and highlight some of our favourite episodes. Each week in January a different member of the Cast of Wonders crew will present their favorite story of 2016.

We hope you enjoy assistant editor Dani Daly’s favorite story from 2016, Problematic by Brian Hurrel, narrated by Tatiana Grey. The story originally aired September 27, 2016 as Episode 215.


Problematic

by Brian Hurrel

The Main Office is as spartan as the the rest of the campus. Three plain gray metal folding chairs arranged in front of Headmistress Dinali’s equally plain and unadorned wooden desk. In one of the chairs the slim ten-year- old frame of Luna Vega-MacPherson squirms restlessly, twisting strands of dark curly hair around a forefinger, and not at all trying to disguise her boredom. In the other two chairs sit her parents, looking equally uncomfortable but for different reasons.

I confess to taking some degree of pleasure in the final phase of the application process. Call it a guilty pleasure, but I do so enjoy seeing overbearing parents humbled. Since the Banks Institute is self-financing, and offers only full scholarships or flat out rejection, those of means have no more influence than those without.
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Cast of Wonders 216: This Story Begins With You (Banned Books Week)

Show Notes

The Comic Book Legal Defence Fund is a non-profit dedicated to protecting the First Amendment rights of the comics medium and is an annual sponsor of Banned Books Week. Founded in 1986, the CBLDF has managed and paid for the legal defense of artists, worked with libraries to resist challenged to comics and graphic novels, and undertaken advocacy work against unconstitutional proposed legitlation at the state and Federal level.


This Story Begins With You

by Rachael K. Jones

The story goes that your dad got a new job.

The story goes that you moved 5,000 miles away. You didn’t know anyone in your new town, and none of them knew you.

You had a best friend in your old town named Marco, but you left him behind. You had a playground on your old street. A favorite climbing tree. A secret hideout behind the garden shed made from plywood and latticed tree branches, papered with mildewed books the library had thrown out after the classics section flooded.

The story goes that losing all of this felt like a part of you had died. You cried a lot. That bothered your parents. You didn’t want them to feel guilty, so after a while you only cried when you were alone.

The story goes that you were the new kid in 9th grade. A well-meaning history teacher bumped a girl with an amethyst bracelet from her desk so you could take a seat near the front, but the girl’s friends glared at you, the intruder, the cuckoo squeezed into the wrong nest. You’d just arrived, and they already hated your guts.

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Cast of Wonders 215: Problematic (Banned Books Week)

Show Notes

Learn more about The Freedom to Read Foundation, an advocacy group that deals with a wide range of issues affecting our freedom of speech and our right to access information. A growing part of their mission is to educate librarians, library patrons, and the general public about issues related to the freedom to read and our right to access information.

 


Problematic

by Brian Hurrel

The Main Office is as spartan as the the rest of the campus. Three plain gray metal folding chairs arranged in front of Headmistress Dinali’s equally plain and unadorned wooden desk. In one of the chairs the slim ten-year- old frame of Luna Vega-MacPherson squirms restlessly, twisting strands of dark curly hair around a forefinger, and not at all trying to disguise her boredom. In the other two chairs sit her parents, looking equally uncomfortable but for different reasons.

I confess to taking some degree of pleasure in the final phase of the application process. Call it a guilty pleasure, but I do so enjoy seeing overbearing parents humbled. Since the Banks Institute is self-financing, and offers only full scholarships or flat out rejection, those of means have no more influence than those without.
(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 214: The Price of Stories (Banned Books Week)

Show Notes

Learn more about Stop Hate and their work to challenge all forms of hate crime and discrimination based on any aspect of an individual’s identity.


The Price of Stories

by Shannon Winward

Mother is not the real librarian. You think she has always been here, but that’s the magic working.

The real librarian – the one who issued your first library card, painted castles in the reading room and taught you about elephants – she never existed, now. That’s why you don’t remember.

But don’t worry; she’ll be back. 

Mother doesn’t come for the librarians.
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Cast of Wonders 195: The Tale of the White Tiger (Staff Pick 2015)

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders takes the month off to recharge our batteries, plan the year ahead, and highlight some of our favourite episodes. As part of joining the Escape Artists family, this year we’re pulling out all the stops. We’re running 10 staff pick episodes over the month, each one hosted by a different member of the Cast of Wonders crew.

We hope you enjoy editor and host Marguerite Kenner’s favorite story from 2015, The Tale of the White Tiger by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt and narrated by Tracey Yuen. The story originally aired July 5, 2015 as Cast of Wonders 168.


Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


The Tale of the White Tiger

by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt

Blind Li Xiao surveyed the marketplace. The sensor net embedded in his storyteller’s robes fed signals directly to his brain. The citizenship transponders exactly matched the number of heat signatures. A world firmly loyal to the Empire, then. Or one too afraid to act otherwise.

A passive scan showed at least two peacekeepers in the market. Probably more secret police. He would have to be careful in his story selection. Something from one of the official chronicles. Something he could use for his own purposes.

He beat his staff on the ground three times. The bells at the head chimed out their message. Be still and hearken. Blind Li Xiao is about to begin his tale. He chanted the introductory poem in his clear, high voice:

“When wicked ministers subvert the good,

“The Systems lose the beautiful and true.

“On Heaven’s River vast, White Tiger sails,

“Her course set by the pirate Madam Hu.”

An audience gathered in front of Blind Li Xiao. Children pressed close, their grandparents behind them. The young women and men stood at the edge, feigning disinterest or fearing entrapment. Blind Li Xiao swept the head of his staff in a broad arc as he spoke.

