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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Banned books and a book review

cj Sez: I came across a couple of blog posts the other day about some of the books that, over the years, have been banned in schools and sometimes in libraries. 
So I did some checking. The list is sadly surprising

According to the American Library Association, books on the Top Ten list are geared toward children, teens or young adult audiences. Parents initiate the majority of the challenges. ALA’s position is that “parents have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children—and only their children—to library resources.” Among those banned have been:

“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” (Reason: Profanity and racial slurs, alcohol, poverty, bullying, violence, and sexuality.)

“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (Reason: Perceived racial insensitivity, stereotypes and offensive characterization, especially of the runaway slave.) 

“Lord of the Flies,” (Reason: Several challenges including:  "demoralizing inasmuch as it implies that man is little more than an animal.")

The Harry Potter Series (Reason: Includes topics that desensitize children to very real evils in the world, increasing violence as the books progress.)

As a way to make the public aware of the censorship, the Association promotes Banned Books Week, which takes place in September.
"Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek, to publish, to read, and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular."
In 2017, the following books were among the most frequently attacked or banned (all have been banned more than once):

“Thirteen Reasons Why” (Reason: Suicide)
“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” (Reasons: Profanity, sexually explicit)
“Drama” (Reason: LGBT content)
“The Kite Runner” (Reasons: Sexual violence, religious themes, “May lead to terrorism”)
“George” (Reason: LGBT content)
“Sex is a Funny Word” (Reason: Sex education)
“To Kill a Mockingbird” (Reasons: Violence, racial slurs)
“The Hate U Give” (Reasons: Drug use, profanity, “Pervasively vulgar”)
“And Tango Makes Three” (Reason: LGBT content)
“I Am Jazz” (Reason: Gender identity)
My BOOK REVIEW on a new book (It could attract a ban):

THE HUNGER, by Alma Katsu, is a tour de force on human behavior. The Donner pioneers, seeking new lives, riches, and adventures on the far coasts of a new America, are driven to mad desperation by an unimaginable terror. Author Alma Katsu adds a supernatural evil to the tragic real-life story of the Donner Party and imbues their sacrifices with even more horror. Stephen King’s review says it all:  “Deeply, deeply disturbing, hard to put down, not recommended reading after dark.”
Speaking of reviews, how about authors’ reactions to those less than complimentary? Here are three quotes from a Career Authors blog post you are sure to want to read:

Geez, I’m not an English teacher
This complaint makes our heads feel like they might explode. How can you expect good results if you don’t know the tools of the trade? To us, attempting to write a book without knowledge of spelling, punctuation and grammar is akin to someone walking into a surgical unit for the first time, picking up a scalpel and making a mess of the patient, then saying, “Hey, I didn’t graduate from med school–how could you expect me to know how to use that thing?”

I didn’t realize my book would be judged on punctuation, spelling and grammar.
Correct spelling, punctuation and grammar are essential to conveying your ideas in the manner you intended. (Famous example: “I just ate, Grandma” or “I just ate Grandma.”) If you haven’t mastered them, then you aren’t ready to write a book.

It’s clear the reviewer didn’t read the whole book
No matter the complaint, authors want to believe that the reviewer didn’t read their whole book. It’s an understandable reaction, as no one wants to hear negative feedback, and it’s far easier to leap to the conclusion that the reviewer didn’t really read the book than to admit to yourself that they did read it and failed to love your baby as much as you do.

cj Sez: I’m with the authors of this piece on the complaint about poor spelling, punctuation, and grammar, and I don’t think any of us are referring to the occasional gremlins that creep into a manuscript.

There is a lot more to read about here:

Okay, that’s it for this post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.


5-Star Review for THE POSSE
Eight different stories by different authors. Each story was unique in its style and the characters in it. I enjoyed each of them. Though I'm a fan of historical romance, and I like the westerns, this introduced me to some new authors that I hadn't read before. If you enjoy the wild west and are a fan of classic western novels, you'll enjoy these eight tales in The Posse. I'll be looking up some of the authors for other books.
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