Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rantings

Today I am choosing to rant for a bit as I recently "stumbled upon" a list of banned children's books.  So I think, yeah, ok, some books may be just a little inappropriate for children, but then I started reading the names of some of these books and the reasons they should be or are banned, I just have to shake my head a little.  Let me start off by saying that I read a lot.  Always have.  I was that quiet girl on the school bus with her face in a book.  I was that little girl that hid her book under her pillow with a flash light until Mom said good night so that she could then be sneaky and read until she fell asleep.  I am that girl. It is hard for me to picture how my life would be without all my stories as I grew up.  A good book to me is one that makes you think of all kinds of things, it sucks you into a whole different world.  However, it isn't real.  It is a story. I think most people, children included, understand that a story is just that.  They are smart enough to realize that a fictional book is not real. We don't have fairies flying around or unicorns grazing in the fields. Which will bring me to the first book on the banned list.

Harry Potter.  And the reason? "Promotes witchcraft and main character has no moral story." Seriously.  Well banned book people, I hate to burst your bubbles here, but it is a story.  It is made up. It isn't real.  Harry Potter is not a real person.  These books are not spell books. If your children do not know the difference between what is real and what is imaginary, then maybe you should be teaching them better. A story like this helps develop people's imaginations. It teaches people to be there for their friends and not to ever believe they are all alone, because even when you think you are, there is always someone there that has your back, however unexpected it may seem.  I believe there is a moral to each one of the Harry Potter books and it is ridiculous that it is banned.  It doesn't teach witchcraft.  The spells and all that are pulled out of the imagination of a writer.  These books teach children to have an imagination and I don't think there is anything wrong with that.

Another book on the list was Twilight.  I have to say that I am a fan of these books. However, I do think that these are inappropriate for certain age groups.  It is not a PG rated type of book.  I don't think it should be banned though.  I remember when I was in, I think it was middle school, my mom took a book away from me because the main characters were kissing and stuff.  I, being the one that enjoys talking about the books I am reading, was sharing some details of the book with my mom who proceeded to look at me like I was crazy and took the book and said this is not appropriate for you.  So I understand.  I recall not being happy about that because I was in the middle of the story, but I guess it is up to parents to make the choice for their children on what they are reading in a sense of something like that.  I didn't find it inappropriate at the time, but I was also a bit sheltered.  I don't think there is necessarily anything wrong with that.  I do believe you should have the option to read whatever you want and nothing should be banned.  That is just messed up.  But controlling things based on an age appropriate PG, PG13 rating would make a little more sense. The reasoning behind this one is, "inappropriate themes, explicit sexuality, and offensive language."  Again, I agree that maybe it is inappropriate for some age groups, but I don't think it should be banned from schools or anything like that.  You want your kid to grow and learn and all that so you shouldn't be taking away tools that can help with that process.  I am not saying that this story is necessarily teaching anything, but it still allows people to use their imagination and as someone who is aspiring to be a novel writer myself, I think this is a very important thing.

Another book is A Wrinkle In Time.  Reason: "Promotion of witchcraft and crystal balls and anti-religious undertones." Ok.  Well again, it is a story.  It is not real.  I don't see how it can promote witchcraft when it is not based on anything real.  It is completely pulled out of the imagination of a writer. I read this book when I was in elementary school.  It promotes anti-religious undertones? Is that really a good reason to ban a fictional story? Again, key word here is fictional. By the way, I happen to like this book.

Another is Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.  Reason: "Profanity, racial slurs, and harsh depiction of racism in the South."  Well, as I recall, we had to read this one in school.  It wasn't a "fun" read.  It was one that the teacher made the class read.  Now it is banned? Really? I thought it was a story meant to teach people. It even won the Newbery Medal in 1977.  I don't know how people get on the "Banned Book" committee or who they are, but I think they need to reevaluate their list and their reasons.

There were many other books, but those were the ones that really stood out to me.  I don't think it is ok to ban books.  Everyone enjoys different types of books for different reasons.  The books that I love, you might hate.  The point is that everyone is different and has different likes and dislikes.  Just because you don't like something, doesn't mean that someone else might.  Someone else may take something completely different away from the story.  There are plenty of books that I don't like that are considered classics.  For example, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, I did not like at all.  Not even a little.  However, it is on the list of the 100 best novels of the 20th Century, as well as on the World Library's list of The 100 Best Books of All Time.  Just because I did not like it, doesn't mean others didn't.  What I took from that story, is not the same as others took from it.  Just because I don't like it, clearly doesn't mean it should be banned.  Do I think 5-year-old's should read it, no.  But it should still be made available to people as it is so clearly a classic. Everyone should have the opportunity to read it and form their own opinions.

