At a packed school-board meeting near Rockford, Illinois, earlier this year, a woman waved blown-up images from Maia Kobabe’s illustrated memoir Gender Queer in front of the Harlem School District board. “If my neighbor were to supply this to my child, guess what? He would be in jail,” she said to scattered applause. She was among dozens of students, parents, and community members who’d shown up to weigh in on whether the district should ban eight titles, including Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. “I do not take the banning of books lightly … but frankly, these particular books contain child-sexual-abuse material,” said one of the participants, echoing others who claimed that Gender Queer, which is about being nonbinary and asexual, amounted to “child abuse.”
Even though the room was evenly split, the board ultimately voted to ban Gender Queer and keep the other seven, adding even more notoriety to the most-challenged book of 2021. Gender Queer has become a national lightning rod for book banning in schools and libraries, which has reached the highest recorded level since 1990 when the American Library Association began tracking challenges. In 2021, the number of attempts to remove books jumped from 156 the previous year to 729; it’s on track to be even greater this year.
What is the fate of a book like Kobabe’s after it is debated and banned? It might seem, on the face of it, desirable: One children’s-book author on tour in Virginia told me that she hoped her book would be censored, citing widely reported accounts that bans drive sales. Many people share this assumption. Stories in the media have gleefully trotted out examples of how censorship efforts backfire and lead instead to enormous demand. It’s a narrative that mitigates fears about an American culture grown hostile to provocative books. It makes us feel a little better.
But this isn’t what actually happens when a book gets banned. At least, not most of the time.
The ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom has a telling statistic: It estimates that a staggering 82 to 97 percent of book challenges go unreported on. That means these books, the overwhelming majority, don’t even make it beyond the school-board minutes and into the local paper. And, as it turns out, this question of how much attention a book gets—either because it’s already well known, like The Bluest Eye, or because the banning itself generates big news—is a crucial factor. It makes all the difference in whether censorship helps or hinders a book’s chances of landing in a reader’s hands.
Like many people, I was under the impression that bans tended to be good for business—after all, every bookstore in America seems to have a special display for these infamous books, including on Banned Books Week, which takes place this week. I knew from studying experimental literature that challenging, obscene, or subversive works are often the very ones that end up being canonized; as a bookseller and literary critic, I understood the power of controversy in the attention economy. But when I started digging deeper, I found the notion that bans alone drive sales to be misguided, based on data analysis and more than a dozen interviews with publishers, booksellers, authors, First Amendment watchdogs, and industry experts.
Bans increase sales only when they are accompanied by a media blitz, as confirmed in a recent NPD BookScan report. In the two weeks leading up to the Harlem County school-board meeting, Gender Queer experienced its largest volume of sales, after The New York Times profiled the book and its author, according to NPD BookScan. Just as a glowing review from the Times can boost sales, so too can an intriguing profile of the most-banned book of the year. Another recent example is Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Maus, which saw a 753 percent increase in sales and even sold out on Amazon after its banning by a Tennessee school board was widely reported on.
More typical, though, is what happened to the author Trung Le Nguyen. His young-adult graphic novel, The Magic Fish, was on a list compiled by a Texas state representative last year of books that “might make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex.” The campaign successfully removed 414 titles from a school district in Texas, including The Magic Fish. There was little recourse for Nguyen and seemingly nothing his publisher could do. He never got the media attention that accrued to Maus, so he was left with the more common realization that now fewer kids would be able to find his work. “It’s just kind of an unfortunate reality where my book’s longevity on bookshelves and exposure to audiences in publicly accessible spaces would be severely diminished,” he told me. “It feels terrible.”
The Magic Fish is an immigrant coming-out story—a combination of themes that make it a prime target in this recent wave of bans. The banning of YA books can seriously harm their sales because these books, more than adult titles, depend on circulation in schools and libraries. Without institutions like these buying the books en masse, Nguyen said, authors can have trouble securing another book deal, because “the likelihood that you’ll make back your advance is diminished quite a lot.” Nguyen also pointed out that debut authors who aren’t firmly established, as well as marginalized authors who write about their own identity, are particularly vulnerable to these consequences.
