I really wanted to like this book, but for some reason I couldn’t even finish it. I’ll try to be honest in my review below, but I do encourage you to try and read it if it’s been of interest to you.
So over the weekend I went to my third (and probably final) BookCon. For those who aren’t aware, BookCon is a yearly convention for book readers to go and meet their favorite authors, find some new great reads, and even find some new bookish friends.
A little side note: I didn’t know that Christina Lauren was two people! This was such a well written book knowing that two people contributed to the story. I kept trying to think about how they each contributed to both. Other books I’ve read written by two authors usually have two main voices. For this one, it was so consistent that you can’t even tell.
I was so excited to read Mary Ting’s newest book ISAN (International Sensory Assassins Network) because it’s been a while since I read a good dystopian YA. I also loved the idea of women assassins kicking butt and taking names. It was a great read and I can’t wait to chat more about it.
Oh my goodness, let me tell you about a 2017 Goodreads Award nomination that just blew me away. I can’t believe there isn’t more buzz around this book because it surprised me so hard. Dang.
Hi everyone! Welcome to my blog and the Master Assassins Blog Tour! I’m Simone of Simone and Her Books and I’ll be sharing my review of this wonderful new series.
Let’s get right into it!
Today, I’d like to highlight one of my favorite authors: Toni Morrison.
Toni Morrison’s work to me has been these haunting tales of loneliness, sacrifice, desperation, and turmoil. Set during some of the most difficult times for black Americans, Toni Morrison has this incredible way of making you feel and understand what it must have been like for black and African American people. You’re transported there and you gain more consciousness.
And obviously, her works have been banned or challenged.
I absolutely love banned books week. I think it’s because I’m a perpetual questioner of the rules of engagement. I always have to test things out for myself and go against what the popular thinking is. I blame my mother, who has been subversive my entire life.
But I love banned books week and I love checking out all the books that have now been banned. Can you imagine in 2017 books are still being banned because they have themes like homosexuality, teenage girls getting pregnant, drug abuse, mental illness, and…magic?!
I’ve been going through the list of books and there are so many favorite authors where everything they write is banned or challenged. Toni Morrison happens to be one of them where most of her books have been challenged or banned in some way.
I thought to myself what must authors think to see every single book they’ve written is challenged or banned?
In my mind, I hope it’s a state of pride. I imagine them puffing their chest and standing very tall knowing that they challenge something for people. They make adults uncomfortable. Their books are deemed inappropriate even if they’re written for children. And not just one book. All of their books.
Authors like JK Rowling who’s books were deemed too magical and magic is some form of satanism so that’s bad. John Green’s books are also banned or challenged too. It’s probably all those kids dying of cancer and falling in love in the final days of their lives. Who knows?
It must give them a sense of pride to know their books challenge the way people think.
And if they aren’t proud, they should be. We’re creating a world where what we say can influence what other people think. It’s a massive form of power and while not every book needs to hone that power in, those who have been judged and misunderstood should continue to do what they do.
Keep pushing the envelope and talking about those taboo topics people are so keen on sweeping under the rug. It’s important to the kids in the world and the adults who are interested to know that someone is speaking up.
Be proud of your work! Be proud to be banned or challenging. Continue to challenge the social norms of this country or your country and hopefully we’ll be all proud to say they’re not longer challenged or banned books.
Happy Banned Books Week and it’s going to be a good one.
This year’s theme is “the freedom to read,” which feels oddly relevant given that everyone has been talking about. Censorship is always around us telling us what to do and what to think and how to say things. It’s the faceless folks that tell us that something is too edgy and pushes the envelope. It’s the inability to discern for yourself if something is good or bad for you. It’s the fodder for amazing books that make you think for yourself and that’s a wonderful feeling (as long as you can cope with the anxiety).
On Instagram each day this week, I’ll be posting a book that’s been consistently banned or challenged in the past. While I’ll be highlighting one book, they’re representative of the many books in that genre that undergo scrutiny everyday. I know that the people who make these decisions aren’t doing it to harm young readers. In fact, they would argue that they are protecting them from it.
The choice for children to stay children, but sometimes you have to understand that children grow up. When they grow up without exposure to these banned and challenged books, then they face a world where it isn’t friendly and it isn’t kind and what they think could possibly be more dangerous than helpful.
Of course, I come prepared with an infograph from the American Library Association website on who these big whigs tend to be:
Freedom should be celebrated. We do it every year in July where we remember our fore fathers who came to this country to free themselves from the censorship and persecution. We can pray to whatever God we want, but we can’t read books? Bit of a double standard.
So let’s celebrate our freedom to read! We’re one of many countries that allow it, but I do want to remind people that that’s not the case for a lot of people and still a concern for us as a country. So let’s ring those bells of freedom and get to reading.
If you’d like to participate in Banned Books Week with me, here’s some ways you can easily join in!
1. Read and share a banned book
While for some people this is easy as pie, for others it might not be that easy. It could be because their families don’t like it when you read these kinds of books or it could be because you don’t know what books are on the banned books list.
If you’d like to read a book that’s been banned or challenged in the past, check out this comprehensive list of books provided by the American Library Association.
