Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book Burning and Book Beaching

There are few things in life to which I am willing to attach the phrase, “It will change your life!” Hence the reason that I will never make a living selling cars. Or shoes. Or face cream. But ... I cannot say the same about books. They are life-changing.

A book can change the course of the future. A book can cause a society to see things differently, get riled up, burn things. For example, here is a small list of books that have been banned by certain societies:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll was banned in China for the portrayal of animals acting as humans, Animal Farm by George Orwell was banned for political reasons.

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner was banned in Kentucky for language and for being anti-Christian.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger was banned in the US and Australia.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck was banned in many parts of the US, especially California, because it made the residents of the region look bad.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov was banned for obscenity in France, the UK, Argentina, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler was banned because of anti-Nazi laws and for being extremist.

Because books are so wonderful, important, and controversial, I feel 100% great telling everyone about the Sylvia Beach Hotel. I had the immense pleasure of staying there with my sister a few weekends ago, and it was perfect.

Located on a lovely ridge overlooking Nye Beach, Oregon, the Sylvia Beach Hotel is made for people who want to relax on a soft couch on Friday night, drinking mulled wine in lovely silence with a favorite book. There are no TVs or radios or phones or internet access. Instead, there is an enormous library/lounge filled with blankets and pillows and couches and journals for guests to write in. Each room is decorated in honor of a famous author: Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, J.R.R. Tolkien, Dr. Seuss, and many more.

My sister and I stayed in the Oscar Wilde room. Black and white photos of the author lined the walls, there was a tiny Victorian writing desk in the corner, and the wallpaper was hideously ugly - on purpose. When we checked in, the lady at the front desk told us the wallpaper was a replica of what Oscar Wilde had in his own bedroom. On his deathbed, he is reported to have said, “Either the wallpaper goes, or I do.”

So, if you are looking for an excuse to runaway to the Oregon Coast for no other reason than to curl up with a favorite tome in the good company of other quietly anti-social bookworms, look no further. The Sylvia Beach Hotel is the perfect place to do so. It just might change your life.

Jessica Porter, publicity intern

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree with you more about the Sylvia Beach Hotel. It has to be one of my favorite places. I stayed in the F. Scott Fitzgerald room. It was filled with his books, some empty gin bottles just to make it really authentic and 20's furniture. It was wonderful. Their reading room was perfect, full of overstuffed reading chairs. Thanks for mentioning it. I run a small garden shop at Lakewold Gardens in Washington State and I'm constantly recommending Sylvia Beach Hotel to my book-nut customers.
    Vickie H.