by KEITH RICE,
There’s nothing quite like a holiday dinner to bring a family together. I was fortunate to grow up in a huge, boisterous clan (I have enough aunts, uncles, and first cousins to populate a small town), so holiday dinners were always a comically chaotic affair filled with way too much food and plenty of laughs.
In thinking about the brouhaha that so often accompanied the holiday meals of my childhood and adolescence, I realized how much I miss the experience. As a result, I couldn’t resist thinking about the fictional families that would be particularly intriguing to spend the holidays with. From the classic and the heartwarming, to the sure-to-be-delightfully-raucous, these are a few of the fictional families we’d love to visit for the holidays.
Why not start with the quintessential Christmas family? The family at the heart of Dickens’ classic Christmas tale was lovable enough to help melt the heart of Ebenezer Scrooge – the most curmudgeonly of curmudgeons. And who can resist a roaring fire, roasting chestnuts, and that massive Christmas goose?
This one is obvious, right? For one, there would be magic – that should be reason enough in and of itself. For another, we’re talking about one of the most delightfully quirky and loving families in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. There’s also the after-dinner quidditch game to look forward to, and I’m sure you could even toss a garden gnome or two.
Sitting in the dining room with Scout, Jem, and Atticus Finch would be a very interesting way to spend a holiday meal. You’d have the precocious charm of Scout and the timeless wisdom of Atticus. Really, what could be better than that?
George R. R. Martin
Winters in Westeros may be notoriously unpleasant, but we can imagine holiday meals with the full Stark clan to be an interesting affair. Given that the Starks are one of the great houses of Westeros, they most likely put out a truly epic spread. Beyond that, there would probably be plenty of Stark children hijinks, and we can imagine Ned would have a good story or two to tell.
While this meal would surely a particularly impressive to-do, sitting down to dine with the Bennets would be an experience in itself. The dinner conversation alone would make this a worthy holiday experience.
Louisa May Alcott
It really can’t get much more classically idyllic than a holiday with the March family. Imagine a roaring fire in a quaint New England cottage, a freshly cut tree, and perhaps even a holiday themed play written by Jo for the family to perform. Sounds pretty great, right?
First of all, the food for this one would be great – although it might be prudent to pass on the barbecue – but, fried green tomatoes are one of the best things ever. When you factor in the quirky charm of Idgie Threadgoode, this is not likely a holiday meal you’d soon forget.
We generally try to stick strictly to literary world when contemplating these sorts of lists, but in this case I’m going to argue that books were most certainly a big part of “The Gilmore Girls”, so let’s roll with it. There would be epic and wonderfully witty dinner conversation, and a lovely stroll around Star’s Hollow. As long as Luke is doing the cooking, everything with the actual meal should be fine.
The Moline Public Library will be closed Thursday, November 23 and Friday, November 24 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, but we will be
full and sleepy open again on Saturday, November 25 for normal operating hours.
From the Moline Public Library
Oh man. This is tailor-made for libraries. Well… it’s tailor-made for books anyway, which we are all about. And all we have to do to show our support is exactly what we always do!
Which is to say, provide people with access to tens of thousands of books and encourage and enable those same people to read those same books. It’s perfect!
What can you do to show your appreciation for the dominant means of storing, transporting and spreading knowledge and understanding on Earth for the last 1,700 years or so (before books it was all scrolls and wax and rocks)?
Take time out from planning your costume parties and hanging fake cobwebs and stop by the library. Check out that old favorite, or that new book you’ve been meaning to read, or, if all else fails, ask a librarian to suggest something for you (if you plan it ahead of time you can fill out a Library Concierge form and have a list of five personally tailored recommendations waiting for you). Welcome to October and happy reading.
It’s Banned Books Week!
What is Banned Books Week?
That’s an easy one. It’s an annual celebration of your right to read whatever you want.
And why is it important?
This answer is longer, but still pretty easy. I’ll keep it to three main points.
First off, in this country and at this time, it’s pointless. To begin shutting down or cutting out ideas, perspectives and lifestyles that a specific person, or group of people, doesn’t understand, identify with or approve of solves LITERALLY NOTHING. For anybody. Including those that are attempting to challenge or ban the material. Nothing makes a book shout, “Check out what I’m about!” louder than someone else shouting not to check out what it’s about. Plus, even if “they” hypothetically manage to ban a book from a library or school there are hundreds of other places that a determined reader can go to get it. Pointless.
Second, one persons obscene or unfit material is another persons broadened horizons. Reading about something does not make you automatically believe what you have read, but it does help you to be aware of and consider other perspectives. There is evidence that reading encourages and increases empathy. Empathy – generally listed as a positive human quality… by, like, everyone. The other big reason that a lot of books with violence or sex or bad language or “adult situations” and so on, are challenged, especially books for teens and younger readers, is to “protect the children!” But here’s the thing, when those topics are addressed in books for younger readers they are done so from the perspective of younger characters and talked about in a way that is accessible and appropriate to that age group, helping the reader come to terms with and learn about the fact that whatever it is exists in the real world. Ignoring it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen and censoring it will just create kids who are blind-sided by it when they encounter it as they get older.
Third, no one likes to think about human rights and civil liberties in “use ’em or lose ’em” terms, but… It’s a potentially slippery slope – 1 banned book can become ten banned books, can become one hundred, can become state approved reading list only. It’s a little dramatic, I know, but it has happened, and, historically speaking, cultures (or, call a spade a spade, regimes) that make a habit out of banning books are often just around the corner from burning and destroying them (and occasionally their readers). Also, not typically super-happy places to live. I’m just saying.
So, there you are. Banning books – pointless, counter-productive and oppressive.
Support your right to read what you want – READ A BANNED BOOK TODAY!
If you need help finding one (there are lots) you can find lists here.
We’re closed today in honor of all the days we (and all the other businesses, factories offices, etc., of this great nation) are not closed.
We’re celebrating American labor by gathering together all of our non-working dependents and retired relatives and providing them with sustenance in the form of an enormous and bountiful barbecue. There could be a metaphor or message in that somewhere, but I’m off today so I will look for it tomorrow. Who wants a burger?