The most important part about this one is to share those reads. If you learn anything from the book you choose or if it opens your eyes in ways you didn’t think it would, then share that love! Books aren’t meant to be stuck on a shelf and kept to yourself. They’re like living and breathing animals that need to let go and available for someone else. Don’t let what you’ve learned only stick with you.
2. Donate to ACLU or to ALA
While you may not be a reader, reading is considered one of the many freedoms protected by our first amendment. If you believe that we should have the freedom to read or even the freedom of speech, then donate whatever you can to the American Civil Liberties Union.
ACLU is doing everything they can to ensure that we, as a people, continue to speak freely, practice religion without any issues, and always always read books that may make you look at your world a little bit differently.
If you’re not into civil liberties, then perhaps you’ll be into reading books. The American Library Association is also always taking donations to help with keeping libraries across America open. If you ever complained that you don’t have enough money for books, then obviously you haven’t been to a library. Free books! All you need is a plastic laminated card.
3. Share with the bookish community
I emphasized this once, but I’ll emphasize this again. We should all be sharing our love of books with each other. It’s so important to share especially when it’s considered a community. Don’t be afraid to read your books and don’t be afraid to talk about them.
I hope that we’re loving and open enough to accept anyone and their beliefs. The only way our community will be able to make a difference is to share these reads and be empathetic to those who don’t want to read them and hope that they will.
Don’t keep your books locked up on a bookshelf. These may be yours, but the written words are for everyone. Buy another copy of your favorite banned book and leave it on the train or in the park. Donate your old copies of banned books to the local library. Books are physical copies of an amazing journey and you can always take that journey again. Let’s let someone else walk down that path for the first time.
I love love. I love reading about love and reading about how people get together. I'm a huge fan of romantic comedies and dramas about love and I just love love.
But lately, I've been coming across more and more books not about love, but the struggle being in love brings. What's the worst thing that can happen to love? It can die and you get a divorce.
The other day, I was having a conversation with a bookish friend and we were discussing how so many novels these days are like little time bombs of tragic romances. "I have to be careful with what I read because I don't think I can read another sad love story."
Being a newlywed, it's not that inspiring to read so many books about failed love. And you know what it is that they all failed at? Communicating with each other.
Books after book, tome after tome, of sad love stories where people used to love each other and become exceptional at hating each other until eventually some tragedy breaks them apart. There's also the topic of bored love; people who are together but you just ask yourself "why?" the entire time you're reading.
It's almost every single literary fiction novel I pick up that starts off with a cute couple trying to make it and ends up with breaking up. Is that what I should look forward to? Is that what happens with love?
Of course, I'm being completely joking about my dislike for these books, but I will say this. Authors, you need to get it together.
Here's my top five list of recently published books to make you wonder where all of this is going:
- Fates and Furiesby Lauren Groff
- Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller
- Next Year, For Sure by Zoey Leigh Peterson
- Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
- Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
I recently received some lovely book mail and I couldn’t be more excited about them. Two debut novels from two new authors means that the world is filling up with more beautiful words and stories for us to read and enjoy.
Flesh and Bone and Water by Luiza Sauma
Published by Scriber Books. André is a listless Brazilian teenager and the son of a successful plastic surgeon who lives a life of wealth and privilege, shuttling between the hot sands of Ipanema beach and his family’s luxurious penthouse apartment. In 1985, when he is just sixteen, André’s mother is killed in a car accident. Clouded with grief, André, his younger brother Thiago, and his father travel with their domestic help to Belem, a jungle city on the mouth of the Amazon, where the intense heat of the rain forest only serves to heighten their volatile emotions. After they arrive back in Rio, André’s father loses himself in his work, while André spends his evenings in the family apartment with Luana, the beautiful daughter of the family’s maid.
Three decades later, and now a successful surgeon himself, André is a middle-aged father, living in London, and recently separated from his British wife. He drinks too much wine and is plagued by recurring dreams. One day he receives an unexpected letter from Luana, which begins to reveal the other side of their story, a story André has long repressed.
Everything Belongs to Us by Yoojin Grace Wuertz
Published by Random House. Seoul, 1978. At South Korea’s top university, the nation’s best and brightest compete to join the professional elite of an authoritarian regime. Success could lead to a life of rarefied privilege and wealth; failure means being left irrevocably behind.
For childhood friends Jisun and Namin, the stakes couldn’t be more different. Jisun, the daughter of a powerful business mogul, grew up on a mountainside estate with lush gardens and a dedicated chauffeur. Namin’s parents run a tented food cart from dawn to curfew. Her sister works in a shoe factory. Now Jisun wants as little to do with her father’s world as possible, abandoning her schoolwork in favor of the underground activist movement, while Namin studies tirelessly in the service of one goal: to launch herself and her family out of poverty.
But everything changes when Jisun and Namin meet an ambitious, charming student named Sunam, whose need to please his family has led him to a prestigious club: the Circle. Under the influence of his mentor, Juno, a manipulative social climber, Sunam becomes entangled with both women, as they all make choices that will change their lives forever.
I think I’m set for the rest of summer 🙂