The proposal (SB 1300) would change the review process for books and other learning materials, adding requirements and making it more open to the public but also enabling regular purges of book lists to align them with standards or if the books are considered out of date.
Today we read the Sinclair Lewis of “Main Street,” “Babbitt,” “Elmer Gantry” and “It Can’t Happen Here” not for literary value but the way Margaret Mead studied the Balinese character–for ethnographic insights. Lewis’s novels are a window into an America not nearly as dated as his reputation.
Edward Abbey’s “Desert Solitaire,” published in January 1968, worthy of any top-100 list of the best books of the last hundred years and an essential read–and re-read-today, is a meditation, a polemic, a manifesto, a provocation, a valentine and an elegy to the red desert and to American wilderness.
Philip Roth’s “Nemesis” is the story of an unsuspecting Everyman who becomes a polio superspreader and turns on his fiancee, God and life. Written in 2010, the novel can be read in the age of the coronavirus as a study in grief and loss and the limits of personal, or divine, responsibility.
Bob Woodward’s and Robert Costa’s “Peril,” third in the trilogy of Woodward’s books on the Trump administration, isn’t history. It’s most revealing in what it does not say. It’s tragicomedy. It’s a chronicle of trash foretold. And it’s prediction. The worst is ahead.
Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, who now goes by the pronouns they/them, won the International Booker Prize for “The Discomfort of Evening,” an autobiographical novel about a 10-year-old girl who thinks she willed the death of her brother, and who watches her family and her bearings collapse after his death. The book caused a controversy due to themes of adolescent sexuality and animal torture.
Autumn of the Patriarch is a study in power unbound, unscrupulous, re-imagined rather than invented. History gave Garcia-Marquez too much material to need invention. Approaching 50 years since the novel published, it has recently come to feel more contemporary again.
“Achieving Our Country” is an energizing manifesto, a reminder that we are not as good as we think we are, and, atrocious as we can be, not nearly as bad, either. We are merely unachieved. With a little less despair, a little more affection, even–heaven forbid–a bit of patriotism, however defined but equally respected we can achieve more.
Linking the vile and threatening language his student-led demonstration drew outside a school board meeting in November to the superintendent’s decision to ban an LGBTQ-themed book for now, Jack Petocz, a student at Flagler Palm Coast High School, calls on the superintendent to reconsider the decision and consider its consequences.
Following the challenges of four titles by Flagler School Board member Jill Woolbright and a review by a book-challenge committee, the superintendent decided to return three of the four titles to their shelves but withhold a fourth pending new protocols that could still provide access.