Kuwaiti Artist Creates Cemetery Dedicated to Banned Books

Earlier this year, the government of Kuwait officially acknowledged that it had banned over 4,300 books across the country over the past four years. In a form of protest, a Kuwaiti graphic designer and artist Mohammad Sharaf created the Cemetery of Banned Books on a plot of land near the location of Kuwait’s Annual Book Fair.

Sharaf created over 200 headstones, each bearing the name of a particular book that has been banned. Titles include Nahj al-Balagha, The Divine Comedy, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and One Hundred Years of Solitude, to name but a few. Children’s books have also been banned, including one that’s based upon the Disney adaptation of The Little Mermaid. Encyclopedias. as well as religious and political texts are also banned. The New York Times reports that a group of six Arabic and six English readers who work under the Ministry of Information oversee the bans.

Officials were not amused by the art installation and the piece stood for only four hours before it was taken down by Kuwaiti authorities. Sharaf has not yet faced legal action, but in an interview with Hyperallergic, he said: “There is a chance that I might face legal repercussions because I did not take permission to use the land to put my installation.” He went on to explain that the project is in no way affiliated with the Book Fair and was self-funded.

Sharaf describes the piece as a “symbolic piece of protest and public art intervention.” He stated that he received a lot of support on social media, but also some criticism from those who don’t believe he should be championing books that are sexual or promote secular or atheist ideals.

“The motivation [for the Cemetary] is simply to protest and fight the arbitrary ban of books in Kuwait. As a person who is an activist in the field in art and design, I’ve always thought that activism can be done in many forms,” he said. “Typical activism like riots, panel discussions, and lectures are good, but they are limited in their reach.” The front of the Book Cemetery features a librarians desk, a way of signalling that these books have been ‘checked out’ of Kuwait.

How Many Books Can You Read in a Year? Take the Test

By | Inspired by Literature, Reading Habits | One Comment
We all know reading is about quality not quantity but with so many books on the TBR it’s great to be able to power through them quicker than most. According to the Pew Research Center, the average American who reads gets through twelve books a year, and now you can find out your reading speed with this new test.

Lenstore has devised a test to measure your individual reading skills and see how long it will take you to tackle the world’s most popular novels. Take the rest below and see how you fare!
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Tumblr has a seriously hilarious obsession with Harry Potter

By | Inspired by Literature, News | No Comments
Tumblr is absolutely stuffed full of fandoms sharing their obsessions, observations, and frustrations. There is a group of fans for every television series, movie franchise, graphic novel, and all kinds of literature; many of them end up on Tumblr armed with GIFs and memes, and ready to fly the flag for their fandom.

The Hogwarts/Harry Potter fandom is one Tumblr has been obsessing over since forever and, despite the last movie being released back in 2011, they’re still going strong!

Some of the funniest observations ever made about Harry Potter and the wizarding universe can be found on the blog site, and here are our favourites…

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Gruffalo Coin Will Celebrate 20 Years of Julia Donaldson’s Loveable Monster

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It’s now twenty years since parents started reading The Gruffalo to their children and Julia Donaldson’s loveable monster has certainly stood the test of time. Since the release of the children’s book there has been a stageshow, follow on books and even various themed woodland events in the UK and now to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the book’s launch, there’s to be a Gruffalo 50p piece launched next week.

The Royal Mint is keeping fairly tight lipped about the coin, and so we don’t know yet what it will look like but we assume it’s likely to feature the monster, and possibly the mouse who bravely stands up to him.
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Hilarious Valentine’s Cards for Harry Potter Fans!

By | Arty, Inspired by Literature, News | No Comments
Valentine’s Day should be magical, and a moment to share how you feel about the object of your affections. If you are both fans of Harry Potter and his whole wizarding world then artist Ben Kling has what you need.

From his Tumblr page, Ben shows us some of his best work to date- Harry Potter themed Valentine’s cards! Not all of them are PG13- be warned- and they are all slightly awkward, pun-filled, and full of magic.

If you love someone who should’ve attended Hogwarts then we have the cards for you, but be warned- there is the occasional swear word and distinct lack of romance…

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Beautiful Animated Short Film Shows The Magic of Reading

By | Arty, Inspired by Literature, Video | No Comments
Today we want to share with you this beautiful animated short film that shows the way books are part of your life, and how far a lifetime of reading can take you.

The creator, Renaud Plante contacted me this week to share the video and I just had to share it with you as I think you will all love it.

In the short film, which is called Un monde à découvrir (A World to Discover), a young boy goes to a library and discovers, in books and their words, a universe that will follow him until the end of his life. I’m sure a lot of you will relate.

Enjoy!
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6th Graders Recreate Iconic Book Covers for Black History Month

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Book covers by Black authors have been recreated by a class of 6th grade students from Milwaukee to celebrate Black History Month.

Thanks to educator Terrance Sims, the class were able to accurately recreate some of the most iconic book covers and pay homage to Black voices. Sims ensures each Black History Month is marked by creating a project meant to highlight the talent, strength, and importance of Black leaders, artists, and culture.

This year’s project was inspired by the class’s book club who came up with the idea, and Sims gave it the title ‘Representation is Key’. The recreations (below) are really well done, and the pride the kids feel in themselves and the Black icons, is clear.  Read More



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