Welcome to Banned Books Week!

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

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:

who20challenges20books201_0

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.

2016 Thanksgiving Reads

1448298245-1448298245_goodreads_misc

I’m super excited about this week because:

  1. I only have to work three days because of the holiday
  2. I love Thanksgiving and all the fruits of that labor
  3. I have time to READ

And with that, I put together some Thanksgiving reads to enjoy while breaking bread with your family and friends. While some of these books you could probably read within the weekend, there are some that might take some time.

103575751Q84 by Haruki Murakami – So you might be thinking that it’s nuts to try and read this three-book series within the weekend. Well, I’ve got a little history with this book and trying to read it through Thanksgiving weekend. I couldn’t do it. In fact, it took me through the middle of January to finish this book because it’s so crazy. However, if you’ve been wanting to start this one and make it your commitment for the rest of the Holiday season, this might be the best one for you.

A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s — 1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.

2998The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – I love this book. I love this movie. And even though it’s not really the best time of season to read it, The Secret Garden will always have a place in my heart during the holidays.

I think it has something to do with taking the dead earth and bringing something of life to it. It really warms the heart and makes me happy to read time and time again.

When orphaned Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle’s great house on the Yorkshire Moors, she finds it full of secrets. The mansion has nearly one hundred rooms, and her uncle keeps himself locked up. And at night, she hears the sound of crying down one of the long corridors.

The gardens surrounding the large property are Mary’s only escape. Then, Mary discovers a secret garden, surrounded by walls and locked with a missing key. One day, with the help of two unexpected companions, she discovers a way in. Is everything in the garden dead, or can Mary bring it back to life?

10964Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – Yes, another big read but totally worth it. I don’t know why this is a favorite of mine for the Fall, but I think it has something to do with the cold months in Scotland wearing only a kilt and keeping warm by having sex. Or it might be because the first part of the story takes place in 1945 and for some reason I always correlate WWII with the Fall. If you’re interested in historical fiction and a little sexiness, then this will definitely keep you warm at night.

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

3Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling – Duh, nothing says the Fall and Thanksgiving like Harry Potter. While the books take place all year round, I think it’s because the movies were always released in the Fall and around Thanksgiving that it makes it a Fall read. This goes doubly for The Sorcerer’s Stone since it seems like the least wrought with anguish and pain (and that’s just something I don’t tolerate during the cold months). It’s a great re-read and a great time to also start up the novel if you’ve never read them before. I highly recommend.

Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

What are you reading this Thanksgiving?

Comic-Con “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” Trailer

Not only am I super excited about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but this is the first time we see a muggle along for the ride. That means that every emotion and imagination and dream we’ve ever had about the Wizarding World will be encapsulated in this one character. I’m so excited about this I might squeal.

tumblr_inline_ob6pjp8mzl1u7ml8a_500

Look at that face! That’s the face of every single Harry Potter fan known to the human race.