“For every challenge that hits the headlines, there’s probably five to eight challenges behind it that don’t,” said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, the director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. Given the decline of local news over the past two decades and the fact that book sections have long been among the first to be eliminated when newspaper budgets are slashed, the percentage of unreported book challenges may worsen. Although niche outlets such as Book Riot and First Amendment advocates such as PEN America have closely tracked book bans, most titles do not make headlines, nationally or locally, and instead languish in the dark.
“Not every book is an award-winning book like Maus,” said Jeff Trexler, the interim director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, which protects the First Amendment rights of comics creators. “There are other books where this happens—their sales don’t go up, their sales evaporate, or the author all of a sudden becomes radioactive.”
Unlike with sales spikes, quantifying how bans harm book sales is difficult—but we can gain a clearer picture by looking at how the publishing industry relies on bulk purchases by schools and libraries, exactly the slice of the market that has become a battleground for a larger culture war.
According to a 2022 report by PEN America, YA titles account for 47 percent of the books challenged, followed by picture books at 18 percent. And this educational marketplace is especially important for YA authors like Nguyen, many of whom get a significant share of their sales from wholesale deals and write for grade-school audiences who don’t typically have spending power. “When a book is endorsed by schools and libraries, that becomes a kind of livelihood that could sustain an author’s career,” said Margaret Stohl, a New York Times best-selling author whose chapter book Cats vs. Robots was recently banned by a Missouri school district for having a nonbinary character.
And schools and libraries aren't just making onetime bulk purchases. As Skip Dye, the senior vice president of library sales and digital strategy for Penguin Random House, put it, “You’re buying thousands of books a year on an ongoing basis to replace those books that have been damaged.”
Although book bans have always been political to an extent, national organizations’ current level of involvement in censorship campaigns is new. Typically, books are challenged by local community members; however, 41 percent of the bans tracked by PEN America from July 2021 to March 2022 were “tied to directives from state officials or elected lawmakers to investigate or remove books in schools.” In addition, reporting by The Guardian and Salon has shown connections between wealthy donors and advocacy groups such as Moms for Liberty and No Left Turn in Education, which are spearheading ban efforts in some states and providing a playbook for others.
The repercussions of these proliferating banning efforts are being felt by authors whose names we may never hear, but who are feeling the impact in a profoundly personal way. The YA author Laurie Halse Anderson told me that it was like a gut punch when her first novel, Speak, which is partially based on her own sexual assault at age 13, was challenged in 2000 shortly after being named a finalist for the National Book Award. “I was so horrified that somebody would think I would write something that would be harmful for kids,” she said.
The pain of being banned often cuts deeper than worries about dips in sales or lost future book deals. As Margaret Stohl told me, it can feel like having your entire worldview rejected. The nonbinary character in her book was inspired by her own child, and in her eyes, the censorship amounted to a sort of erasure: “They were not banning a book—they were banning an identity.”
Publishers Weekly editorial director Jim Milliot talked about the upcoming publication of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol report and how the publishing industry treated other major congressional reports. About Books also reported on the latest publishing industry news, insider interviews, and current non-fiction books featured on C-SPAN’s BookTV for the week of October 2, 2022. close
Meet the Author of "Oracle Database Performance Tuning: Pocket Solution Guide For Upgrading Oracle Database 19c"PLANO, TX, USA, October 10, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Viscosity North America, Inc. ("Viscosity") is excited to announce its latest book release and book signing event with Gary Gordhamer, Managing Principal Consultant at Viscosity, Oracle ACE, and multi-awarded technical expert and leader. He will be at Oracle CloudWorld in Las Vegas, NV, this month promoting his recently published performance tuning book with Viscosity, “Oracle Database Performance Tuning: Pocket Solution Guide For Upgrading Oracle Database 19c.”
Viscosity will supply away 200 free copies at the meet & greet and book signing event with Gordhamer at the Quest Software booth at Oracle CloudWorld on Tuesday, October 18, from 3:00 – 4:00 PM inside the Oracle CloudHub exhibit hall.