I just believe that some people are crazy and when it comes to books, people should be able to choose what they read without any sort of restrictions.  Anyway, that sums up my ranting for now.  If you have any thoughts or opinions feel free to comment!

As always, I leave you with a quote!

Happy reading!

"Sometimes, people can go missing right before our very eyes. Sometimes, people can discover you, even though they've been looking at you the entire time.  Sometimes, we lose sight of ourselves when we're not paying enough attention."
~Cecelia Ahern 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tomorrow, October 4th, Alice Hoffman’s new book, The Dovekeepers, will be released in stores! I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am! First off, let me start by saying that I wait patiently all year for some authors to come out with their new books, Alice Hoffman being one of them. I am at the closest bookstore on the day it comes out on my lunch break or just as soon as I can possibly get there. It will be the highlight of my day! Don’t make fun because I am totally serious!

Here is a synopsis that I borrowed from Barnes and Noble’s /Alice Hoffman’s website:

"Over five years in the writing, The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman's most ambitious and mesmerizing novel, a tour de force of imagination and research, set in ancient Israel.

In 70 C.E., nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic and iconic event, Hoffman's novel is a spellbinding tale of four extraordinarily bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path. Yael's mother died in childbirth, and her father, an expert assassin, never forgave her for that death. Revka, a village baker's wife, watched the horrifically brutal murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she brings to Masada her young grandsons, rendered mute by what they have witnessed. Aziza is a warrior's daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and an expert marksman who finds passion with a fellow soldier. Shirah, born in Alexandria, is wise in the ways of ancient magic and medicine, a woman with uncanny insight and power.

The lives of these four complex and fiercely independent woman intersect in the desperate days of the siege. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets - about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love. The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman's masterpiece."

Does that not sound amazing? I love Alice Hoffman because her stories are well written and take you off to another place, another world. Not like a Narnia type of world, but you bookish people know what I mean, right? She has a way of capturing you and sucking you into the story. That is the best type of book. One you can get lost in and come out wishing it wasn't over yet. It is the best kind of feeling. I also especially love when authors take several characters and use them as narrators throughout the story. You get different perspectives and grow fond of each character individually because, even if only for a limited time, you get to see what they think and how they feel about whatever it is that is happening in the book. This sounds like that type of book and I am super excited! It may just be my first book review on my blog! Seeing as all other books will be put aside until this one is finished! Anyway, if this little synopsis grabs your attention, then head to your closest bookstore tomorrow and pick it up! As long as we continue to support the authors, bookstores will stay in business, which means our dearly beloved authors stay in business, which just means that all is right in the world and things are as they should be. Well, I will bid you farewell and leave you once again with a quote.

Happy reading!

"Do people choose the art that inspires them - do they think it over; decide they might prefer the fabulous to the real? For me, it was those early readings of fairy tales that made me who I was as a reader and, later, as a storyteller."
~Alice Hoffman


Welcome to my rose garden!

It is a bit of an odd name for a blog; however, there is a reason behind it. I've started this blog so that I may have an outlet for my many thoughts, comments, ideas, and crazy rantings for all the wonderful and not so wonderful books that I read.  I want a place where people, like myself, can come and talk all they want about books and have the satisfaction that someone somewhere is "listening" without having to see that crazy expression on their face that says "what are you talking about" or better yet the one that says "oh my god, shut up".  I don't know about anyone else, but I've gotten those looks a few times in my life from people who really could care less.  You know, the not so bookish people. Anyway, when I think of the most perfect place to read a book, I picture a comfy chair on a porch overlooking a rose garden.  (Or maybe sitting on a beach....but Melissa's Beach didn't really sound as nice.) Hence the name rose garden.  I currently do not have a porch with a comfy chair that overlooks a rose garden, but I am content with my comfy chair by a window with flowers outside.

So once again, welcome to my little book world that I've created. Feel free to look around....not that there is a lot up just yet, but I am working on it.  I hope to have some stuff I've written up at some point.....if I don't chicken out...and eventually news on the novel that I'm editing, maybe some art, and whatever else my imagination throws at me.  So stay tuned because I promise there will be more interesting things coming.

Happy reading!

I will leave you with a quote by one of my favorite authors!

"I believe in the magic of books.  I believe that during certain periods in our lives we are drawn to particular books - whether it's strolling down the aisles of a bookshop with no idea whatsoever of what it is that we want to read and suddenly finding the most perfect, most wonderfully suitable book staring us right in the face. Unblinking.  Or a chance meeting with a stranger or friend who recommends a book we would never ordinarily reach for.  Books have the ability to find their own way into our lives.
~Cecelia Ahern