reading

Banned Books Week 2015: September 27-October 3

Banned Books Week starts today and ends on Saturday.

Every year, people attempt to ban books from the shelves of libraries or schools, to keep other people from enjoying material they feel is bad in someway.

The website of the American Library Association lists some of these books. The top ten books challenged this past year are:

  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying”
  2. Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi                                                                   Reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically, racially, and socially offensive,” “graphic depictions”
  3. And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell         Reasons: Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda”
  4. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison                                                              Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “contains controversial issues”
  5. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris                                                          Reasons: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. Additional reasons: “alleges it child pornography”
  6. Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples                                                        Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  7. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini                                                              Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky                                                                                                                   Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation”
  9. A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard                                                                                        Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group
  10. Drama, by Raina Telgemeier                                                                                   Reasons: sexually explicit

 

I have only read Persepolis before, and only the first part at that. I suppose it was only a matter of time before this book showed up on the top ten banned list. I don’t recall gambling. Some of the language is strong, but not gratuitously so. But the political viewpoint – well. Politics is all over Persepolis. You take it out, there is nothing left. So, yeah. The politics cannot help but make it controversial and I suppose that means someone will try to ban it.

As far as I know, Persepolis is new to the top ten banned books list. Also: It’s Perfectly Normal, Saga, A Stolen Life and Drama are new to the list as well. Basically, half the list. Some of them probably appeared on the list, but not in the top ten.

Also, is Saga a YA book? It’s a comic, yeah, but I don’t know if that automatically makes it YA.

I haven’t read any of the others. I usually pick a banned book to read this week, but life snuck on me and I haven’t picked one yet.

There are lists of banned books: by decade and GoodReads and classics. I am sure there are other lists that I haven’t found!

 

General · reading

Banned Books Week 2014

Banned books week starts September 21−27, 2014, about a month from now.

I’ll read something from the top ten list of last year’s challenged books to celebrate. I should something about the sorts of books that are getting people all riled up anyway.

The list, from the American Library Association:

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
  2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group 
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
    Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
    Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

Before now, I’d heard of only seven of these books: Captain Underpants, The Bluest Eye, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Fifty Shades of Grey, The Hunger Games, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Bone. Looking for Alaska, too, if only because it also appeared on last year’s list.

The only one I’ve read is The Hunger Games, but I’m not really sure how anyone could challenge it over Religious Viewpoints. It has hardly any religious viewpoints.  I almost get how people can challenge it over Unsuited to Age Group – it is very violent. If the movie had been nearly as violent, it would not have gotten the PG13 rating. But I think teenagers can handle it. Older teenagers especially. Younger kids? Maybe not. Or maybe they could. Probably depends on the child.

Books In the Top Ten Challenged List of Both 2013 and 2012: Captain Underpants, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Fifty Shades of Grey, Looking for Alaska.

Fifty Shades of Grey was challenged for new reasons this past year: nudity, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group. If nudity was a reason to challenge a book, you could challenge the whole romance genre. Most of urban fantasy, too. And a good chunk of science fiction/fantasy as well.

As for unsuited to age group – really? Really? The book is meant for adults. How can anything be unsuited to age group for adults? I don’t get it. It’s baffling.

I am going to read one of these books to celebrate. I don’t know which one yet. Maybe Fifty Shades of Grey, if only to discover how anyone could think adults are not old enough to read it.

Who else is reading a challenged book? Tell me!

reading · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: To Kill A Mockingbird

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• 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!

I am reading To Kill A Mockingbird for the very first time in honor of Banned Book Week. My teaser:

I was bored, so I began a letter to Dill. Miss Caroline caught me writing and told me to tell my father to stop teaching me. “Besides,” she said. “We don’t write in the first grade, we print. You won’t learn to write until you’re in the third grade.”

– To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Book Review · General · reading · science fiction

Book Review: 1984


From Bookreads:
Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, Orwell’s narrative is timelier than ever. 1984 presents a startling and haunting vision of the world, so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.:

I read 1984 for Banned Book Week. It is a pretty horrifying dystopia.

