Ban the book

CoverThe online magazine Salon has celebrated Banned Books Week by musing about books that should be banned, but not from the shelves and not for the usual reasons.

Books make this list not because they are morally reprehensible but because people are made to read them at school and university and they can put a reader off an author for life.

1984, Lord of the flies and Animal farm are mentioned by Salon, all books I read and liked at school (well maybe appreciated is a better word than liked with regard to 1984). But Cranford in the third form saw me estranged from Mrs Gaskell for years until Judi Dench in the  television series brought us back together. All that wasted time when I could have been wallowing in the work of a consummate prose stylist.

What books at the wrong time, in the wrong place and with the wrong teacher put you off?

Captain Haddock’s Chateau

book coverIn France’s Loire Valley, an enterprising stately home owner has cashed in on the fact of their chateau being used as the model for Moulinsart, the chateau of Captain Haddock. (In English it is called Marlinspike Hall)

Chateau de Cheverny has many attractions – the chateau, the beautiful park , a medieval church of great beauty and the rather savage soupe des chiens – daily feeding of a pack of hounds. Added to this is a small Tintin museum full of lots of interactive fun for the kids.

According to Wikipedia “Marlinspike Hall first appears in The Secret of the Unicorn as the home of the story’s villains, the Bird Brothers. At the end of Red Rackham’s Treasure, the manor (found to have been built by an illustrious ancestor of Haddock’s) is purchased by Professor Calculus on behalf of the Captain; the fabled treasure itself is found hidden in the manor’s old chapel, in the cellars. In the following years, Marlinspike provides a home base for Tintin and Haddock in between their various adventures. In The Castafiore Emerald, virtually all of the action takes place in the hall, its grounds, or the surrounding countryside.”

We don’t have the “soupe des chiens” but we are celebrating Tintin and Belgian culture at our libraries all through October.