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Cast of Wonders 168: The Tale of the White Tiger


The Tale of the White Tiger

by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt

Blind Li Xiao surveyed the marketplace. The sensor net embedded in his storyteller’s robes fed signals directly to his brain. The citizenship transponders exactly matched the number of heat signatures. A world firmly loyal to the Empire, then. Or one too afraid to act otherwise.

A passive scan showed at least two peacekeepers in the market. Probably more secret police. He would have to be careful in his story selection. Something from one of the official chronicles. Something he could use for his own purposes.

He beat his staff on the ground three times. The bells at the head chimed out their message. Be still and hearken. Blind Li Xiao is about to begin his tale. He chanted the introductory poem in his clear, high voice:

“When wicked ministers subvert the good,

“The Systems lose the beautiful and true.

“On Heaven’s River vast, White Tiger sails,

“Her course set by the pirate Madam Hu.”

An audience gathered in front of Blind Li Xiao. Children pressed close, their grandparents behind them. The young women and men stood at the edge, feigning disinterest or fearing entrapment. Blind Li Xiao swept the head of his staff in a broad arc as he spoke.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 138: Things We Leave Behind

Show Notes

Welcome, everyone, to our Banned Book Week special. Banned Book Week is an annual event every September that aims to raise awareness about censorship and to celebrate the right to read. Many local libraries and bookshops hold events to highlight and discuss the social, political and legal issues around literature. You can find out a lot more at the Banned Book Week website, or at another of my personal favorite websites, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, where you’ll find lots of resources including free posters for holding your own event.

To celebrate, Cast of Wonders is proud to present Things We Leave Behind, written and narrated by one of our veteran authors, Alex Shvartsman. You’ve heard Alex’s work previously in The Field Trip; You Bet, and our short Christmas tale Nuclear Family. Excellent stories, each.


Things We Leave Behind

by Alex Shvartsman

Some of my earliest memories are of books. They were everywhere in our apartment back in the Soviet Union; shelves stacked as high as the ceiling in the corridor and the living room, piles of them encroaching upon every nook and available surface like some benign infestation.

Strangers came by often, sometimes several times a day, and browsed the shelves. They spoke to my father, always quietly, as though they were in a library. Cash and books exchanged hands in either direction but there was little haggling, both parties reluctant to insult the books by arguing over their price like they might with a sack of potatoes.

I learned to read at the age of three. My parents showed off this talent proudly, bribing me with candy to sound out long, complicated words like “automobile” and “refrigerator” in front of their friends. I found it more difficult to pronounce the harsh Russian R’s than to put together the words written in Cyrillic block letters on scraps of paper.

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Cast of Wonders 83: The Dictionary’s Apprentice

Show Notes

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


The Dictionary’s Apprentice

by Sandra M. Odell

The narrow streets of Gretchentown echoed with barking dogs and late evening front stoop conversations as Johnny-J made his way to the rally grounds. He circled twice to be certain no one saw him before hurrying to the burn piles. The air was bitter with sulfur and char. He breathed in through his mouth.

So little remained of the day. He hadn’t been allowed to stand with the adults in the front row at the purity rally, but had seen enough of the burn selection as it was brought in to regret looking. Johnny-J salvaged what he could of the Lessonkeepers’ fervor: a woman’s startled profile; a sooty hand clutching a rifle; a bouquet of once pink roses. Tucking the pieces inside his shirt, Johnny-J hurried back the way he came, avoiding the stern bulk of the Elder Hall on his way to the tarpaper-roofed shack beyond the west cistern. Breath came easier away from the killing grounds.
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Cast of Wonders 68: Mercurial Skin


Mercurial Skin

by Raechel Henderson

Jodi kneels on the floor taking inventory of musty, used books when she feels someone approach and tower over her.  She doesn’t mind the interruption because the books are starting to whisper to her again. When she looks up she bares her neck to the customer.  “Your Lucy complex is showing again,” Victor, the shop owner and her boss, says from where he’s building new shelves into the ceiling. Jodi pays him as much attention as the books.

For an instant Jodi and the customer, a boy of sixteen or seventeen, take stock of each other, looking for indicators they might be people who share common interests.

The boy wears standard neo-goth attire–lots of black and dripping in chains–but his costume can’t hide his white-bread good looks.  He’d be better suited to a band or school or fast food uniform. Like her, he is an imposter. She imagines the two of them riding a train through the Carpathians under a full moon.  He mumbles something to her, more of a long sigh than communication.
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Cast of Wonders 31: Inksucker

Show Notes

Today we present Inksucker by Aidan Doyle. Aidan is an Australian writer and computer programmer who loves travelling and has visited more than 70 countries. His experiences include teaching English in Japan, interviewing ninjas in Bolivia and going ten-pin bowling in North Korea. The majority of Inksucker was written during a 51-hour ferry ride from Osaka to Shanghai; it was originally published in the Worlds Next Door anthology and was shortlisted for the prestigious Aurealis Award. Aidan is currently working on a zombie novel set in Japan. You can find out more about him online.

Your narrator is Danielle Daly, who last read for us in Episode 27, My Boogie Man.

Due to our website crash in April 2014, we are in the process of reconstructing our back catalog. Please enjoy listening to the episode – we’ll have the show notes up as soon as we can!

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


Inksucker

by Aidan Doyle

If you’re a monster, stop reading this right now!

I’ve hidden lots of traps in these words. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

My name is Zoe and I’m 14 years old. I know how dangerous words can be. My family owns the best bookshop in all of Melbourne. There are thousands and thousands of books and the shelves stretch as far as you can see. The further you walk from the shop’s entrance, the older the books get. If you keep walking in a straight line for more than a few hours you can find books thousands of years old.
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