This pocket solution guide includes approaches, instructions, examples, definitions, best practices, lessons learned, and demo scripts to supply you the fundamental insights needed to tune Oracle 19c Databases. It also touches lightly on essential Topics that could use their own deep dive pocket guide but are too important not to mention in this book. These other Topics include tuning of the RAC Cluster, Storage, Networking, Operating Systems, and RDBMS Internals, to name a few.
The primary focus of the "Oracle Database Performance Tuning: Pocket Solution Guide For Upgrading Oracle Database 19c" book is performance tuning in the areas of SQL, Init parameters, load testing, AWR analysis, SQL profiles, Optimizer, and Concurrency. And, is a demo of what Viscosity and its top consultants like Gordhamer, featured author, and Viscosity Managing Consultant and contributing author, Ron Mehrer, have lived through and learned while helping Oracle users worldwide.
Gary Gordhamer is an Oracle ACE, awarded multiple times by Oracle, IOUG, and GE for technical expertise, leadership, and project delivery. An active member of the QUEST IOUG Database and Technology Community and a frequent presenter at Oracle OpenWorld and Collaborate.
Ronald Mehrer is a Managing Consultant at Viscosity North America, and a Sr Oracle DBA, with vast experience in Exadata, Oracle Cloud, Integration, Migration, Consolidation, and Architecture.
Viscosity is a recognized niche Oracle and Microsoft consulting firm, a Quest SharePlex Platinum Partner and a system integrator of Quest and Oracle products.
Viscosity was founded by industry and authored experts who are prominent thought leaders with backgrounds in Oracle, Microsoft, and VMWare. Viscosity’s capacities include Oracle database tuning, high availability and scalability solutions, APEX Development, Cloud migrations, and custom application development.
Viscosity’s Oracle Center of Expertise has developed best practices and tight partner relationships to implement world-class solutions. We deliver a set of practical, executable plans for simplifying IT infrastructure, helping reduce operating costs while freeing up resources for new business initiatives.
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New release delivers seven JDK Enhancement Proposals to increase developer productivity, Strengthen the Java language, and enhance the platform's performance, stability, and security
Java 19's key capabilities to be showcased at JavaOne 2022 in Las Vegas on October 17-20
AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Oracle today announced the availability of Java 19, the latest version of the world's number one programming language and development platform. Java 19 (Oracle JDK 19) delivers thousands of performance, stability, and security improvements, including enhancements to the platform that will help developers Strengthen productivity and drive business-wide innovation. Oracle will showcase the latest capabilities in Java 19 at JavaOne 2022, taking place October 17-20 in Las Vegas, and via a keynote broadcast airing on dev.java/ at 9:00 a.m. PT on Tuesday, September 20.
"Our ongoing collaboration with the developer community is the lifeblood of Java. As the steward of Java, Oracle is steadfastly committed to providing developers and enterprises with the latest tools to help them create innovative apps and services," said Georges Saab, senior vice president of development, Java Platform and Chair, OpenJDK Governing Board, Oracle. "The powerful new enhancements in Java 19 are a testament to the monumental work across the global Java community."
The latest Java Development Kit (JDK) provides updates and improvements with seven JDK Enhancement Proposals (JEPs). Most of these updates are to be delivered as follow-up preview features improving on functionality introduced in earlier releases.
JDK 19 delivers language Improvements from OpenJDK project Amber (Record Patterns and Pattern Matching for Switch); library enhancements to interoperate with non-Java Code (Foreign Function and Memory API) and to leverage vector instructions (Vector API) from OpenJDK project Panama; and the first previews for Project Loom (Virtual Threads and Structured Concurrency), which will drastically reduce the effort required to write and maintain high-throughput, concurrent applications in Java.
"Java developers are increasingly seeking tools to help them efficiently build highly functional applications for deployment in the cloud, on-premises, and in hybrid environments," said Arnal Dayaratna, research vice president, software development, IDC. "The enhancements in Java 19 deliver on these requirements and illustrate how the Java ecosystem is well-positioned to meet the current and future needs of developers and enterprises."
