foliogal: (Books)

I recently had a yearning to re-read books I first read when I was, shall we say, young and innocent. So I dug through my bookshelf and started with Orwell's 1984. That book still has the power to scare me. In fact, I think it scares me even more now than it did when I was young, probably because I'm just cynical enough now to believe something like that can happen. It was fascinating to read it with some life experience behind me this time around, so after I was finished with that I moved on to Fahrenheit 451. This book still has the power to make me feel sick and cold in the stomach. I readily remember the horror I felt the first time I read it, that a society would *burn books*.  But this time around I took something else from it, something from the Coda Mr. Bradbury added which I found even more eerily appropriate now than when he originally wrote it:

"There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist / Unitarian, Irish / Italian / Octogenarian / Zen / Buddhist, Zionist / Seventh-day / Adventist, Women's Lib / Republican, Mattachine / FourSquareGospel feels it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse."

Bless you, Mr. Bradbury. Not only are groups still trying to hold the match to books, but they are also doing it to TV shows and movies. Because, you know, other people obviously aren't competent enough to decide for themselves what they want to watch and read...

So what's up next? I pulled a few yellowed and worn paperbacks from my shelf and am trying to make the decision: Lord of the Flies or Animal Farm? Or perhaps The Lathe of Heaven? (Hmm. Apparently at one point in my life I could actually read the teeny tiny print in this book...) I think perhaps Lord of the Flies. My goodness, it's been decades since I've read that one. And, along with all this, I  am totally itching to re-read one of my favorite books of all times, Watership Down. And one of my other favorites, Good Omens. For some reason, this time of the year always makes me want to return to 'comfort reading', whether it be fanfic or novels, like I'm wrapping myself up warm with them, and these are two of my all-time favorite comfort reads.

Does anyone else have comfort reads? Novels you return to time and time again like a trusted friend?

So many books, never enough time…

Oh, while I'm rambling on, let me just say that this season of Stargate: Atlantis has ROCKED. There were so many things that could have been oh-so-wrong with this season, with cast changes, but it has been the best season so far, in my opinion. I can honestly say that I have been immensely entertained all season so far, and I loves my show!

And before I forget, a book recommendation: World War Z by Max Brooks. It's like The Stand with zombies. Kind of. I couldn't put it down, seriously.


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Okay, I must have been living under a rock for the last couple of decades, because I although I knew there were parents who would petition schools to remove what they considered 'unsuitable' books from libraries, I honestly didn't realize there were such a thing as Banned Books in this day an age. Who knew?

And look what topped the list as The Most Challenged Book of 2006:

"And Tango Makes Three" tops ALA's 2006 list
of most challenged books

CHICAGO – Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell’s award-winning "And Tango Makes Three," about two male penguins parenting an egg from a mixed-sex penguin couple, tops the list of most challenged books in 2006 by parents and administrators, due to the issues of homosexuality.

Okay, there's no way now that I'm not skating straight off to Amazon to buy that book. Gay penguins! Yay!

And more info from the American Library Association:

The "10 Most Challenged Books of 2006" reflect a range of themes, and consist of the following titles:

  • "And Tango Makes Three" by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, for homosexuality, anti-family, and unsuited to age group;
  • "Gossip Girls" series by Cecily Von Ziegesar for homosexuality, sexual content, drugs, unsuited to age group, and offensive language;
  • "Alice" series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor for sexual content and offensive language;
  • "The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things" by Carolyn Mackler for sexual content, anti-family, offensive language, and unsuited to age group;
  • "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison for sexual content, offensive language, and unsuited to age group;
  • "Scary Stories" series by Alvin Schwartz for occult/Satanism, unsuited to age group, violence, and insensitivity;
  • "Athletic Shorts" by Chris Crutcher for homosexuality and offensive language.
  • "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky for homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language, and unsuited to age group
  • "Beloved" by Toni Morrison for offensive language, sexual content, and unsuited to age group;
  • "The Chocolate War" by Robert Cormier for sexual content, offensive language, and violence.
  • Off the list this year, but on for several years past, are the "Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger, "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain.

