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Sunday Update: Banned Book Week

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Wow, I haven't done a Sunday update since... January? Huh. Well, my excuse is that I could never think of anything worthwhile to talk about. But today I do!!

I'm pretty sure banned books is something that gets most readers feathers a-ruffled, so I'm not going to talk about my feelings towards book banning too much because it's all pretty standard fare: Parents, I know you're just looking out for the well-being of your child/ren, but control what YOUR child reads, not every child in your district/state/whatever. It's their right, y'know?

Also, as a fun tidbit, go here and read some of the more funny/ridiculous book bannings that have happened in the last century of so.

SO, what I also wanted to accomplish with this post is talk about some of my favorite banned books. Back in about 2006 or so, when I was 16, I stumbled across the ALA's 100 Most Challenged and/or Banned Books and I couldn't believe some of the titles that were on there. Harry Potter!?! Judy Blume titles!?! What was this madness!? There were many titles on there that were books I absolutely loved, so I set out to read as many books from the list as possible. I've only read about 1/4 of the books on the list since (I get sidetracked easily), but the ones I did set out to read are some of my favorite books of all time.

(Note: I'm not going to restrict my list to books JUST on the ALA 100 list, but any book that's been challenged and/or banned ever)

The Giver by Lois Lowry
When I first saw this book I was a little put off by the cover, what with the old man and stuff on it. But I picked it up because of the List, and boy was I NOT sorry. I know most schools give this book as assigned reading and thus a lot of people I know hate this book, but I had never read it before then AND I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!! Even the super ambiguous ending.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I first heard about this book even before I found the List. I had this boyfriend who lived in Buffalo, which to me was fairly foreign (I live in Canada in Northern Ontario) and two of said boyfriend's friends-who-are-girls (who I was secretly jealous of and admired and thus tried to emulate a lot of what they did -- I know, pathetic, but I was 16 and stupid) had read and LOVED this book to pieces. SO, when I went to Buffalo one summer for a visit, one of the two girls lent me her copy of the book and I read it in one day while Shawn was at work and FELL IN LOVE. I then learned afterwards that it had been challenged and banned in many places. Boo-urns.

His Dark Materials (series) by Philip Pullman
I actually read these in grade 11 because I had heard of the movie. I forgot that they were on the List. This is definitely one of my all-time favorite series, and I understand that religion is a touchy subject, but c'moonnnn.

Harry Potter (series) by J. K. Rowling
I don't even have words for this. NOT MY BELOVED HARRY POTTER! I had liked reading before HP, but these made me truly LOVE reading. I also literally grew up with them, and grew up with Harry (I was always around the same age as Harry in the books when they were originally released) so these books hold a very dear place in my heart, like they do for many readers.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I was one of those weird kids that actually liked a lot of the assigned reading we got in high school. We had to read To Kill a Mockingbird for my 11th grade english class and all I can remember is everyone complaining about how boring it was and me being utterly confused as to how everyone could feel that way. I still remember the one time in class where we were told to read silently for the duration of the class and I was at the court scene; when I got to Atticus's speech at the end of the trial I was crying and trying so hard to make sure no one noticed. Atticus is easily one of my favorite male literary characters of all time. I'm still confused as to why this book is challenged/banned constantly.

Bridge to Terabithia by Kathering Paterson
My teacher read this to my class out loud when I was in grade six. I loved absolutely every minute of it, even the very bitter ending. In 2007 they released a movie, so I bought and re-read the book and it made me BAWL MY EYES OUT! The movie (which is worth watching) made me cry just as much. Apparently one of the reasons it's banned is because of the ending (which I won't spoil, just in case) which enrages me because those kinds of things happen in real life and kids have the right to read about them. The other reason it's been challenged/banned is because of religion (go figures).

We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
I read this just two summers ago actually. I don't remember where I found it, but I picked it up because of The List. It's definitely SUPER dark and SUPER twisted for a teen book, but I seriously? I think they can handle it. Definitely had me on the edge of my seat though and had me skeeved out, but still recommended.

Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
I also read these only two summers ago, and guys? These books are hilarious. Georgia Nicholson isn't the most sympathetic of heroines (she's materialistic, obsessed with boys and all around kind of immature) but she's so FUNNY. These books made me laugh out loud many a-time, and yeah, they're kind of frivolous and silly, but Georgia's only fifteen, cut her some slack. Besides, I think everyone needs some light and fun reading every once awhile. I love this series, and I don't understand why they're challenged -- they're ridiculously innocent, compared to what I *know* most fifteen year olds really do..

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
These books are banned on the grounds that they promote "witchcraft" and are therefore anti-Christian/religion/whathaveyou. Uhhh, what? L'Engle is a VERY christian author, and if you read her books, you can see that they have a very prominent Christian angle to them. Now guys, I'm not at all religious, but I still love me some christian fiction from time to time (ie. The Chronicles of Narnia anyone?) and I get so sad when books that ARE christian get slammed for not being christian enough. Also, this book is fantastic.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Guys, I would argue that this is one of the most important teen books ever published. It's about a poor girl who can't find her voice after she's been raped and her journey to find that voice again. WHY IS THIS BEING CHALLENGED AND/OR BANNED? Well, there was a recently kerfuffle on the internetz about some dude (forget his name) who described the scenes of rape in the book (which aren't graphic AT ALL by the way) as "pornographic". I guess this dude doesn't know the definition of pornographic ("printed or visual material containing the explicit description of display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings") because finding rape pornographic is REALLY EFFING messed up. Anyway, this book is amazing and is easily one of my all-time favorite novels. Highly recommended.

I could go on, but I think I'll end my list here; ten is a good number. So, happy Banned Book Week and make sure to promote/give a shout out to your favorite banned books!

Sunday Update: E-Readers

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 I just want to start this post off by apologizing. I haven't updated in almost a week! Thankfully, I don't have a backlog of reviews to make or anything (I just have The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms to review, and I promise I'll have it posted either tomorrow or Tuesday.) I've had a lot of reading to do for school (I'm English Lit. student, so all I do is read) which is why there hasn't been many posts.

With that aside, I decided for this week's Sunday Update that I wanted to talk about something in the reading world that's on the rise: E-readers. 

When I first heard of e-readers (back when the Kindle was first announced) I was super skeptical. Like most book-lovers, I absolutely love the feel of a book in my hand and the smell of a newly cracked open book. The e-reader takes away all that charm from the reading experience and I just couldn't see the appeal.

Since the Kindle was first released, e-readers have become more widespread and easily accessible to people. With the passing of this year's holidays, I saw many book bloggers I follow receive e-readers and review them on their blogs. Almost all the reviews of these little devices was favorable, and slowly, my mind started to change. My birthday comes two weeks after Christmas (January 5th) and when my parents asked me what I wanted, I had finally made up my mind that I wanted one. After a lot of consideration and reading more customer reviews of the product, I decided it would probably be a benefit to my reading habits in a lot of ways:

1. I could get books for cheaper than even with my employee discount at the book store I work at.
2. If the book store didn't carry a book I wanted, I could get them instantly on my e-reader after purchase, instead of waiting 1+ weeks when ordering them online.
3. I'm running out of book shelf space, and I find myself getting rid of a lot of books I buy anyway, because they take up space. The e-reader would allow me to have a lot of books without taking up physical space.
4. A lot of profs at my school are starting to use .pdf files for assigned reading to prevent students from having to buy textbooks. Instead of staring at a computer screen and giving myself crazy headaches, I could load them onto my e-reader. It's a lot easier on the eyes and it's a lot more portable.

So, that's what I got for my birthday. And I have to say, after owning this little guy for two weeks, I'm really happy with it.

The e-ink technology that all e-readers boast of is really impressive. It has a super-high resolution and it really does look like you're reading off paper. This means that the screen isn't backlit, but really, I don't mind at all. The device is super light-weight, making it very comfortable to hold, and while it's definitely not the same as holding an actual book, it's really not all bad. I'm having no trouble getting .pdf files onto the device and is making reading assignments for school less painful. I had a little trouble when I first ordered an e-book online, but it was only because it was making me give credit information when I was using a gift-card, which I found a little frustrating. But no matter really. The battery life on these things is absolutely amazing. Like I said, I've had mine for two weeks and I haven't had to recharge it yet. I travel a lot by bus, so it's good to know that these things will definitely last a whole five-hour bus trip, if not more.

