Celebrate Banned Books!

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Books are banned for all kinds of reasons. They might contain graphic depictions of sexuality or violence, or they might be considered unsuitable for younger readers. The language might be offensive to some or the ideas might not fit with the community in which the book is being read (or not read). It’s not always about one group of people trying to make sure that another group of people isn’t going to have any fun — sometimes the reasons that people object are more complicated or nuanced.

Ohio has its share of banned books. Beloved by Toni Morrison is a perpetual favorite. Our own Margaret Peterson Haddix made it on the list in 2005 for Don’t You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey. Libraries face the brunt of challenges and parents are the greatest group of challengers.

In this day and age of internet access and digital download, the thought of completely banning a book seems quaint or even impossible. And it seems like banning something just creates a large virtual HEY READ THIS!!! sign post.

Celebrate the week in the way you best see fit! Read something banned!

Ohio is for book lovers

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The bad news: Valentine’s Day was yesterday.

The good news: Valentine’s candy is on sale and the cost of long-stemmed red roses is back down to pre-holiday levels.

The better news: In Ohio, love is always in the air.

February is still winter and the nights are still cold, speaking of the air. But you can warm up since Ohio is the home state of many romance writers. There are two state chapters of the Romance Writers of America, so it’s easy to find new authors if you want to combine your love of Ohio with your love of love. If you want to write romance novels or if you already do but would like some writer friends for hanging out and critiquing manuscripts, check out the Central Ohio Fiction Writers and the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Romance Writers of America (NEORWA). These active groups host guest speakers, post frequently on social media, and have dedicated members who are published authors.

As we said, there are so many Ohio romance writers. Want to mention one of them here (wish we had space for everyone): Jenny Crusie. Jenny writes sharp, snappy dialogue and her stories are populated by equally intelligent heroines. Sometimes she writes on her own, but her collaborations are crackling good fun too! In Agnes and the Hit Man (doesn’t sound like romance is anywhere nearby, but it is!), Jenny wrote the dialogue for the female protagonist (Agnes) and her writing partner, Bob Mayer, wrote the male protagonist’s dialogue (the hitman). In addition to being a Wapakoneta native, Jenny’s won awards and earned her doctorate from Ohio State. Jenny also keeps up an active and engaging blog.

So even though the big day is over, the nights are still cold in Ohio. Warm up with a book about love!