House of Leaves-Final Thoughts

It seems that our class has very different thoughts on having to have read House of Leaves. Personally, I think it was a super weird book but a very interesting read. I really like experiences, whether that be in an activity, in a meal, or in a book! And House of Leaves certainly was an experience to read. As well as the most unique plot I have ever read.

Book Covers/Books as Art

Field Journal-Day 45

Books were banned, and turned into various objects. Repurposed, reduced down to their pulp, and many other things. But, interestingly enough, their front pages were deemed non-threatening, and are allowed to be used as art as long as there is less than 10 words on the cover. Here is the cover of some famous books turned into wall art.

(real world location-basement of the Harvard bookstore)

Statement Piece

I have been inspired by the works of art I have been witnessing. I have a copy of a book that has already been partly destroyed, and is now unreadable, so I don’t feel bad destroying the rest of it.

I shredded the pages, and then pasted them back together, inside the cover of the book. You can see that the book exists,but you cannot read it. This is to represent what the banning of books does, it bans the physical copy not the over arching idea.

At first, I wanted to use it to send to the Capitol. But, then I realized it was just doing to fall on deaf ears. So, I decided to keep it with me, and use it in my teachings. It’s also good because I needed something to show to my superiors that I have been working. Hopefully they like it, I’m not ready to be sent back yet!

Books as Art

Field Journal-Day 37

Recently, I have been visiting museums in the area. I heard a rumor that some books were rescued before books were officially banned, and were turned into art. It is part of the resistance, but in a very underground way. They took the books and started to make sculptures out of them. They are “supposed” to symbolize how dangerous and bad books are, but the real purpose of them was to preserve books. The artist’s were hoping that they could make these books into sculptures to keep them safe, and then hopefully in the future when books are possibly not banned anymore, they can deconstruct the sculpture. They have some of the most rare and important works. They have Dante, Shakespeare, the Bible, and even Dr. Seuss! The sculptures are allowed to remain because they are art and not books. Most art these days is abstract, but no one has seemed to mind if these stay up as they serve as a reminder of how “bad” books are.

Getting Rid of Old Books

As I walked through a library full of used books today, I started thinking about our discussion on libraries that get rid of old books. They get rid of books that are falling apart, and books that have not been checked out in x amount of years (for UMW its 10). The class had very mixed reactions when we discussed this, but for the most part it didn’t seem like a problem. Logistically speaking, it’s practical. But as I picked up a beautiful copy of a very old book, I started to reconsider. It is a book for a tourist in Italy. One that would not be checked out very much from a random library. Now, both covers have fallen a part, so not in very good condition. This is a book that most libraries would have thrown out, but some how it ended up in this bookstore. I would have been heart broken to know a book like this existed, and was then destroyed. So now, I’m not sure where I stand on the practice.

Burning of Books

Talking about the burning of books really reminded me of the episode of Orange is the New Black where they have a book burning. The prison gets an infestation of bed bugs, so it is decided that most of the books in the prison’s library are ruined, so the prison declares that they all have to be destroyed. The prisoner’s are very upset by this, and the ones that work in the library or check out books very often, decide to hold a book funeral, and mention other times in history that books have been burned. I was thinking about how this illustrates how vital books can be to not only education, but recreation.

Twilight Zone

Field Journal-Day 30

I have found that most people will refuse to even touch a book. My plan of engaging them in the fight for reading will not be possible if they will not even try reading a real book. To combat this, I have started showing them one of my favorite episodes of the Twilight Zone-‘Time Enough At Last’, hoping that the absurdity of it, not even reading newspaper or magazines, will come through to them. Their reality is a Twilight Zone to me.

I am currently on the hunt for shows that can challenge them and their ways of thinking, shows that can convince them of the importance of reading. Current ones do not seem to exist, so I am secretly searching through the digital archives for old shows meant to teach. The television was what taught the majority Italians to read in the 1950s, who previously had been illiterate or near illiterate, and I am hoping I can use those same methods now.


Risky Business

Field Journal-Day 7

I am a week into my work here, and I have found that there are more risks than I originally was aware of. There are people who search for those who read and have books. One specific person, Tommy Cide, has proved to be particularly resourceful in finding books and trouble makers such as myself. I live in fear of the night, seeing the large, brilliant orange and bright red blaze illuminating the smoke blooming over the city, hearing the cries of a family as they are taken away, and thinking about all of the great works, possibly the last of their print, destroyed. I have broken through to a few people, they are starting a book club, to share books and to discuss them.


Beginning My Work

Field Journal-Day 1

My first day of work after being brought here, has been interesting to say the least. John, my boss, gave me an overview of the history of the future. People stopped reading and eventually the government decided to ban books by having them burned. The problem with this is that people have stopped thinking critically. They do not have access to information, differing opinions, or real education. No one can better themselves, because there is no way to.

My goal is to one-by-one show people that reading has a value to society. John, and his cohorts, goal is to bring about a Literary Enlightenment period. They are hoping that we can convert individuals into “readers” and they will in turn convert their friends, and so on and so on.

I underestimated how hard of a task this would be. It has gotten to the point here, that most people can barely read! They have a first grade reading level-how can I teach them through the satire of Jonathan Swift in A Modest Proposal, the lessons of Dicken’s in A Christmas Carol, or even, what the Bible actually says, if they can only read and comprehend One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish?

I need to re-evaluate my approach. I brought a few books with me that I thought I could easily utilize, but I may need to return to my real library back in 2018 to gather some more simple books.