Books about the good and / or evil nature of humans

In these days, with reports of atrocities from far and wide, it can be easy to think that the world is a bad place, that mankind is evil and that all hope is gone – but is it really so? In our display cabinets, we currently have an exhibition on the theme Humans – good or evil?.

A central book of the exhibition is The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Pilip Zimbardo. The book is divided into two parts and the first part is about Zimbardos study of the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or prison guard, often called the Stanford prison experiment. The second part of the book deals with the events that took place inside the Abu Ghraib-prison in 2004. Zimbardo writes that it doesn’t take much for a person to perform evil acts, but he also states that it takes as little for a person to be good or heroic. In this 23 minutes long presentation on TED.com you can listen to Zimbardon when he speaks on the subject.

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The exhibition contains books about human origins and development, good and evil. In addition, we have picked up several novels on the theme. You are free borrow the books in the glass cases, or look up one of our many e-books on these subjects. Here are some examples of e-books:

The question whether humanity is good or evil might not have an answer, maybe because the question is a bit black and white. But reading various theories and books that deal with these issues is one way to deal with the thoughts we get when the news about atrocities in the world never seems to end.

Text: Katharina Nordling

Books that could have been banned

This week is Banned Book Week in the United States. It’s a week when libraries celebrate all humans right to read any book they want. The US has a system where the user of any library can challenge a book’s existence in the library. The person who challenged the book will then need to deliver argument as to why the book should be banned. The vast majority of challenges of books is made by worried parents who want to ban offensive or objectionable books that they think their kids should be protected from. Sometimes the challenges are more organised and come from a group in society who has decided to try and get a specific book banned from the library. The library in question most often answers the challenge using their purchasing policy as the main argument.

When a challenge is made, its reporter to the American Library Association (ALA), who every year compiles a list of the most challenged books during the past year. A summary of the challenges made between 2000 and 2009 shows that the most common reason to challenge a book was that it was perceived as “sexually explicit”, closely followed by the reason “offensive language”.

Some of the books that’s been challenged the last years, and that are available at our library are (click the title for information if the book is available or not):

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
the-hunger-gamesIn the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games.

Some reasons for the challenges made were anti-family, violence and offensive language.

The curious incident of the dog in the nighttime av Mark Haddon
the-curious-incident-of-dog-in-the-night-timeA murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger’s, a form of autism. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour’s dog murdered he sets out on a terrifying journey which will turn his whole world upside down.

Some reasons for the challenges made were offensive language and religious viewpoint.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
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Afghanistan, 1975: Twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to win the local kite-fighting tournament and his loyal friend Hassan promises to help him. But neither of the boys can foresee what will happen to Hassan that afternoon, an event that is to shatter their lives. After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realises that one day he must return to Afghanistan under Taliban rule to find the one thing that his new world cannot grant him: redemption.

Some reasons for the challenges made were offensive language, violence and homosexuality.

Brave new world by Aldous Huxley
brave-new-worldFar in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free.

Some reasons for the challenges made were offensive language, sexually explicit and racism.

 

None of these books has been banned at the libraries in the US, mostly due to the libraries hard work to fight for every persons right a read what ever they want, a right that is included in The first amendment.

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There is no similar system in Sweden, to challenge books that you as a user of the library feel is inappropriate. But that doesn’t mean that different books suitability is discussed from time to time. For example was there a lively discussion about whether the book Tintin in the Congo should be allowed in some libraries a couple of years ago.

Text: Katharina Nordling

Experience Shakespeare! 2016 is the year of William Shakespeare

William-S-He is one of the greatest playwrighters in the world literature, he has been honored and read for centuries, William Shakespeare is a name known by all. This year it is 400 years since his day of death, he died the 23:rd of April 1616.

In connection with the jubilee year book companies publish his work anew and publish modern versions of his texts. His philosophic way to write about human life still speaks to us, even though he wrote in 15-16th century. This year his plays are played at theatres and scenes all around in Sweden and in the world. In our nearby surroundings you can see Romeo & Juliet på Vårdhemmet Verona at Borås Stadsteater, Hamlet, Macbeth and Romeo & Julia at Göteborgsoperan, Trettondagsafton at Folkets hus in Gothenburg. Or take the chance and go to Stockholm and see Macbeth at Maximteatern.

3-shakespeare-022For the moment there is an exhibition taking place in the Library about Shakespeare. At display in the entrance you find several of his plays, sonnets and biographies of his life and work. Welcome to the Library to read the classics and discover new plays. You find his books in both Swedish and English.

