Some of the thoughts he shared from that session:
- The work of intellectual freedom is mostly done by teachers and librarians and very little with authors.
- When he wrote Looking for Alaska, he actually thought that critics were going to tear it apart for having too much of a naive Christian message. Which is why he was shocked when people tried to ban it from schools, in particular because of one awkward sex scene that he wrote to juxtapose the contrast of empty physical encounters vs. emotional intimacy.
- Public schools shouldn’t exist for parents or even students. It’s for the benefit of the social order and a more educated work force (in response to the teachers who offered another reading option when they assigned LFA)
- When books are challenged, the easy thing for teachers and school boards to do is to just choose another book that won't cause uproar, but that is allowing ignorance to win. Teachers, librarians, and administrators need to keep fighting for intellectual freedom (which he recognizes is easier said than done).
Oh! And if you didn't already watch it, you can see me in the audience of his intellectual freedom session in one of his recent Vlogbrothers videos. I'm the one in the second row in the red sweater around the 0:11 mark.
Anyway, a little while after his session, John did a book signing at the Penguin booth and I got both of my books of his that I own signed (Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns), BUT they were also giving away chapter samplers of The Fault in Our Stars which he also signed one of those for me.
I have read the chapter sampler and I can't even begin to describe how amazing this book is going to be. In the first two chapters, you immediately laugh, cry, and fall in love with the main character, Hazel. She is battling terminal thyroid cancer, which metastasized into her lungs, when she meets Augustus Waters at a cancer support group. What you expect to be a sad, downer of a narrative, has already managed to be hilarious and irreverent (as well as sad and tragic) in two short chapters. I already know this is going to be one of those books that makes me cry so hard I give myself a headache. I already managed to shed tears of sadness and laugh out loud in a mere two chapters.
With that, I bet you probably want to win my one and only signed copy of the chapter sampler of The Fault in Our Stars, right?
Just do the Rafflecopter thing and you are entered to win.