Oracle delivers new Java Feature releases every six months via a predictable release schedule. This cadence provides a steady stream of innovations while delivering continuous improvements to the platform's performance, stability, and security, helping increase Java's pervasiveness across organizations and industries of all sizes.
The most significant updates delivered in Java 19 are:
Updates and Improvements to the Language
JEP 405: Record Patterns (Preview): Enables users to nest record patterns and type patterns to create a powerful, declarative, and composable form of data navigation and processing. This extends pattern matching to allow for more sophisticated and composable data queries.
JEP 427: Pattern Matching for Switch (Third Preview): Enables pattern matching for switch expressions and statements by permitting an expression to be tested against a number of patterns. This allows users to express complex data-oriented queries concisely and safely.
JEP 424: Foreign Function and Memory API (Preview): Enables Java programs to more easily interoperate with code and data outside of the Java runtime. By efficiently invoking foreign functions (i.e., code outside the Java Virtual Machine [JVM]), and by safely accessing foreign memory (i.e., memory not managed by the JVM), this API enables Java programs to call native libraries and process native data via a pure Java development model. This results in increased ease-of-use, performance, flexibility, and safety.
JEP 426: Vector API (Fourth Incubator): Enables superior performance compared to equivalent scalar computations by expressing vector computations that reliably compile at runtime to vector instructions on supported CPU architectures.
Project Loom Preview/Incubator Features
JEP 425: Virtual Threads (Preview): Dramatically reduces the effort of writing, maintaining, and observing high-throughput concurrent applications by introducing lightweight virtual threads to the Java Platform. Using virtual threads allows developers to easily troubleshoot, debug, and profile concurrent applications with existing JDK tools and techniques.
JEP 428: Structured Concurrency (Incubator): Streamlines error handling and cancellation, improves reliability, and enhances observability by simplifying multithreaded programming and treating multiple tasks running in different threads as a single unit of work.
Driving Java Innovation in the Cloud
The Java 19 release is the result of extensive collaboration between Oracle engineers and other members of the worldwide Java developer community via the OpenJDK Project and the Java Community Process (JCP). In addition to new enhancements, Java 19 is supported by Java Management Service – an Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) native service – that provides a single pane of glass to help organizations manage Java runtimes and applications on-premises or on any cloud.
Supporting Java Customers
The Oracle Java SE Subscription is a pay-as-you-go offering that provides customers with best-in-class support, entitlement to GraalVM Enterprise, access to the Java Management Service, and the flexibility to upgrade at the pace of their businesses. This helps IT organizations manage complexity, contain costs, and mitigate security risks. In addition, Java SE and GraalVM Enterprise are offered free of charge on OCI, enabling developers to build and deploy applications that run faster, better, and with unbeatable cost-performance on Oracle Cloud.
Underscoring Java's popularity with the global developer community, Oracle is proud to recognize the one millionth completed Java certification. Java certifications help developers stand out as Java experts and raise their profiles with enterprises seeking to attract highly skilled Java professionals.
Oracle offers integrated suites of applications plus secure, autonomous infrastructure in the Oracle Cloud. For more information about Oracle (NYSE: ORCL), please visit us at www.oracle.com.
Oracle, Java, and MySQL are registered trademarks of Oracle Corporation.
View original content to obtain multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/oracle-releases-java-19-301627861.html
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Every week this summer, the Teen Banned Book Club met inside a Kutztown, Pennsylvania, bookstore to highlight the novels that frequently appear on the American Library Association's list of most challenged books.
The club was created last fall by then-eighth grader Joslyn Diffenbaugh after she heard about the increasing efforts in Texas to remove books from public schools.
"The original idea I had was when I first started seeing all the books being banned, especially in states like Texas, where they'd come out with a very, very long list. So I'd start reading the lists of books because I read a lot in my childhood," Diffenbaugh told "CBS Saturday Morning" co-host Michelle Miller.
"So a lot of the books that were being banned popped up on those lists. And, like, reading them, I hadn't seen anything wrong or that would need them to be challenged."
According to PEN America, from July 2021 through March 2022, there were nearly 1,600 actions taken in school districts to ban more than 1,100 titles.
