Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sept 30 - Oct 6 is Banned Book Week


You'd be mighty surprised at how many regular seeming books have been banned or challenged. A few I had an idea would be on the list at some point like, but quite a few were shockers.

This first came to my attention in an email from Macmillian Children Publishing Group that listed A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'engle and The Book of Three by Llyod Alexander as some of their most contested books. Seriously? That really got me thinking and I started doing some more searching. The Banned Book Week official website lists the 10 most contested books of 2011 as:

  • ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  • The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  • The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence
  • My Mom's Having A Baby! A Kid's Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  • Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint
  • Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit
  • What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit
  • Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
    Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    Reasons: offensive language; racism

  • Really?! I mean, a few of those I can understand not wanting a younger audience reading, and sometimes it is a personal choice what you don't want you or your family reading, but a few of those are just a bit ridiculous. The Hunger Games?? There are also quite a few classics that have been contested, the Lord of the Rings being among them. You can find more lists here.

    So, in honor of banned books week, I'm going to read a banned book. I've chosen The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander because it's been on my TBR for quite a while and I just so happened to have won a copy of it a little while ago.

    What banned books have you read? 
    Which ones are you planning on reading?

    Review: Ironskin (Ironskin #1) by Tina Connolly

    Overall Impression:

    Source: Netgalley

    Publication Date: October 2, 2012

    Short Synopsis (Goodreads)Jane Eliot wears an iron mask. 

    It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain—the ironskin. 

    When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a "delicate situation"—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help. 

    Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn’t expect to fall for the girl’s father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio...and come out as beautiful as the fey. 

    Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life—and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.

    My ReviewWhat first drew me to this book was its amazing cover! A close second would be the fact that it's a Jane Eyre steampunk retelling with faeries...and yes, you heard that right! Have you added this to your TBR yet?

    Starting out I loved how atmospheric it all was. It felt shadowed to me, which fit so perfectly with the mood of things and how everyone was just recovering from a war. Not too much to be happy about here! But it wasn't depressing. I guess the only way to describe it is how things feel on a rainy afternoon on a windswept moor...yeah, I got into the imagery.

    What I also really liked about this book was the fact that Jane actually does her governess duties in this one. She and the daughter are quite similar in their 'issues' and Jane is determined to help her. How that actually ends up happening, I won't ruin, but it was quite refreshing to see her working with the girl and us actually getting to know the daughter (which is something I don't even remember feeling in the original!) instead of her just being an excuse for Jane to be there.

    So, for about the first half of the book, I was quite impressed. This was such a cool re-imagning of a classic favorite I was excited to continue....and then Jane kind of lost her wits. For the first half she's a strong, self-willed girl and then all of a sudden she gets...twitterpated! It was really frusting to watch her obsess over Mr. Rochart on the slightest things, I didn't understand it. I know that it's supposed to happen eventually, but the way it was done didn't feel natural and wasn't as much of a slow burn as I wanted it to be.

    Towards the end Jane does exemplify some quick wittedness and intellect, but in my opinion she doesn't recover her sensibility from the beginning and the daughter falls a bit to the way side.
     I AM looking forward to reading the sequel, but the latter half of this book was not what I was expecting or thought fit. This is an author to watch out for though! 

    Gail Carriger is hosting an E&E ARC contest: Class Titles

    Hello all! Great news, Ms. Gail Carriger is hosting an ARC giveaway for her upcoming release 'Etiquette and Espionage' (release Feb 2013).

    The precise details can be found on her sight HERE, but basically you are coming up with Victorian finishing school class titles but with espionage twists. One entry per person with the close date being Oct 31.

    My entry was - Marriageability and Marksmanship: somewhat of a capstone course combining everything to get that coveted proposal and how to set your sights.


    Conversation and Combustibles: how to sweet talk your way anywhere and how to blow things up with regular household items.

    Such a fun idea, no? Head on over! There are quite a few creative ideas, and seriously, I wouldn't mind taking a few of these classes myself!!

    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    Movie Aside: Famous Film Alias'

    So here's something I didn't know until just now, most films are known by an alias or production title while filming is going on. There are different reasons behind this, but Empire Online has taken some of those working titles and added them to the actual posters...there are some pretty crazy ones!

    You should check it out
    but here are a two of my favorites

    Sunday, September 2, 2012

    Review: The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan

    Overall Impression:

    Source: Netgalley for an honest review

    Publication Date: September 11

    Short Synopsis (Goodreads)On remote Rollrock Island, men go to sea to make their livings--and to catch their wives. 
    The witch Misskaella knows the way of drawing a girl from the heart of a seal, of luring the beauty out of the beast. And for a price a man may buy himself a lovely sea-wife. He may have and hold and keep her. And he will tell himself that he is her master. But from his first look into those wide, questioning, liquid eyes, he will be just as transformed as she. He will be equally ensnared. And the witch will have her true payment. 
    Margo Lanagan weaves an extraordinary tale of desire, despair, and transformation. With devastatingly beautiful prose, she reveals characters capable of unspeakable cruelty, but also unspoken love.

    My review: One of my most favorite movies is The Secret of Roan Inish. I love anything to deal with Ireland and this movie had beautiful scenery, great accents and actors (especially the kids) and a touching story. That was probably my first real introduction to the selkie myth.

    This book brought back all of the memories of that movie, and more besides. If your looking for a light happy read, this isn't it. It took a bit to get through this book because it was pretty heavy.

    Ms. Lanagan does a stupendous job going into all of the details that make the myth real. At first I didn't appreciate how the points of view changed every 60 pages or so (sometimes shorter) but it really made for a well rounded understanding of what was going on, who was feeling what and why. We learn about the witch who made it all possible, the boys who fell in love with the selkie women, the families that were torn apart by it, the children of the selkies and men, and the girls who fall in love with those sons. I only realized as I thought about it that we never see anything from the selkies point of view, but it wasn't really necessary either, though we do understand a bit of what they go through, both happy and sad.

    Again, not an easy book because of how realistic it felt for me but that was also its strength. I could feel the cold, the attraction, the heartache and the hope. The prose was simply beautiful. I'm giving this a 4 not because it was my most most favorite book ever, but because of how beautifully it was written and how wholly I was immersed into it.


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