Cover Graphics and How They Grew: Banned Books Week

by Brenda Clough

E-books need a graphic.  So do blog posts.  Cast your eye up and down this very blog.  Aren’t the posts with a picture more attractive?  A good one can suck you right in.  Censorship in children's reading

Mostly the authors of each post finds an appropriate graphic.  For gang efforts, somebody volunteers.  When it was time to celebrate (? Does one celebrate it?) Banned Books Week, I stepped up to the plate.

The idea for this is a natural — a controversial book in police tape.  It turns out however that execution is the devil.  Did you know that it is illegal for a civilian person to buy yellow plastic ‘police line’ tape?However, I didn’t need a whole roll of the stuff, only a couple yards.  I resorted to my local Freecycle group, posting a WANTED listing.  A local resident undertook to quietly gift me with a couple yards of tape.  We met up at a Starbucks in a shopping center — I had the sense that (a) he didn’t want to tell me his home address, and (b) he wanted to eyeball me to see if I looked like Osama bin Laden.  The greater Washington DC area is stiff with people whose job it is to think this way, so I knew how to handle it.  I told him — an older man, still in suspiciously excellent physical shape but in a tee shirt, so he was not carrying —  all about BVC and the blog series, so that it was clear that we were not planning something nefarious, and everyone was happy.

Onwards, to select the book!  It is sadly not at all difficult to find a book that has been banned or burned by somebody or other, and I own them all.  I selected the first Harry Potter because it is easily recognizable.  Also I had a hardback copy — a larger book would show up better swaddled in tape.

My favorite outdoor venue for photos is my front yard, which is aggressively gardened and full of rocks, steps, or walls to use as backdrop.  In the photo, the ends of the yellow tape are secured out of sight with duct tape.  At the last minute Panther the cat decided to participate.  Since it is a truth universally acknowledged that cats are an asset to any website or blog, I let her stay.
My newest novel Speak to Our Desires is out exclusively from Book View Press.

I also have stories in Book View Cafe’s two steampunk anthologies, The Shadow Conspiracy and The Shadow Conspiracy II, as well as in BVC’s many other anthologies.

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About Brenda Clough

Brenda W. Clough spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. Her first fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown, was published by DAW in 1984. She has also written The Dragon of Mishbil (1985), The Realm Beneath (1986), and The Name of the Sun (1988). Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer (1992), is set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Her novel How Like a God, available from BVC, was published by Tor Books in 1997, and a sequel, Doors of Death and Life, was published in May 2000. Her latest novels from Book View Cafe include Revise the World (2009) and Speak to Our Desires. Her novel A Most Dangerous Woman is being serialized by Serial Box. Her novel The River Twice is newly available from BVC.

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