Friday, May 06, 2005


I Love What I've Heard About Your Book

"Book's Message Disturbs Officials," announces last week's Chester Daily Local in my dear old home state of Pennsylvania:

"Missing Heaven," the two-year-old, self-published work by Westtown resident Caroline Wagner, was selected as the inaugural work for the Chester County Reads program last week. The goal of Chester County Reads is to encourage residents to read the book this summer, then participate in discussion groups about it in the fall. However, since it was publicly announced that the book was chosen, questions have been raised by some about its message and whether it is appropriate for the taxpayer-funded Chester County Library to make it the centerpiece of its new literary program.

The book centers around the character, Hannah, and her healing powers. Wagner believes "Missing Heaven" could be interpreted to have an anti-organized religion message. "The most unlikable character is very heavy-handedly religious," Wagner said, "and uses religion against Hannah when she’s a child."

"Missing Heaven" has prompted a letter from the Philadelphia chapter of the Anti-Defamation League followed by an apology from the commissioners, read during their Thursday meeting by commissioners’ Chairman Donald A. Mancini. The county did not decide to eliminate the book from Chester County Reads.

At the time, Mancini noted that none of the commissioners had read "Missing Heaven."... The commissioners will not endorse another book, [Commissioner Dinniman] said, without first reading it.

So. The people in charge of Chester County Reads can't be bothered to... er, read. Will it surprise you if I add that Chester County also has a Ten Commandments plaque on their courthouse?

No, of course it won't surprise you.

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