There's a ton of information out there on banned books on the ALA link, including information about the history of burning books. And, yes, believe it or not, they still burn books in the 21st century:

“On Sunday evening, members of the Harvest Assembly of God Church in Penn Township sing songs
as they burn books, videos and CDs that they have judged offensive to their God.”

Published in the Butler Eagle, March 26, 2001. Courtesy of the Butler Eagle.

Okay, I resolve right now to get out from under my rock more often, and hunt down and read as many banned books as I can.

foliogal: (WomanReading)
No spoilers here, just some reactions.
Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling - Easily my favorite book of the series. It had everything, and for me it was the most compelling page-turner of the HP series. And it was the first book where I kept thinking, 'This is going to make a fabulous movie. I can't wait!' My 15-year-old nephew and I read it at the same time, and we would call each other up in the evenings to discuss what we'd read each day. I gave him the first HP book when he was 8 and he's grown up along with Harry. This was the first one of the series where we sat down and had a real 'grown-up' discussion about the book, the characters, their motivations and what it all meant. It was his favorite HP book as well. But I think the greatest joy for me was when he thanked me for giving him that first HP book and telling me he wasn't sure he would now have such a  passionate love of reading if it hadn't been for that. Color me one proud and happy auntie.
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Wow. I'd heard nothing but raves about this book so I couldn't wait to read it. Perhaps there's another book out there of the same title that all those other people read… The style of writing didn't engage me, there was a major squick factor I couldn't overcome, and I suppose the deal-breaker for me was that I never liked the main character. I more or less forced myself to finish it to see how it all turned out, but it was a pretty much joyless read.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini - I can't say enough about this book. I picked it up and started reading and could barely force myself to put it down. This isn't an easy story, and it has its share of heartbreak  -- no surprise there as it's set in modern day Afghanistan -- but it's a story that won't fade away after you've read it. It stays with you and won't let go. I'd recommend this read to anyone; in fact, I'd call it one of the best novels I've read.
I'm getting ready to start Hosseini's second book, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and I'm hoping for another powerful read.

I've been using LibraryThing ( to organize my books as I read them, and it's been great for keeping me on track with my reading. I realized a few months ago thta I'd pretty much been reading nothing but fanfic for some time now. I love fanfic, and I wouldn't give it up for the world, but that was all I was reading. Gone were the days when I would put a book in my handbag to have it to read if I found myself with a few spare minutes or having one I automatically picked up whenever I sat down. I think I'm back on track now, with a good mixture, and once again find a novel in my handbag and a book or two which I automatically reach for when I sit down.

Recommendations for good reads cheerfully accepted. :)
foliogal: (Books)
I imagine I'm about the only person in the universe at the moment not reading the latest Harry Potter this weekend. :) But I expect I'll be shutting myself away next weekend to read it. The reason is that [personal profile] elgrey  the Magnificent sent me the UK version for my birthday, so it hasn't arrived yet. But that's okay because I've got the entire set in the UK version, thanks to her, and the Nephew and Nieces got my American collection (also thanks to her!). So I am very happy to wait until it gets here. I only need to be carefuly of spoilers, and so far everyone is being very considerate and careful about that.

In the meantime, I finished Inkspell, the sequal to Inkheart, and this series has easily become one of my favorite book worlds ever.  [personal profile] elgreyand I just found out this morning that the author, Cornelia Funke, is going over the final draft of the last in the series and we should be getting it in English in 2008. I really can't wait.

I absolutely love stories about people interacting in book worlds. I was fascinated by Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next novels. Which reminds me, I need to see if there's a new one out there. I've got 4 of them, and I thought I heard something about a new one coming out in the not-so-distant future. Must investigate...

In the meantime, I hope to finish up The Golden Compass (aka Northern Lights to everyone but Americans, apparently) by Philip Pullman before Harry Potter shows up at my front door. Golden Compass has been on my bookshelf for ages, and its time has finally come.


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August 2008

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