Books!, Signal Boost

Banned Books Week 2018

Hey all, Dani here.

Once again we find ourselves at the time of year to celebrate Banned Books Week, and like every previous year, I like to write up a little post to talk about the occasion. You can find out a lot more information by checking out the Banned Books Week site or by checking out the Banned Books Week section of the ALA(American Library Association)’s site.

Banned Books Week is the annual celebration by libraries, publishers, booksellers, authors, and readers, to celebrate the Freedom to Read. There are a number of different events being held all over at libraries and bookstores, so check out your local ones to see what might be going on near you. Banned Books Week was started back in the 1980s, in response to the increased challenges and protests, including a 1982 Supreme Court case (Island Trees School District v. Pico) which ruled that school officials can’t ban books simply because of their content.

bbwbanner

Each year a list is released of the top 10 most challenged books for the previous year. Take note of the reasons these books are challenged. I feel like most of these books are challenged by a small yet very vocal group of people, and the sad fact is that for a vast majority of these challenges, the person asking for the removal of the book from libraries and/or schools actually has not picked up the book. They are going off of the summary and/or what they might have heard about the book.

oif-graphic-top-ten

There are a lot of popular books that find themselves on this challenged/banned list, and I have talked about them in a previous post. This topic is one that I feel like I need to talk about each year, so you can find my posts from 2016 and 2017 at these links. I also have a Banned Books Recommendations post, which I definitely recommend.

And the ALA’s Banned Books Week Web site also includes a bunch of handy dandy infographics, which I think are cool to include. They give a quick glimpse at why books are challenged, where they are challenged, and more.

oif-graphic-censorship

So this might not be my longest post, but I still think it is absolutely an important one. As members of the book community, we pretty much have a responsibility to fight against censorship. If a book has content you don’t want to read, then that’s fine. The sensible solution is to just not buy/borrow/read that book. Don’t ruin the reading fun for others just because you don’t agree with the content of a book.

That’s like saying that because you don’t like hamburgers that nobody else should have access to hamburgers. Not cool.

On another somewhat unrelated note, I am getting pretty near to 500 followers on my blog –THANK YOU ALL–and I have always had it in mind that I will be doing a giveaway when I reach that point. So when I reach 500 followers I will be uploading a post with details on how one of you awesome people can win $25 worth of books from Book Depository.

I do believe that is all from me today. Thanks for reading and I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

Advertisements
Book Releases, Book Review, Book Tag, Books!, Conventions, Cover Reveal, Graphic Novel, Manga, NaNoWriMo, NetGalley, Readathon, Reading Challenge, Recommendations, Signal Boost, TBR Purge, Writing

The Road So Far (2)

Hey all, Dani here.

Why mess with the tradition I started last year? I might as well keep using the awesome “Supernatural” reference for my retrospective over the last year. You can find my overview of 2016 here.

Today also happens to be my 2 year blogaversary. I started this blog in 2016 to help me cope with my paternal grandmother’s death. Well, technically that was the catalyst for starting it; I had been thinking of starting up a blog again for a while because I needed to talk about books with someone.

2017 was such a rollercoaster year for me, and yet, looking back I wouldn’t change any of the lows I went through. Not only because the highs really kept me afloat, but also because the lows allowed me to fully understand how great the highs were.

Anyway, in January I found out that I was approved for the vacation days from work that would allow me to go to Book Expo and BookCon. Though I knew I was going alone, I knew that I would have a fun time surrounded by other book lovers and getting to check out a bunch of upcoming releases.

Also in January, my parents separated after 30 years together, and started the process of getting a divorce. The drama and issues from this event would send shockwaves through roughly 2/3 of the year.

I lost myself in books, both reading them and buying them. I pushed myself to work more on my blog, and to start interacting more with other members of the book community. It was the start to me really feeling like a good book blogger. But in those early months it was also the way I had to cope with what was happening in my life. Well, my books and Dungeons & Dragons.

It was Dungeons & Dragons that introduced me to the man who I would start dating in April. As it turns out this would be the event that helped me get through everything else. Admittedly, I know some people in my real life got annoyed with how much I gushed about my guy and how great things were. I can’t help it that my life started to feel like I was part of a romance story.

After my trip to NYC for Book Expo and BookCon, my blog really started to take off. I reached 100 followers, and later in the year 200. I’m not sure when follower 250 came around, but it might have been just before 2017 ended. So thank you to each and every one of you who has joined me in this process. You are all amazing.

