Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday Malarkey - Arrivals and reads, drawing winner, lingering thoughts on banned books

It's Monday so it must be time for a cat lounging on a glass table.

I've opted not to get out the camera to photograph arrivals, today. This week I only received 4 books and I'm not in the mood to snap and load. Haven't double-checked the back-up, lately, so I've got over 1,000 photos on my memory card and loading takes forever. I know. Get with the program, Bookfool, check your back-up and empty the memory card. Soon, soon.

Recent Arrivals:

  • Falls Like Lightning by Shawn Grady - Ever go to a swap site thinking, "I hope I have a slot for this book because I really want to put it on my wish list," and the book is there, available for request? It's a rare and wondrous experience. That was what happened with Falls Like Lightning, which I wanted to read after finishing Tomorrow We Die by the same author. So exciting! 
  • Not My Father's Son: A Memoir by Alan Cumming - from Dey St. books for review (I forgot this one was coming)
  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson - purchased for read-along
  • Momosas: Fun, Alcohol-Free Drinks for Expecting Moms by Paul Knorr - from Sterling for review (I'm not the target audience but I don't drink alcohol, so . . . ). This is one of the two books I told you I was excited about. We're going to play with recipes, this week!

Last week's posts:

Last week's reads:

  • Lock In by John Scalzi
  • Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
  • Boxers by Gene Luen Yang
  • Saints by Gene Luen Yang
  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Currently reading:

  • Me On the Floor, Bleeding by Jenny Jagerfeld - a Swedish YA! 
  • Momosas by Paul Knorr

Just ditched:

Daring: My Passages by Gail Sheehy - When I haven't picked up a book for 3 weeks, it's time to move on. I'm not getting rid of Daring, though. I was enjoying it; I just got sidetracked. I'll return to the book when it calls to me. It's definitely a fascinating read, if only for the historical perspective.

This week:

Lord only knows what I'll get around to on the blog, this week. Since I took a little time off, considered giving up the blog and came back with a resolve to change, my reading has gone from "a bit of a drag with regular slumps," to "I am having so much fun!" It does mean there's a serious backlog of review posts but I'm just not worrying about that. I'll get to them. There will probably be a lot of mini reviews in my future. My ARC shelf has some gaps that aren't filling, even though only one of the 18 books I've read, this month, was sent to me. That's because I've plunked the latest on the piano bench. It's cheating, I know. I'm telling myself I'll read them sooner if I have to walk past them a dozen times, every day. We'll see if I'm right.

About the drawing:

Petite was the winner of the drawing for a copy of Dinosaur Farm by Frann Preston-Gannon. I haven't apparently done a drawing in at least two years because I couldn't figure out how to close comments when it was time to draw a name. So, instead, I simply removed the drawing info to keep anyone else from seeing it and trying to sign up. *shrug*  Whatever works. Thanks to those who participated! I enjoyed your jokes and haikus!

Addendum to my comments about Fallen Angels:

Kiddo came home, this weekend, so we got to talk a bit more about Fallen Angels. I said something about it being very "raw", that the dialogue was unflinchingly real and unfiltered. The soldiers talked about social diseases and sex and racism and fear. They lost their heads under stress and became more violent when they'd initially hesitated to kill, turned away from death or cried openly. Son replied, "I think that's why I loved it so much," and commented that the realism was what captured him during a time when (in my words) his world was filtered by the adults around him.

Kind of profound, the thought that it's through reading scenes that some people see as too disturbing that youngsters begin to understand the world. Maybe banning books, keeping kids in the dark about life only makes it more difficult to cope with the world when they're faced with hard truths? Especially when we read with our kids, books that challenge our comfort and beliefs can be the opening for dialogue about their questions and concerns, an avenue to helping them navigate those uncomfortable years when they're straddling youth and adulthood. That's the best reason I can think of to stop banning books. I know the last thing I wanted to do to my children was make those years more difficult.

Back to dealing with Monday.

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  1. Jeanine H.12:51 PM

    Interesting insight into banned books. I always have to confront the problem that, while I generally have disagreed with the books I've seen banned, there are probably some out there that I wouldn't want on the shelf for kids, either.

    Hate to be a hypocrite, but life, as we well know, isn't all one way or the other. Decisions come down to taste, opinion, ideology (!), etc.

    1. There have been some very bizarre challenges to books. I agree with you that the most-challenged books often perplex me. "Harry Potter might turn kids into witches," for example, is a claim I consider patently ridiculous. I always feel like drawing the attention of such people to Harry's strength of character.

      Yep, I've found some books that I think are a lot worse, content-wise, than those I've known to be banned. I just hoped my kids wouldn't read them. Had they done so, though, I would have told them why certain parts were disturbing to me. Having grown up with parents who were super-conservative and clearly talked around sensitive topics that embarrassed them, I deliberately made it clear to my kids that they could come to me to talk about anything.

      I don't think it's hypocritical to want to keep some things from our kids. And, yet, sometimes you just can't. Better to talk with them about your personal ideology and why you're on one side, the other, or fall into the gray area of indecision than to let them read hard subjects and have to figure them out entirely on their own and without injection of your beliefs (or, sometimes worse, discuss with friends who know as little as they do).

  2. I haven't received any books in a really long time. Instead, I have been hitting up the library ebooks. Of course, I don't get them before they are released but then again, I feel no pressure to read them right away which is kind of nice. I just downloaded Lock In which will be my first Scalzi book. I've heard he's pretty good so I am looking forward to it.

    1. Except the Murakami? :) I don't know if my library system even has ebooks available, yet. Our old library did not have ebooks or graphic novels (and most of the books that interested me, hence my immense personal library).

      Scalzi is brilliant but I closed Lock In thinking it was the most disappointing of his books that I've read. I've decided I'm going to go back to his earlier books, in the future. I'll be looking forward to hearing your thoughts about Lock In. Michele loved it but I'm not a big fan of mysteries, so that may have been part of my problem.


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