Now, as far as comparing my e-reader (a Kobo) to other e-readers, I don't really know what to say; I've never tried the other ones. I went with the Kobo because the book store I work at (Chapters) carries them, and they're the cheapest ones on the market right now. It has less space than other e-readers, but it can be expanded with an SD card, so I'm really not too worried about it. 

All in all, I'm glad I got one. No, it'll never replace books for me, and yes, I'll still be buying books. I love books and reading off an e-reader doesn't have the same charm as curling up with abook. The e-reader is just a nice device to have to complement my book collection as it does have a lot of advantages for me.  

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Upcoming Reviews:
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K Jemisin

Currently Reading:
Burger's Daughter by Nadine Gordimer (for school)
Dust by Elizabeth Bear

Books Read in 2011: 3

Sunday Update

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It has come to my attention that I created this blog over two months ago and had only made two posts during these months. Yeesh. Well, we're more than a week into the New Year, so I've decided to get down to business. :) 

I guess first thing's first: what's this blog/LJ about? The answer is BOOKS. I love love love to read and would like to document and keep track of everything I do read. With that being said, this blog is going to focus primarily on book reviews. I'm not a huge fan of memes (and book blogs have a lot of them) so I want to try and steer clear of those if possible. 

I don't have any plans for any kind of regular schedule; I'm just going to post reviews for books as I read them. I'm a university student, I work a part-time job, and I have a boyfriend who lives five hours away who I visit with almost every week, so I'm pretty busy, which makes guaranteeing regular posts rather difficult. I'll try my best though. :)   The only regular post I plan on having so far is one like this, which I want to call simply "Sunday Update." Every Sunday, I'm just going to write about something, whether it be book-related or not. I have a plethora of other interests, so I'm going to take Sundays as an opportunity to talk about said things (unless I have something bookish/blog-related that I feel like blabbing about.)  I also plan on having a post at the end of the month to tally up everything I've read and reviewed, and also to showcase books I book and/or received that month.

For this first post though, I do have a few things I'd like to talk about, which are very book-related.

Since we're still at the beginning of the New Year, I thought it wouldn't hurt to present a list of the books I read in 2010. I hope this gives you guys an idea of the kind of stuff I read, and an idea of how much I read as well. I didn't give any kind of ratings or reviews to the books I've read, so I apologize for that. If you have any questions about anything I've read, please don't hesitate to ask in the comments. :)  List is behind the cut.

Books Read in 2010Collapse )

Another thing I'd like to bring up is that I've decided to join three online book clubs this year, in an effort to get me to read more titles that I normally wouldn't read. 

In this past couple of years, I find that I haven't read nearly as much Fantasy and Science-Fiction as I would like, so to remedy that, I joined The Women of Fantasy book club over at Jawas Read Too! and The Women of Science Fiction at the blog Dreams & Speculation. Click the links for more information and for the books that are going to be read throughout the course of the year. I'm super excited to be a part of these book clubs and I'm really excited to read the titles the bloggers have chosen.

The third book club I joined this year was Alphabet Soup with calico_reaction. I joined this particular book club because CR is probably my favorite book blog of all time. She also reads a lot of Fantasy and Science-Fiction, which as I mentioned above, are genres I want to read more of. :)  Click the link for more information, and also check out CR. Like I said, it's a fantastic book blog with great in-depth reviews and good discussion posts as well.


And that's it!! :) 

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I'll also use Sunday Updates as an opportunity to let you guys know what to expect in the coming week. That being said, I'll put here what reviews are going to be coming up over the course of the week, what I'm reading at the moment, and how many books I've read (though that last one is more for myself.)

Upcoming Reviews:
Inside Out by Maria Snyder 
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by J.K. Nemisin 

Currently Reading:  Dust by Elizabeth Bear

Books Read in 2011: 0

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