Even with my work and my relationship, I somehow managed to still keep up with all of my reading and blogging, and actually I started having posts go up every single day, something I never would have thought I would be able to do.

I participated in quite a few readathons over the course of the year, from both sessions of Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathons, to a few other assorted events. All in all I think those helped me connect with more of you, and to read a bunch more books. The 24 Hour events always seem much more successful to me than the week long events, but I still keep trying with them. Hey, any excuse to read more, right?

I rekindled my fondness for manga in 2017, and I can honestly say that I am devouring so many of them. My list of manga reviews waiting to be written up is getting decently long.

Oh, and my boyfriend and I were able to go to Indianapolis in August with another friend of ours for a one day pass to Gen Con, which is a gaming convention. There we were able to get a lot of books, dice, and games, as well as to meet the cast of Critical Role. It was a really fun day.

For the 12th time I participated in NaNoWriMo, and managed to earn my 12th win, but I realize that the novel that came out is mostly incoherent. With any luck I’ll be able to start from scratch and re-write the book in 2018. I’d actually love to be able to share it with the world. And it would be nice to really get back into writing (and possibly publishing) again.

And I managed to do a TBR purge and go through a list of well of 800 books on Goodreads, taking it down to just over 400 books. I imagine this will be something I’ll have to do again soon, but I still feel pretty good with where I’m at now.

But, the greatest event of 2017 was towards the end of December. On Friday, December 22nd, on a day when we thankfully had a shutdown day at work, my boyfriend and I went shopping at Barnes & Noble where he both bought more books than me and spent more money than me. You guys, that rarely happens. You’ve seen my typical book hauls. I usually get a heck of a lot of books.

After that shopping trip, we made our way to the zoo, where we walked around for a couple hours, looking at all of the animals and then also checking out the massive holiday light display they put up each year. And it was while sitting on a bench overlooking Conservation Lake at the zoo, that my wonderful boyfriend sank down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It was honestly just like a scene out of a Hallmark channel holiday movie, and I so look forward to seeing what our future will be like.

I hope you all had some moments of 2017 that were really nice as well, and I hope that we all have a very nice 2018.

Books!, Inspiration, Recommendations, Signal Boost

Banned Books Recommendations

Hey all, Dani here.

It is still Banned Books Week, and today I want to talk about some banned books that I think people need to read. Also, because there are some books that have been very prominent and influential in recent months, I’ll have a few of those listed at the end. I’m pretty certain that some of them will end up being on the list of 2017 Banned Books when it is released next year.

wp-image-418169960

Okay, honestly, I think that books should be read period. When it comes to books that are challenged or banned though, I feel like people are trying to lock up some idea and keep it from the public eye. This puts it on my radar even more, practically labeling the book as a must read. What concept in the book has made people so afraid that they want to prevent people from reading it?

Any of the books I mentioned in my last post are definitely worth a read, as are any and all of the other books on the lists of challenged books from the past couple decades.

  • Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples (anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group)
    • This is a graphic novel series, and yes there is nudity, offensive language, and sexual content within most issues. This is not a series targeted at youth. In fact, when I saw Saga being talked about and sold at BookExpo, the guy at the booth was sure to inform readers/consumers that it is targeted at an adult audience. The series follows a couple who just happen to be part of opposing races, and they fall in love, which causes all sorts of issues. They are hunted down by both of their people, and even by their families. But they form a new family of sorts. I think it is worth the read. I think it is about people from different places finding common ground despite the prejudices they grew up believing.
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky (drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation”)
    • One of the things I like to say about this book is that the movie adaptation has to be one of the best adaptations I have seen. Yes, that is because the author wrote the screenplay and directed the movie. It does not get adapted any better than having the author in such prevalent roles in the process. But I think this book is one that everyone should read. It is actually a shorter read too, so it doesn’t take that much time, and it is written in letters/journal entries. But seriously, everyone should read Charlie’s story.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (offensive language, racism)
    • Isn’t this one just a classic that basically everyone reads anyway? I remember reading it and watching the movie in school. It is one of those classics that shows us the reality of a time in the past of the USA, that actually does not feel all that different from the current reality, with the exception of a vast advancement in technology.
  • His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman (political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, violence)
    • I devoured these books as a kid, and am hoping to complete a reread of them soon, but when I was a kid I didn’t pay attention to any political or religious undertones or overtones in the books. I was so wrapped up in Lyra’s adventures. I’m curious to see what I pick up now reading these as an adult.
  • The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood (Profanity; lurid passages about sex; statements defamatory to minorities, god, women and the disabled; violence; hopelessness; age-inappropriate; graphic sex; vulgar; offensive to Christians; violently graphic and morally corrupt.)
    • Okay, so technically I have yet to read this one, but I’m still including it on this recommendations list. With the way the world is going nowadays, this seems like a scary possibility for the future, so I think more people need to read it (myself included–I promise, I have it on my TBR)
  • Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank (sexual content)
    • Seriously, this book has been challenged and banned because at one point Anne details the fact that she is maturing and so is her body. That is the reason why people think that this book should be taken out of schools and libraries. Not because of all the historical violence by the Nazis or the treatment of Jews and others. No, because a young woman talks about puberty, this book shouldn’t be read. Wow, just wow. I have this one on my TBR again, because I feel that I need a reread.
  • 1984, by George Orwell (pro-communist, explicit sexual matter)
    • Here’s another classic book that eerily predicted how society would be in the future. But instead of focusing on the government watching and monitoring every move, no let’s challenge this book because it could be promoting the communist agenda. Both George Orwell books on this list have been challenged because people suspected the author of being a communist.
  • Animal Farm, by George Orwell (political theories, pro-communist)
    • This book was also challenged because of having anthropomorphized animals in the book. I think the segregation of the animals based on what kind of animal they are is very similar to how nowadays we try and separate people by gender, or race, or religion, or sexuality. We need to have more conversation on the topic of division within the world today, and I think books like this can help get the conversation really moving

Okay, so now I’m going to include a few recommendations for books released this year, in 2017. They have not hit any challenged or banned lists (yet) but I imagine we’ll see them there when the 2017 list is released next year.

  • The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
  • All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis
  • Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
  • The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
  • Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Both The Hate You Give and Dear Martin deal with the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality, which are issues that definitely need more discussion and time in the spotlight. Again, yes, I need to read both of these, though to be fair the novel by Nic Stone will be released on October 17th.

Moxie and The Nowhere Girls are more focused on the issues of sexism and how girls are treated even within our schools during their formative years. Whether it is the dress code, or allegations of rape, or anything of that nature, we need to be bringing these issues into the spotlight. Oh, and The Nowhere Girls will be released on October 10th.

Finally there is All Rights Reserved, which is one of my top reads of 2017. It focuses a lot on issues surrounding freedom of speech, and I cannot recommend this book enough. I have my review up here, and just order yourself a copy or borrow it from the library. Please, just read these books, and then make your voice heard.

Well, that’s all for now. But, this is sort of a start for a series I’ll be running for the next few months wherein I recommend different books based on a theme or genre. Next Thursday I will be back with a LGBTQ+ Recommendations post. But I wanted to ask all of you what list you would like to see after that. Here are the options I have right now (but if you have others suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments):

  • Contemporary
  • Fantasy
  • Sci-Fi
  • Paranormal
  • Romance
  • Historical
  • Poetry
  • Memoir
  • Classics
  • Diverse
  • Graphic Novel
Books!, Inspiration, Signal Boost

Why Are Books Banned?

Hey all, Dani here.

It is Banned Books Week, and that means I’m going to have a couple of posts talking about some of these books that have been challenged and/or banned. As in, people have filed complaints suggesting that certain books be removed from libraries and/or schools for varying reasons.

Today I’m talking about those reasons, while also mentioning a few popular books that have made it on the challenge lists and banned lists in places. You may be surprised at some of these books, but then again, maybe not.

Anyway, the important part of all of this is that we need to speak out for the freedom to read and against censorship. If there is a book that has certain themes or ideas that go against your beliefs then it is your right to choose not to read them. If you are a parent and you don’t want your child to read a certain book because of what you think is contained within the pages, it is your right to make that choice for your child. What is not okay is then thinking that you need to remove the book from the shelves so that nobody can read it.

As readers we know that we have varied tastes and not all books are going to appeal to every reader. What I have experienced through all these blog posts and all the different comment conversations with so many of you, is that we are capable of accepting that someone else feels differently about a book than we do.

Which means that honestly it is up to us, as well as librarians, teachers, and other book industry professionals to speak up about the issue of banning books and to fight against those who are trying to censor what the public has access to when it comes to reading materials.

wp-image-1186756001

Here is part of an infographic taken from the American Library Association (ALA). It is a nice little word cloud that talks about some of the main reasons why people file challenges against books. I find a number of these ridiculous when you consider that a great deal of these reasonings are on the television news or brought up in TV shows or movies on a consistent basis.

Violence, profanity/offensive language, racism, nudity, death, drugs, political viewpoint, abortion, sex education, excessive police force, lgbt…these are all parts of the reality of society today. It does us no good at all to try and bury our heads in the sand or put on blinders. Ignoring the reality of the world helps nobody.

wp-image-105301839

This is from that same ALA infographic and it has a list of the top ten challenged books in the year 2016, as well as why they were challenged. As you can see LGBT content is mentioned in half of the books, and half are because they are “sexually explicit.” Then you have a book by Bill Cosby that was challenged simply because of the criminal allegations against the authors.

Here are some other books that have been challenged over the years, as well as the reason for the challenge.

  • The Holy Bible (religious viewpoint)
  • And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell (anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda”)
  • Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples (anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group)
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky (drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation”)
  • Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey (offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence)
  • The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins (religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group)
  • Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher (drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (offensive language, racism)
  • Twilight (series), by Stephenie Meyer (religious viewpoint, violence, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group)
  • The Color Purple, by Alice Walker (offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group)
  • His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman (political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, violence)
  • Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling (anti-family, occult/Satanism, religious viewpoint, violence)
  • Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck (offensive language, racism, violence)
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain (offensive language, racism)

Now, I remember discussing Banned Books during some of my library science courses, and not all that surprising is the fact that a lot of the people filing challenges about books have actually not read any of the book they are challenging. They challenge Harry Potter because the characters are witches and wizards, and they claim that the series is about the occult and Satanism, but those of us who have read the books know better.

Books like The Color PurpleTo Kill a MockingbirdOf Mice and Men, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn all detail how life was in earlier times of history, and yet people want to challenge them for offensive language and racism. The fact is that these books give us modern readers a better understanding of what life was like then. I remember in the past few years there was a big hoopla around both Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, wherein new versions were being printed. These new versions were “sanitized” by removing every instance where the word “nigger” appeared. Now I admit that I am not exactly a fan of that word, but that doesn’t mean I want to try and erase it from history or the reality of society.

Obviously, the topic of banned books is one that we need to keep bringing up, and not just during Banned Books Week. If you would like more information about this week, you can go to the ALA’s page on the topic. You can even find lists of frequently challenged books here. There are numerous resources to be found on the ALA page and I highly recommend checking all of them out.

Thanks for reading and I’ll have another Banned Books Week post up in a couple days.

Books!, Signal Boost

Banned Books Week 2017

Hey all, Dani here.

I know that it’s Sunday and I’ve been getting into a pattern of only posting on weekdays, but today’s announcement warrants a brief bonus blog post.

In just one more week we will once again be celebrating Banned Books Week. It is an annual event celebrating our freedom to read, and it is where we will talk of the hazards of censorship while raising awareness of these issues. Banned Books Week brings together all members of the bookish community, from librarians and teachers to bloggers, booksellers, publishers and readers. This year, Banned Books Week will take place from September 24th-30th

facebook1b

You can find all sorts of free downloads for social media, as well as infographics, and even a coloring page by visiting this page.

Oh, and there is a lovely store that has all sorts of Banned Books Week merchandise, from buttons and totes to shirts and posters. You can find all the goods here.

There are many resources to be found on the American Library Association’s event pages, so if you want to know more about some frequently challenged books, or find out if there are any Banned Books Week events near you, all of the details are at the ALA site, which I have linked up at the top of this post.

I am going to try and have a couple posts up next week to further discuss banned books, censorship, etc. If any of you plan to also celebrate some of these wonderful books, please let me know. I would love to check out your blogs and maybe even share some of them with my readers as well.

Let’s celebrate books, and continue to fight to protect the books that are being challenged and banned (usually for fairly absurd reasons, but I’ll discuss that in a later post).

Book Releases, Book Tag, Books!, Conventions, Cover Reveal, Inspiration, NaNoWriMo, Reading Challenge, Self-Published Books, Signal Boost, Writing

2017 Bookish Resolutions

Hey all, Dani here.

The tradition this time of year is to make a whole bunch of resolutions for your life, and with a large number of the resolutions we all only make it a couple weeks before we slack or just stop all together. That’s actually why I stopped making lifestyle resolutions like eating better, exercising more, or losing weight.

But making book related resolutions typically works out quite a bit better for me, so I’m just going to run through a few of those I’ve made for myself in 2017.

First up: reading. My initial goal is to read 75 books. I know this is an easily achievable goal, but I also know that if I manage to devour a lot of books quickly I can always increase my goal number. I’ve changed my goal the past several years. In 2016 my goal went from 75 to 100 to 130. More than that, though, I plan to participate in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon in both April and October, because I really enjoyed my experience with the readathon in 2016.

Second: blogging. I will have at least one book related blog up each week. Right now I have several bonus posts figured out thanks to some of my egalleys and ARCs, but I am really going to work to make sure that I maintain my posting schedule.

Third: vlogging. I have been watching BookTube for a while now and have thought that is something I could do myself. I love talking about books with other people. This is going to be the most difficult resolution for me though, because I am so nervous about this. Taking pictures or video of myself has never felt natural or comfortable to me, but I’m going to work through those feelings. With a bit of repetition and practice, I’m sure I’ll start getting used to filming and editing videos. So I’m going to start…soon.

Fourth: writing. This is actually an area where I really did slack in 2016. I did write on a few different things, but I didn’t finish a project or release one to the world. This needs to stop. Writing needs to be a priority in my life too. So, I will get Project Death: Revelation finished and released in the next couple of months. Then I need to get my focus onto the third book in the series. I’d like to have both Revelation and Redemption out in 2017. I guess this is also the area where I mention that I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July, and NaNoWriMo in November.

Fifth: Bookstagram. I loved being an active part of the book community on Instagram in 2016, and I’d like to keep building on that. Book photography is actually pretty relaxing and fun. So in 2017 I’d like to keep building my account, participate in at least a few monthly photo challenges, and just enjoy connecting with all my new book friends.

Sixth: Conventions. For this year I plan to be at a brand new local author event being held by my public library in March. I also am really hoping to make it to BEA and/or BookCon this year. As always, I’ll be attending Wizard World Chicago Comic Con, where I’m looking forward to seeing which authors show up, because I usually come home with a nice haul. And for right now my only author appearance at a convention will be Cincinnati Comic Expo in September; Mousai Books will be teaming up with Colorworld Books and it should be a lot of fun.

Well, I think that’s it for my bookish resolutions. That’s quite a hefty list when you look at it all together. Thanks for being a part of the first year of this blog, and I look forward to talking about bookish and nerdy things with all of you throughout 2017. It’s going to be a great year.

Books!

Banned Books Week 2016

Hey all, Dani here.

Today is the first day of Banned Books Week. It is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read, and is an event I wholeheartedly support. This year it takes place September 25-Oct 1

So many books are challenged and banned in schools and/or libraries nowadays and the sad truth is that a lot of times the adults who make the requests to remove certain materials from circulation have never even opened the book themselves.

Books are wonderful items that transport us somewhere else and often times have wonderful lessons behind them. As a massive reader I have grown close to so many characters within the pages of some of my favorite books. I journey with them, befriend them, and sometimes develop a crush on them–there are many swoon-worthy characters out there.

I love books because they help me travel to faraway places and experience people, places, and cultures I might not ever experience in person.

So when people try and take those experiences away from others, it stings. I can accept that a parent might not want their child to read a certain subject matter but other parents might not see that as an issue.

I know that my mom was very open about me reading whatever sounded interesting to me. When I was a kid I read through most of the children and juvenile sections and needed more reading material. This was before YA really grew popular as a category of books. So I needed parental permission to check out books from the adult area. My mom happily signed the permission slip, knowing that if I actually had any questions I would ask her. Even then I was in love with fantasy and science fiction.

I can admit now that there were probably some topics that I didn’t fully comprehend, particularly when it came to romance and violence, but still. Nobody tried to tell me that I wasn’t allowed to read a book because of my age or because of their personal predilections or beliefs.

Banned Books Week strives to share the harm of censorship and brings together the literary community (book readers, bloggers, teachers, librarians, BookTubers, etc) to speak out against the restrictions and removal of books available to the public.

You can learn more about Banned Books Week, including looking at lists of books that have been challenged and banned here.

Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers AssociationAmerican Library AssociationAmerican Society of Journalists and AuthorsAssociation of American Publishers;Author’s GuildComic Book Legal Defense FundDramatists Legal Defense FundFreedom to Read FoundationNational Coalition Against CensorshipNational Council of Teachers of EnglishPeople for the American WayPEN America and Project Censored.  It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.