PEN America defines a banned book as a book that was a "previously accessible book but becomes either completely removed from availability to students, or where access to a book is restricted or diminished because of its content."
University of Pennsylvania professor Dan Hopkins, who studies the nationalization of state and local politics, said the banning of books is just the latest instance of national politics coming to a boiling point.
"I think that. you know, a lot of fervor around possibly banning books is just the latest instance of national politics coming home and the deep symbolic divisions in national politics brewing, playing out in our schools and our communities," he said.
As efforts to ban books have risen nationwide, school board meetings have become increasingly contentious.
Tiffany Justice co-founded the group Moms for Liberty over COVID restrictions. The group, championed by conservatives like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, advocates for greater parental rights, accountability and transparency in schools.
Moms for Liberty has swelled to more than 85,000 members with chapters in 42 states. Some chapters have pushed to ban or limit access to books in school libraries. Justice said that parents are the "best and first" teachers for children and their input on the type of content distributed to their children should be valued.
"I mean, there's not two sides to this issue. There are moms who love their kids, who don't want pornography in school, and then there are people who do want pornography in school. I think that the book issue has been used to try to marginalize and vilify parents. And the truth is there is no place for pornography in public schools," Justice told Miller.
She added that the group has never been political and involved with any political parties.
"Our moms are not political. This is something that I think has been assumed and is really wrong. A lot of our moms have never really been involved in the political process at all. Maybe they voted for president but I would say probably around 40% really never voted in school board local elections. It's not something that they really were involved in," she said. "But we woke up."
The Moms for Liberty chapter where Justice is from in Indian River County, Florida, challenged more than 150 books last year. Ultimately five of them were removed from school libraries.
Author Jason Reynolds, the national ambassador for Young People's Literature, has seen several of his own books banned and says the biggest challenge behind book bans involves obscenity.
"The truth of the matter is that most of these books are being couched in, they're being like, seated down and challenged based on obscenity which is an excuse to not have to say it's because there are racial Topics or there are sexual Topics in these books," Reynolds said.
"So what happens is that we produce this work, young people read it, the adults are uncomfortable. And so they assume that their young people are uncomfortable even though young people are living very different lives and have a different access to information that we did not have and have a different language in literacy that we did not have, right, when it comes to all of these conversations," Reynolds added.
Perhaps no author has had their work challenged more than Margaret Atwood, author of "The Handmaid's Tale."
"Everybody deserves the right to say anything they wish, as long as it's true. That's the real question, but part of a democracy is parents having a say," Atwood said. "They can have a say, they don't necessarily have the right to dictate, but to say they can't have a say, that's pretty authoritarian, isn't it?"
Diffenbaugh said at its core is access and all the potential that can be lost with book banning.
"Not every book is for everybody, but every book is for someone," Diffenbaugh said.
A sign is posted in front of Oracle headquarters on December 09, 2021 in Redwood Shores, California.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
The SEC said Oracle violated provisions of the act between 2016 and 2019 when its subsidiaries in India, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates created slush funds used to bribe foreign officials. Oracle's subsidiaries also used the funds to pay foreign officials to attend technology conferences, according to the SEC.
The company did not admit to or deny the SEC's findings, and it will pay more than $23 million to settle the charges.
"The conduct outlined by the SEC is contrary to our core values and clear policies, and if we identify such behavior, we will take appropriate action," said Oracle corporate communications vice president Michael Egbert.
The company also settled charges in 2012 after Oracle India created millions of dollars of side funds, the SEC said.
Charles Cain, the SEC's FCPA unit chief, said in the release that the charges highlight a need for "effective internal accounting controls" at Oracle.
"The creation of off-book slush funds inherently gives rise to the risk those funds will be used improperly, which is exactly what happened here at Oracle's Turkey, UAE, and India subsidiaries," he said.
I am writing this column during Banned Books Week.
I know what you’re thinking, John should have gotten his act together and written his column about Banned Books Week in time for it to run during Banned Books Week, not after Banned Books Week.