 

 

 

 

Text: Kajsa Magnusson
Picture: Of Shakespeare, Colourbox
Of books, Kajsa Magnusson

No Limit Street Art at the Library

Today is the first day of No Limit Street Art Borås here in Borås. This is a street art festival which invides artists from all over the world to create a large outdoor exhibit – right in the middle of the city. Several of the artists invited paint so-called murals, where the entire wall of a house becomes the artist’s canvas. One of the walls included in this year‘s edition of No Limit is one of the Library walls. The artist who is working on this wall is the Chinese artist DALeast. He is currently in the final stages of completing his work: A flying eagle.
daleast_eaglepicho&avoIf you stand on the 4th floor in the library and look out through one of the large glass walls, you can also see the top of the Pichi&Avo’s painting on one of the walls in Simonsland.

And around the city other artists are working to complete their work. Some of the artists  invited David Zinn, Dulk, Logan Hicks and Joe Iurato. A full list of the artists and a map of the year as well as last year’s paintings are available on the No Limit Street Art Boras website.

For those who wish to learn more about street art, there are some books on the subject  here at the library, mostly e-books, but also some printed books. And if you are intrerested what’s written about graffiti and street art in the scientific journals, there’s quite many articles on this subject availible if you search in Summon.
Text & picture: Katharina Nordling

Easter Crime

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Påskekrim (Easter Crime) is a Norwegian tradition from the 1920s which today basically means that the publishing of crime novels in Norway occurs at the same time as Easter and can promote the reading of some easy- reading crime fiction during the holiday. In Sweden it is nowadays also a relatively well-known concept but is not linked to the book industry in the same way as in Norway. Instead, we have a tradition to publish new crime novels before the summer holidays.So the common connection is to take time to read when you have time off from work. So why not take the opportunity to read a crime novel during the Easter holiday!

The Library have put together a little exhibition with crime fiction on the entrance floor. All the books are for loan and you find more at the 4th floor at shelves Hc/Hce and novels in english at shelf He.

Text: Lena Holmberg
Picture: Karin Ekström

 

Hawking: The Theory of Everything

1990023_origIt was not long ago we wrote a film related post in this blog, and now it’s time for another film about a prominent scientist. This time it’s the famous theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking, who’s also from Britain. The film in question is called The Theory of Everything and is about Hawking’s love of life, physics, and his wife Jane.

As a 21-year-old graduate student Hawking were informed that he had ALS, a nerve disorder that causes the nerve cells that control the body’s muscles to gradually atrophy. The disease often shortens the life significantly, and half of those affected die within 3 years, and another 25 percent die within five years after the first symptoms. Stephen Hawking has now lived for over 50 years after he received his first symptoms.

In theoretical cosmology and quantum mechanics Hawking has made significant achievements. He has among other things (along with three other scientists) developed a mathematical proof that all black holes can be fully described by the three characteristics mass, angular momentum, and electric charge. In addition he, on his own, presented a hypothesis that black holes can actually emit radiation, known as Hawking radiation.

Hawking has also written some bestselling popular science books in the field of physics, some of these are available to borrow from us at the library. If you’d rather read scientific articles written by Hawking, you can find several pieces in the journals we subscribe to.

hawking_booksText: Katharina Nordling

Photo: Stephen Hawkings web page.

The film about Alan Turing – Codebreaker

ThisAlan_Turing_photo Friday, a film about a well-known scientist is premiered at Swedish cinemas. It’s the film The Imitation Game  with Alan Turing as main character. Turing was an English mathematician and logician who during World War II led the efforts to decihper the Germans code for secret messages. This was done using an electromechanical machine that Turing construated.

Alan Turing was born in 1912 and died in 1954 (from cyanide poisoning), during his time in life Turing achieved a lot, among other things he is known as one of the founding fathers to modern computer science. Turing is also known for the Turing test, a test used to evaluate artificial intelligence (AI).

If you want to read more about Alan Turing, or read some of the articles written by him, check out the sources below, all of them are available through the library. Search for the title you’re intreseted in using Summon and you will find the book or article.

Articles written by Alan Turing:
– Turing, A.M. & Bayley D. (2012). Report on Speech Secrecy System DELILAH, a Technical Description Compiled by A. M. Turing and Lieutenant D. Bayley REME, 1945–1946. Cryptoligica, 36, ss 295-340.

– Turing, A.M. (2003). Alan M. Turing’s critique of running short cribs on the U.S. Navy Bombe. Cryptologica, 27, ss. 44-49.

Books written about Alan Turing:

Essential Turing: Classic Writings on Minds and Computers av Jack B. Copeland, published 2004 (e-book).

Alan Turing av Jim Eldridge, published 2013 (Printed book).

Alan Turing av Sara Turing, published 2012 (e-book).

Alan Turing and his Contemporaries: Building the World’s First Computers av Simon Lavington, Chris Burton och Martin Campbell-Kelly, published 2012 (e-book).

Alan Turing: The Enigma av Andrew Hodges, published 2012 (e-book).

turingbockerText: Katharina Nordling