June 28, 2009 in Features

‘Diary’ won’t be censored

By The Spokesman-Review

Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” had a brush with censorship in suburban Chicago recently – and won.

Some parents of incoming freshmen at Antioch High School in Illinois objected to the fact that Alexie’s book was on the summer reading list. They said it used foul and racist language and described certain sexual acts.

Yes, they were referring to Alexie’s National Book Award-winning semi-autobiographical novel of growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation.

They wanted the book pulled from the curriculum and the library shelves.

One of the parents was quoted as saying, “I can’t imagine anyone finding this book appropriate for a 13- or 14-year old. I have not met a single parent who is not shocked by this.”

Obviously, not everybody was so shocked. The superintendent and school board later ruled that the book could stay on the reading list, but with an alternative book for those who want it.

It’s the second time that the book has been the subject of parental protest, the first one in Oregon.

The Hebgen ‘Cataclysm’

A book with plenty of regional interest crossed our transom recently: “Cataclysm: When Human Stories Meet Earth’s Faults,” by Douglas W. Huigen (Skifoot Press, $17.95).

This is the story of the Aug. 17, 1959, Hebgen Lake earthquake and rock slide that devastated western Montana and killed 28 people. An entire National Forest campground was buried.

The rubble blocked the Madison River and created an entirely new lake, Earthquake Lake.

Huigen interviewed survivors and chronicles the human stories of the tragedy. He also does a good job of explaining the seismic forces that caused the quake. The book has plenty of great color photos and illustrations.

Huigen is former Montana newspaper editor and writer (and briefly a Spokesman-Review editorial writer). He now lives in Spokane.

“Cataclysm” is available at area bookstores or online at www.skifootpress.com.

‘The Mighty Oak and Me’

Chewelah author K.S. Brooks has just released her children’s book, “The Mighty Oak and Me” (Cambridge Books), about a 300-year-old oak tree in her backyard.

Reviewers have compared it to Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree.”

Brooks is a novelist, poet and photographer with a number of books to her credit. The book is available on Amazon and through her Web site, www.themightyoakandme.com.

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