But having written about an attempt in Virginia to make two books unavailable to minors under any circumstances in August, and a coordinated campaign against librarians — librarians! — who committed the sin of providing books to young people who wanted them in July, I figured readers had heard enough from me on this front.
It’s not a “boy who cried wolf” situation because the wolves are present and accounted for, but after a while, you start to feel like a nag.
But then two things happened during Banned Books Week that made me realize the alarm needs sounding again.
The first thing was reading about the actions of the Republican Party of Greenville, South Carolina, which wants to ban books on LGBTQ Topics from the children and juvenile sections of county libraries.
Pretty standard stuff as far as that goes, but they’ve taken the extra step of checking out all of the books they object to, including titles like “Pride Puppy!” and “Daddy and Dada,” and secreting them in the basement of the organization’s headquarters.
They plan to keep checking out the books indefinitely to keep them out of the children’s sections at the county libraries.
The second thing that happened was the release of a PEN America report, “Banned in the USA: The Growing Movement to Censor Books in Schools,” which documents exactly what the title indicates, an explosion in attempts to ban books in school, with 2,532 instances of individual books being banned from July of 2021 to June of 2022.
These bans overwhelmingly target books with characters and content relating to marginalized communities: 41% had LGBTQ+ themes, 40% had protagonists or other prominent characters of color, and 21% dealt with themes of race and racism.
These are not just challenges or disputes over books, but actual bans, which PEN defines as, “any action taken against a book based on its content and as a result of parent or community challenges, administrative decisions, or in response to direct or threatened action by lawmakers or other governmental officials, that leads to a previously accessible book being either completely removed from availability to students, or where access to a book is restricted or diminished.”
The Greenville County Republicans have unilaterally banned access to certain books without engaging in any democratic deliberation or due process. This may be small stuff, compared with the “educational gag orders” that have come into existence in several states, including Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, which has teachers fearing for their jobs if they even mention having a same-sex spouse.
But all of these actions are of a piece, where one group is attempting to dictate their personal preferences on the public. In many of these cases, it is a minority attempting to silence the wishes of the majority, but even if that’s not the case, there’s a little something called the First Amendment that still protects the rights of those minorities from the tyranny of the majority.
There is some good news. In that Virginia case I wrote about previously, a judge all but laughed the petitioners trying to ban access to two books on obscenity grounds out of court, ruling the law itself was unconstitutional.
I would love to write about other things, but as long as these attempts at book banning keep happening, what else is more important?
John Warner is the author of “Why They Can’t Write: Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and Other Necessities.”
Book recommendations from the Biblioracle
John Warner tells you what to read based on the last five books you’ve read
1. “The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain” by Mark Twain
2. “The Manticore” by Robertson Davies
3. “World of Wonders” by Robertson Davies
4. “Henry and Clara” by Thomas Mallon
5. “The Prophets” by Robert Jones Jr.
— Ned P., Chicago
We recently learned of the passing of Hilary Mantel, a wonderful writer of historical fiction who certainly had more books in front of her. For Ned, I’m recommending Mantel’s “Wolf Hall,” and if that captures him, he can move on to the rest of her trilogy on King Henry VIII’s court.
1. “The Guncle” by Steven Rowley
2. “Book Lovers” by Emily Henry
3. “Things We Never Got Over” by Lucy Score
4. “This Time Tomorrow” by Emma Straub
5. “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple
— Molly P., Los Angeles
Molly wants strong, page-turning entertainment, but hopefully doesn’t mind a little satirical bite because I’m leaning into “Very Nice” by Marcy Dermansky, which feels like a good fit if my analysis is accurate.
1. “Mercury Pictures Presents” by Anthony Marra
2. “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel
3. “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey
4. “Catch-22″ by Joseph Heller
5. “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” by Tom Robbins
— Gale P., Chicago
In this case, I have some extra intelligence from Gale that the last three books are rereads, which tells me that Gale enjoys some off-kilter storytelling. This brings to mind A.M. Homes, who happens to have a new novel that crackles with wit while still bringing a healthy dose of pathos. The book is “The Unfolding.”
Get a reading from the Biblioracle
Send a list of the last five books you’ve read and your hometown to email@example.com.