It is banned book week once more, a week to celebrate literacy and reading.
I haven’t been keeping track of banned book weeks for the past couple of years and this year I decided to take a look.
This year’s top ten list of banned books from the ALA include:
George by Alex Gino Reasons: Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community”
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds Reasons: Banned and challenged because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now”
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct by the author
Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin Reasons: Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas Reasons: Challenged for profanity, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message
The list has changed a lot since the last time I looked at it, and I don’t remember when that was. A few years back anyway.
I have heard of only four books: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Of Mice and Men by John Steinback, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.
I have read only two: Of Mice and Men by John Steinback and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Of Mice and Men was required reading in school and I remember nothing of it.
It seems George has been on the list for the past few years and I hadn’t even heard of it.
All American Boys has “too much of a sensitive matter right now” as a reason to ban it and I really don’t know what that means. I wonder if that means there will come a time when it is not banned because the matter is no longer sensitive.
Death scenes should be meaningful, yes? I think so. If not meaningful, they should at least be memorable. They stick with you. Maybe you return to it, over and over again in some fashion.
These are some of the most memorable death scenes I recall.
Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web. I read this book over and over again in childhood. The death of Charlotte – the first time I heard it, it was very shocking. Less shocking, obviously, the second and third and fourth time I reread it. But I think her death is one of the reasons why I reread this book so often.
Sergeant Bothari from the Miles Vorkosigan books. He was both a rapist, and if I remember the books right, a victim of rape. He was a torturer and also mentally disabled. He also protected Miles throughout his childhood. Yet I feel his death was just. Perhaps his life is a tragedy, always heading that since birth.
Henry from The Time Traveler’s Wife. I had a lot of problems with this book, but for some reason Henry’s death sticks out in my mind. Henry loses his feet and then is shot to death while time traveling by his wife’s brother. His death seems more memorable to me then the whole book. Which is a bit odd, I suppose.
Rue from the Hunger Games. Really, there were a lot of deaths in this series, but who can forget this scene? And how important it was to the rest of the series?
Dorothea from Black Jewels. Anne Bishop does revenge really, really well. Dorothea is enemy number one in this series and her death was perfect.
So . . . books. Libraries are closed, bookstores are closed. But! Books can still be ordered online and downloaded from your favorite platform. Ebooks from libraries are a thing.
Including the Internet Archive. It seems the Internet Archive has more recent books. I have known of the Internet Archive existence for quite some time, but I thought it had only old books, books that are so old they are in the public domain.
I had the impression – somehow! – that the National Archive held only old books. I supposed that is because I have only ever gone looking for old books on it. Alice in Wonderland, The adventures of Tom Sawyer, a book on the birds of India someone wrote when they traveled to India during the British Raj, old dusty books like that.
I wasn’t even aware they had any other kind of books even available. I suppose I wasn’t paying attention, but I am shocked. Shocked they had recent books available at all, let alone that they decided to make some kind of national emergency library.
I’ve been reading The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. It’s a long book, almost a thousand pages, and a bit slow at times.
It has many things I like – dragons, magic, myth, great characters. It has what feels like centuries of history.
But the thing that stands out in my mind right now is that this world remembers a past pandemic. In one city, outsiders or those harboring them can be killed or imprisoned. Because maybe they carry the disease.
Even privateers were not willing to land there; they rowed their charges only close enough that they could wade in, because of the risk of getting the disease.
There is a lot to focus on because there is a lot going on in this story. But the thing that has caught my attention is this ancient pandemic. In the story so far, it feels like it was over a long time ago. I could be wrong, but I am still pretty early in the story.
It is just – centuries later, people still react to some people as though are carrying the disease. It must have been quite terrible while it was happening.
It makes me wonder how this current coronavirus will affect the future. It is quite terrible now and things only promise to get worse in the coming weeks.
Well, we have to survive it first, and I am sure this country will survive it. How much damage will be sustained – that is the question. The very question. A lot of damage – economic, health – and I wish I knew how it would change the world.
It is a bit anxiety-inducing, to not know really how much damage the novel coronavirus will leave behind.
I was rereading the Raksura book two days ago: The Cloud Roads.
It is even more amazing then I remembered.
I missed things the first time I read it and didn’t remember other things. But it held up very well to a rereading, especially after such a long time.
The things I loved the first time – the world-building, the characters, the description, the action – were just as amazing as the first time. Really.
This time I lingered over a quiet scene when it was the two of them, Moon and his queen. Moon has just killed a Fell and learned something that hit him very hard. More, his queen overhead and he really didn’t want her to. Their interaction afterward really is quite touching.
I think I didn’t spend so much time on it before, because I was entranced by the world.
I still am. But I read this first book a long time, and that leaves space to focus on other aspects of the story. And there is plenty to focus on. It is a lot more then the world building – and the world-building is amazing.
Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read • Open to a random page • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.
Merchant ships from all over the world passed through one of the Aligoes’ two major channels. Although the channels provided the fastest means of travel, they were unfortunately subject to an odd natural phenomenon known as “tides,” because the magic of the Breath ebbed and flowed much like tides in an inland ocean. During ebb tide, the magic decreased to the point where a ship could be in danger of sinking. During high tide, the magic increased, touching off wizard storms that – ironically – could also sink a ship.
–Spymaster: Book One of the Dragon Corsairs by Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes