Friday, September 30, 2011

September Check up.

As we approach the December 31 deadline for all these Challenges, I thought a monthly check up would be a good idea! So, look forward to September, October, November and December check ups! And hopefully those bars on the side will be more green then empty ... 


So, here we are - 9th month of the year ... and this is what it comes down to in my Blog World: 
What have I read this year? Though reproduced on the side, here it is:
2011 So far ...
  • "Teeth: Vampire Tales"
  • Beaudoin, Sean "Fade to Blue"
  • Black, Holly "Red Glove"
  • Black, Holly "Tithe"
  • Black, Holly "White Cat"
  • Brown, Carolyn "I love this Bar"
  • Caine, Rachel "Midnight Alley"
  • Caine, Rachel "The Dead Girl's Dance"
  • Carriger, Gail "Changeless"
  • Carriger, Gail "Soulless"
  • Coben, Harlan "The Woods"
  • Daniels, B.J. "Smokin' Six Shooter"
  • Dekker, Ted "Boneman's Daughters"
  • Dodd, Christina "Storm of Visions"
  • Dodd, Christina "The Barefoot Princess"
  • Fforde, Jasper "First Among Sequels"
  • Garcia, Kami & Stohl, Margaret "Beautiful Creatures"
  • Graham, Jo "Black Ships"
  • Haddon, Mark "The Incident with the Dog in the Night"
  • Haig, Matt "The Radleys"
  • Harkness, Deborah "A Discovery of Witches"
  • Hockensmith, Steve "PPZ: Dreadfully Ever After"
  • Howe, Katherine "The Physik Book of Deliverance Dane"
  • James, P.D. "Death in Holy Orders"
  • James, Syrie "Dracula, My Love"
  • Kate, Lauren "Fallen"
  • King, Stephen "Under the Dome"
  • Kinsella, Sophie "Can You Keep a Secret?"
  • Lanagan, Margo "Tender Morsels"
  • Larsson, Steig "The Girl Who Played with Fire"
  • Lore, Pittacus "I am Number Four"
  • Mabury, Jonathan "Rot & Ruin"
  • Maguire, Gregory "Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister"
  • Marr, Melissa "Graveminder"
  • McCann, Lisa "Cryer's Cross"
  • Medeiros, Teresa "Some Like it Wicked"
  • Medeiros, Teresa "Some Like it Wild"
  • Moody, David "Dog Blood"
  • Pearce, Jackson "Sisters Red"
  • Priest, Cherie "Blood Shot"
  • Rich, Roberta "The Midwife of Venice"
  • Robbards, KAren "Green Eyes"
  • Ryan, Carrie "The Dead-Tossed Waves"
  • Steifvater, Maggie "Forever"
  • Willig, Lauren "The Masque of the Black Tulip"
  • Young, Sam "Lunarmorte"
So total so far: 46
Reviews: 46 (all have been written, and they are scheduled to be posted Monday to Thursday)
Comparison to Last year: I read 53 books by September 9, 2010.

And here are my Challenges and where I am at, in said Challenges:

Historical Challenge
Status: Complete 
Comments: This was way too easy for me … I read a lot of historicals apparently. It’s funny though – I started off, very young with Historicals since, at the time, the contemporary set aimed at Young Adults were severely lacking – with the exception of Caroline B. Cooney and L.J. Smith. So I ate up the Historicals. And when I was ten or so and transferred to more adult books (while still marinating my YA favourites), I transferred to historical romances and the classics. Then for a long time,  I switched to predominantly contemporary. It seems as though I am back at Historicals … Strange, but welcome.

Dystopia Challenge
Status: 5/15
Comments: This surprises me. Like a lot. I mean – only a third of the challenge has been met and it is, by far, currently my favourite type of genre.  Especially where it concerns Zombies. Anyways, I do have a few lined up to review soon – The Dark and Hollow Places, Z, and such. But not 10 of them … I better hit the book stores soon …

Shifter Challenge
Status: 9/20
Comments: I love Shifters – no really, I do. A good werewolf story will make me punch my fist in the air and howl! I love the original werewolf movies – Like the Wolfman and the Howling (especially the Howling), and the new ones that breathed life back into the genre – like (and especially) Gingersnaps. I even write about them (since high school, no lie). But for some reason, my reading of late has been pretty Shifter-light. I don’t know what to think of this, except that I am drowning under piles of books to be read, and grabbing at them randomly. My goal is to have this number up to 15 by October! Wish me luck!

Vampire Challenge
Status: 9/20
Comments: Yes, Vampires are everywhere of late. And yes, even though that is the case, I seem to be woefully behind on my Vamp reading … Yikes. And I had such a good Vampire year last year – With the Vampire Academy series, the start of Morganville and a few others. This year I continued on with Morganville – and I have all the books now, up to Book 9, so I can increase this number by 6 (yay!). I also have Cherie Priest’s second Cheshire Red book to get my hands on. And Bloodlines! Must read that! So my goal for October in this Challenge is to get it to 15. Go me! J

Zombie Challenge
Status: 4/12
Comments: Like the Dystopia Challenge – this surprises me. I love me some Zombie action – I was the girl who was jumping up and down the whole end of summer early fall of 2010 when it was announced that The Walking Dead would be a miniseries on AMC. I am the girl with an extensive Z-movie collection that includes such gems as Boy Eats Girl and The Horde – European Zombie movies barely heard of this side of the Atlantic! I am the girl who screamed – literally, in the middle of Indigo, so embarrassing – when I saw the cover for Pride, Prejudice and Zombies. And I am the girl who got her Russian, no nonsense Roommate with a heart of gold to run out on a cold October night to walk with the Dead downtown for the Windsor Zombie Walk 2010. How is it that I am only a third of the way through this challenge? I am ashamed … on the bright side, however – I still have to review Zombies vs. Unicorns, Z, and a few others – just need the time … so hopefully by October, this will be a Challenge in the bag!

Morbid Romantica Challenge
Status: Complete
Comments: This was a very unique challenge and I really enjoyed it … but I should have taken more then 1 book a month. I should have made that number higher. Why? Well dear Readers, this challenge had so many categories to choose from! And they were all great! And so … next year, I am upping this challenge exponentially.

Off the Shelf 
Status: 20/75
Comments: Yeah, I suck. In my defense, I did a lot of driving, and most of my books were audio, which I only started to purchase last November. So, my Off The Shelf books have been kind of hanging in that balance. I did however, clear out my book shelves and pile up (into Fort formation, of course) the oldest on my shelf and plan to tackle them soon! I’m looking at you, Mr. Strange & Dr. Norrel … My Goal for October in this Challenge is to hit 35. We’ll see if it’s doable J

And there you have it!  …. I better get reading! :

How are your challenges going?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Banned Book Week.

“To celebrate Banned Book Week, maybe we should burn the unbanned books so they know what it feels like!”
Friend E on my FB status yesterday. 


Book Banning.

It creeps me out even to say it. Or type it, as the case were. It is so unliberating, so paternalistic and close minded –so protective in such a closed off way. It’s terrifying. To think that radical groups of people have the power to restrict access to ideas by the virtue of their own belief that what they are doing is moral and proper? That they occupy higher moral grounds whereby, their opinion on things, like books, matters more than others? And this in the twenty first century. Like we didn’t go through all the awful things in the past millennia.


There are too many words to express my frustration, but none that can do justice to the swelling sadness I have whenever I hear that another parent’s council has banned a book based on indecency – anything from references to premarital (or, extra marital) sexual relations, to positing homosexuality as anything other than demonized,  to violence and language – as if sugar coating a story would automatically make it a good story.

You may remember my rant on Teen Fiction with sex (and how I cannot wrap my head around “protecting” sensitive, overly impressionable young minds from sex – because, like, it’s not a natural thing or anything, that they may want to know about. No. It’s evil. At the very least improper and …oh, forget it, even my sarcasm is angry.) where I tried to argue that the lack of sex in a story for the sole purpose that it wasn’t decent for young minds was a form of censorship. Now, if that is – can we imagine how bad book banning is?

One of my teachers, back in the sixth grade, equated book burnings with those people who were too afraid to open their own minds – so in desperation, they attempted to get rid of that which frightened them – at least, in its symbolic form. They were scared of their own sexuality – so they burned Alice in Wonderland, claiming that it represented female sexuality (you know, that very dangerous thing) and was warping the minds of readers. They refused to acknowledge their own racism, and so they banned To Kill a Mockingbird, preferring to wallow in their own hidden shame, than face it down and make a difference in the world. And the list goes on.

It’s a long list. Some people may be surprised as to what’s on it.

Here are a few examples: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Catch-22, Catcher and the Rye, Fahrenheit 451, Flowers in the Attic, Grapes of Wrath, Lolita, Lord of the Flies, Lysistrata, The Color Purple, Beloved

Books we consider “Classics”, books that have just come out, books that deal with a myriad of issues on a myriad of platforms – books that have value.  That share ideas with the world. And yet, all have been banned or challenged, mainly due to the ignorance of those who think they’re acting for the best, but in reality are punishing the world for being, themselves, too afraid to examine their own insecurities.

Banned Book Week (and month) for me is a practice in learning: it is a chance to inform the world of what we all secretly know – this is wrong. And to have it mill about the twenty first century is a sad observation of our own humanity.

And it’s a hope: it will one day be possible, I hope, to look back and wonder why Banned Book Week was necessary. That the banning and burning of books will be a sad long lost idiosyncrasy of a more fearful time of humanity.  

Fingers Crossed .