1984 is so well detailed, it’s easy to believe in. But at the same time, it’s hard to believe anyone swallows the Party’s lies. In fact, the love interest doesn’t believe half of what the Party says. But she doesn’t care, either, and that is very hard for me to credit.

The main character, Winston Smith, works as a clerk in the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth. His job is to revise historical documents to reflect the current Party line.  If (when?) newspapers go completely digital, this would be scarier, because someone could come along behind you and change an article. You would never know.  The idea is pretty damn scary.

Julia, the love interest, is a practical and live-in-now sort of young woman. The Party approves of sex only for reproductive purposes, but she indulges in it for pleasure. She’s better at getting around the Party than Winston, but that’s because she grew up with its restrictions.

The world is shown through Julia and Winston’s love affair. The constant threat, the constant surveillance and the necessary secrecy of their trysts.  The TVs have microphones; if they had personal computers, it would be monitored, too.  Even the décor is bugged.

The characters are who they are. You could call them cardboard characters. Their whole purpose is to show the horror of their world. If the characters were more real, better rounded, I think 1984 would be a lot scarier. Maybe scary enough to tip the book into horror.
The last line stands out in my mind:

He loved Big Brother.

After being caught and tortured, after knowing the Party is lying to him, he learns to love Big Brother. But that’s the point of torture and re-education: to love Big Brother. I think that’s Stockholm syndrome at its finest. 😉

Winston gets out, but he only goes to work a couple of days a week. He drinks morning, noon and night. He’ll probably drink himself to death.

General · reading · science fiction · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: 1984

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* 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!

Reading this for Banned Book Week!

My Teasers: 

He had given a quick glance up and down the street and then had slipping inside and bought the book for two dollars fifty. At the time he was not conscious of wanting it for any particular purpose. He had carried it guiltily home in his brief case. Even with nothing written in it, it was a compromising possession.

– 1984 by George Orwell

Interesting Links
Book Review — 1984 by George Orwell (caffeinesymposium)

George Orwell’s manuscript for 1984 (thefictiondesk)

reading

Banned Book Week

Banned Books Week starts today and goes on until October 1, 2011.

I decided I should honor it by reading one. There are probably some in my TBR list anyway and I won’t have to break my rule of no more books until the TBR list is in single digits.

I started by looking up lists of banned books and discovered the American Library Association (ALA) has some excellent lists. They keep track of this stuff.

For 2010 the top banned/challenged books are:

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
    Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
  3. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, and sexually explicit
  4. Crank, by Ellen Hopkins
    Reasons: drugs, offensive language, and sexually explicit
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
  6. Lush, by Natasha Friend
    Reasons: drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: sexism, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  8. Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich
    Reasons: drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, and religious viewpoint
  9. Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie
    Reasons:  homosexuality and sexually explicit
  10. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer
    Reasons: religious viewpoint and violence

I’ve not read Revolutionary Voices or And Tango Makes Three, but they were banned/challenged because of homosexuality. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. I mean, there was a recent furor over agents rejecting books because of gay characters. In this day and age, when people are still trying ban/challenge books because of  homosexuality, it’s a pretty sad state of affairs.

I’ve only read three of these books: Brave New World, The Hunger Games and Twilight.

I can kind of understand of Brave New World and The Hunger Games. I don’t agree with it, but I can kind of understand it. A little. Brave New World’s use of science is pretty scary, not that it’s cited as a reason, but I imagine that’s why someone would ban/challenge it. The Hunger Games are pretty violent, but it fits the book and I am not sure I agree it’s “unsuited to age group”.

But Twilight? Seriously? What’s there to object to in Twilight? I don’t like Twilight, mind, but what about the religious viewpoint and violence? It’s not even that violent. And the religious viewpoint thing is pretty out there. I don’t get it. I really don’t get it. Maybe someone can explain it to me?

Also, for this past decade, from 2000-2009, the top banned/challenged book is the Harry Potter series. I look at that and laugh. It makes less sense than objecting to Twilight (which at least has vampires. Even if they are sparkly.) Harry Potter has the classic fantasy quest thing going on, some of the best world building around, great characters. How can anyone object to it?

Also, I still haven’t decided on a banned book to read, but 1984 appears on the ALA’s list of banned and challenged classics. Should be good.