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Banned Books Week

Monday, September 26th, 2011

So here we are again in this oh-so-familiar place… I’ve been aching to get back to my blog, but avoiding it like that friend you really should have called months ago, and the longer you wait, the more awkward it gets, and eventually you just have to pick up the damned phone, or log into the damned site. So here I am. Not gonna apologize to myself or anyone else, cuz holy crap has life been topsy-turvy, and hey, I’m still here.

So. Banned books. Last year, I read Slaughterhouse-Five and To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time each and enjoyed both immensely; this year so far, I’ve finished Fahrenheit 451 and am currently working on Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest on tap. I chose these by scanning my personal library for titles I’d never read that appear on the ALA Top 100 Banned/Challenged books: 2000 – 2009 list. I have no intention of reading every book on the list, but there are several I’ve been meaning to get to for years, and this is as good a prompt as any!

While I can certainly see why Fahrenheit 451 is beloved by many, I wasn’t crazy about Bradbury’s prose; it felt erratic and was difficult for me to follow. I did, however, take away a few gems, this being one:

“The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.”

Pretty brilliantly summed up, in my opinion.

In other news, my brother and I are doing well; school is back in session, new routines are falling into place, and we’re enjoying a lovely late summer. Hope you out there in book blogger land are doing splendidly, as well!

Thankfully Reading mini-challenge #2

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Part of my unemployment/winter hibernation checklist includes mounting my wall shelves and (finally) performing the Great Library Organization, which will consist of not only shelving the books, but parsing out which ones I still own after the book division with my former partner, and making sure my LibraryThing catalog is up to date. So for this challenge, I corralled my TBR boxes and unloaded one of them to give you something more attractive to view than just cardboard:

And a close-up of the titles:

I know I own The Eyre Affair, and may dig through the boxes to find it now that I’ve also picked up Lost in a Good Book. Otherwise I’ll likely try Story Time, or maybe finally tackle Jonathan Strange. Opinions?

Thankfully Reading mini-challenge #1

Friday, November 26th, 2010

The first mini-challenge of the Thankfully Reading readathon asks what book we’re most thankful for, and why.
I’ve read so many influential books in my life, but the first one that came to mind was Les Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues. It was my inauguration into the world in which I am now deeply and lovingly ensconced, the world I didn’t know was mine until I discovered it within the pages of this book. Every time I read it, I find myself relating to it in new and different ways, learning more about my community of friends, my relationships with my lovers, my own innermost self.

What book are you most grateful for?

Banned Books Week

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

So in preparing a post for work today, I decided to count how many of the top 100 banned and challenged classics I’ve read. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I’ve only read a tenth of them! Granted, I’d say well over half of the ones I’ve not read are in my physical TBR pile, or on my wish list, but still. That is tragic. So, I’m challenging myself to read at least three banned books between now and October 2. Which means I have to find them. After I clean up the aftermath of last night’s crockpot lasagna.

What are some of your favorite banned/challenged books? Are there some you honestly can’t imagine why they made the list? Do you think it’s ever appropriate for a book to be removed from circulation?

Read-a-thon wrap-up

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

dreamstime_readathong

And here we are, on the other side of my first 24 hour read-a-thon. What an incredibly enjoyable, educational, and humbling experience! My stats aren’t as thorough as most readers’, primarily because I signed up at the last minute and decided I was just going to read and observe this time around. I think that was the best thing I could have done, because knowing myself, I would have set some pretty high expectations as far as books completed and pages read and been disappointed rather than having tons of fun and gathering lots of great info for future read-a-thons.

Books completed: 3

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg; 162 pages.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins; 374 pages.

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl; 154 pages.

Books abandoned: 1

Hood by Stephen Lawhead. I started with this one and quickly realized that it would take a HUGE dedication of time to get through it; I left it at page 45. I may or may not give this another go another time… It wasn’t really grabbing me.

Books not completed: 1

The Time Travelers by Linda Buckley-Archer. I’m enjoying this one, perhaps not as much as I expected, but enough to keep working on it today. I’ll probably borrow the sequel, but don’t know if I’ll buy the series. We shall see. Concluded the read-a-thon on page 173 of this one.

Total pages read: 908. Huh, not as low as I expected. Not as high as I expected before the day began, but I’m a bit of an overachiever that way :)

Hours slept: 3. I crashed for two hours in the middle of the day, and an hour around 2:30 this morning. I only got about three hours of sleep Friday night, so I’m positive I could have lasted the whole time if I’d managed more than that!

Mini-challenges completed: 6

Trending on Twitter

Where in the World is the Read-a-thon?

What books do you reread, and why?

Wisdom of Age

Children’s books “Gimme Five”

Turn to page…

I would have loved to do so many more of them, and probably would have if I’d been at home. I felt a little disoriented though, even though I only moved from here less than a month ago, and mostly just wanted to hunker down with the books and the cats.

I received so many comments from great cheerleaders along the way, and can’t wait to go through and check out your blogs and watch the count on my feed reader grow and grow, so that’s what I’m off to do once I’ve refilled my coffee mug :) I hope everyone’s day of recuperation is going swimmingly, and thanks to all who made the read-a-thon such a wonderful event!

Update time…

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

dreamstime_readathong

Am just under a hundred pages into The Time Travelers; will return to it later, but need a break from the story and have seen so many Twitter updates about The Hunger Games that I’m going to give that a re-read. I’d pulled Battle Royale, which has a similar premise, as a possible book for the readathon, but I know it’ll take up several hours’ worth of reading at a fast clip. I’d rather hold off and give that one a luxurious read (if one can say that about a gruesome and psychopathic book).

Just got out of the shower; think it helped lift my lids a bit so I shouldn’t start flagging again for a while. Am trying to avoid coffee, but may have to indulge this afternoon. All it means is that once the caffeine starts really flowing, I have to keep it up, right? I can do that. :) Anyway, back to it – hope everyone is making great progress and having fun!

Brief readathon update!

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

dreamstime_readathong

OK, we’re entering the sixth hour, and I am feeling like a SLACKER! I’ve finished E. L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, started Stephen Lawton’s Hood but ditched it after four chapters because it just felt too historical-fiction-y for me (I have a desperately hard time keeping track of all those rulers and lands and alliances), and am beginning The Time Travelers by Linda Buckley-Archer. I also have The Time Thief if this proves to be a winner.

Would love to hear anyone else’s progress – drop a link to your own update post here, or come follow me on Twitter – http://twitter.com/aglaia531 – and I’ll follow ya back to keep up :) Happy reading, everyone, and thank you so much to the hosts and cheerleaders; you all are making this so much fun!

Book List

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

So my book selection for the readathon isn’t very varied as far as genre and reading levels go, but I think I’ve got a good chance of getting through quite a bit if the books are as good as I’ve heard they are. Nearly all of these have been highly praised on LibraryThing, and the only re-read on the stack is Takami’s Battle Royale. I’m also a little under a hundred pages into John Grisham’s The Associate, and have the Harry Potter books on standby if I just can’t get into anything at any point.

in no particular order

Given that (a) I’m not on my own computer, so the absence of my LibraryThing cache and the presence of a new-to-me browser would slow me down, and (b) I heart my iPhone, I’ll be using Twitter and/or Facebook to update along the way. I’m going to unlock my Twitter account (aglaia531) for the readathon, and will add you on Facebook (Kirsten Griffith) if you state in a message sent with your friend request that you’re along for the readathon ride.

And on that note, I’m going to veg with my kitties and some NCIS before getting a few hours of sleep to prepare for the big event!