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Category / books

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Uncensored Part 2: Songs for Banned Books & Freedom

We are pleased and honored to be co-hosts for UNCENSORED, a party to kick off Banned Books Week and to benefit the DC Public Library. Books are such a vital part of our lives and our business; we are deeply alarmed when the people who oversee the education of our children deign to limit access to them.

For this playlist, we’ve chosen songs named for great books that have been banned or challenged by school systems in the US. We hope you'll read (we’ve included a choice passage from each work), listen (spotify player below), enjoy -- then join us this Friday night at Martin Luther King Library for music, art and crafty cocktails. Tickets are available online or at the door.



Animal Farm by George Orwell
1. Animal Farm – The Kinks
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” – George Orwell


Howl by Allen Ginsberg
2. Howl – Florence + The Machine
“What is obscenity? And to whom?”  - Allen Ginsberg


The Call Of The Wild by Jack London
3. The Call Of The Wild – David Byrne
“He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars.” – Jack London


Stranger In A Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
4. Stranger In A Strange Land – Blitzen Trapper
“The slickest way in the world to lie is to tell the right amount of truth at the right time - and then shut up.” ― Robert A. Heinlein

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Fifteen Songs For Huck Finn’s Birthday!

Today marks the 130th anniversary of the publishing of the first great American novel, Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. We don’t plan to rank the literary importance of this seminal work, nor do we intend to address the controversies surrounding Twain’s language choices or depiction of any of the characters in the book. We just want to tell you that it is one of our very favorites, and if you haven’t read it, pop in to the shop and pick up a copy. Find out what all the fuss is about.

We're on the record as unabashed opponents of censorship and book banning, so the travails of this great novel have never sat well with us. We can learn a lesson on taking criticism with measured composure by studying Twain's response to a report stating The Brooklyn Library had removed his books from their children's section. He retorted “I am greatly troubled by what you say. I wrote 'Tom Sawyer' and 'Huck Finn' for adults exclusively, and it always distressed me when I find that boys and girls have been allowed access to them. The mind that becomes soiled in youth can never again be washed clean. I know this by my own experience, and to this day I cherish an unappeased bitterness against the unfaithful guardians of my young life, who not only permitted but compelled me to read an unexpurgated Bible through before I was 15 years old. None can do that and ever draw a clean sweet breath again on this side of the grave.”

For those new to this blog, each week we choose a topic and then select thematically appropriate songs, pairing each song with an appropriate quote. In honor of the first publishing of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn on this date in 1884, we’re switching things up this week, selecting a quote from the book first, then pairing it with a fitting song. We don't claim to have created a literary masterwork here, but, to paraphrase Samuel Clemens, we’ve never been reluctant to meddle in hifalut’n foolishness, so thank you for indulging us. As always, there are bonus songs in the Spotify player at the bottom of the list.

1. “Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons  attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.” - Author’s Notice
Your Mama Warned You – Eels

2. “You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth” – Chapter 1
Huck Finn – The Statesboro Revue

3. “It was a dreadful thing to see. Human beings can be awful cruel to one another.” – Chapter 33
Don’t Be Cruel – Elvis Presley

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

All the Lovely Books

So many lovely books, so little time to read ... we make ambitious lists, and hope for a snow day soon. In the meantime, they make awfully pretty room decor {while slyly beckoning us to come hither and pour through their pages}.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Uncensored: A Playlist for Banned Books Week

In celebration of Banned Books Week, we (HUGE book fans, all of us) are doing all sorts of bookish things. We all went to the Uncensored bash at MLK Library last Friday evening, a preview party for Banned Books Week, sponsored by the DC Public Library Foundation. It was the coolest spot in town (full disclosure, we helped host the event ...), featuring provocative art and music and literature and drink. You gotta love provocative drink.

And now, we are pleased and proud to present a guest playlist composed by DCPL's own Tony Ross. Enjoy.

Playlist: Uncensored


Selections and notes by Tony Ross, DCPL Librarian

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Magic Maddie.


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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Artsy Science.

With the help of working scientists and 75 of today's hottest artists, The Where, the Why, and the How answers the big questions. Do rogue waves exist? Why do we hiccup? What do honey bees say when they dance? Each query is illustrated by a leading artist who was given free rein to design as they pleased, making this a wondrous collection of knowledge and art not to be missed.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Give a Kid a Classic.

Every time we see these Cozy Classics, we smile. Add them as a compendium to your own classics, or gift them to budding readers with fantastic imaginations.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Bookish Monday: Steal Like an Artist

On February 13, we had the pleasure of meeting Austin Kleon, author of Steal Like an Artist. He popped by the shop to find the perfect Valentine's Day gift for his lady love (this lovely little number), and from there, a Twitter friendship was born! One week later: we're carrying his delightful book and positively chomping at the bit to live life more creatively.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Bookish Monday: From the Mind of David Byrne

We're ever so excited about this magical volume from David Byrne. The man behind The Talking Heads and recent solo endeavors imparts his wisdom on his craft. Guess what just made it to the top of our reading list?

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Bookish Monday: Creepy Chronicles

Enter a world of mystery with The Chronicles of Harris Burdick. Long have Chris Van Allsburg's illustrations entranced, and now we have a collection of stories to give them words. Well-known authors have contributed their considerable talents to this immensely engaging tome, which will delight readers young and old for years to come.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Bookish Monday: Polpo.

Oh, this is such a lovely cookbook from London's Venetian-style Polpo restuarant. Wherever you prepare the recipes, you'll feel like you're in the famous floating city. (Bonus: the exposed binding shows Japanese threading and allows for the book to lay flat on your work station.) Please do think of inviting us over when you make the spinach, soft egg & parmesan pizzetta or the prawn risotto with monksbeard. We'll bring the Campari.

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Monday, January 7, 2013

Bookish Monday: Of Flying Marsupials

Our new favorite post-holiday addition to the shop is this sweet little book about a flying kangaroo who must leave home to discover her own special beauty. Adelaide will surely be an inspiration to any of the (kangaroo) kids in your life (and the illustrations are as charming as can be).

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Bookish Monday: Duct Tape

Popular Mechanics brings the perfect gift for your Mr. or Ms. Fix-It. Learn quick tricks to drain a flooded basement, fend off an ant invasion, extract a broken key from a lock, and many more. It's all you'll need to keep your home running smoothly (for the short-term, at least!).

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Bookish Monday: Roots

Yummmm. Savory, rooty deliciousness for the Thanksgiving table. 225 recipes, accompanied by photos ..

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Bookish Monday: Around the World in Three Days.

Our new favorite that we can barely keep in stock:

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Monday, July 23, 2012

bookish monday: grimm tales.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

bookish monday: the night sky.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

bookish monday: rappin’.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

bookish monday: a little bit of everything.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

bookish monday: luuuuuuuuke.

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wonders never cease