The Hobbit Book .vs. The Hobbit Films

The HObbit vsAs a writer, a lover of books, and a lover of films, one of the things I always take special notice of films adapted from books. Sometimes they turn out great, absolutely amazing (see: The Fault in Our Stars)! Other times… well, other times we don’t talk about it.

Today though, we are going to talk about it, it being The Hobbit. I actually really enjoyed The Hobbit films and I absolutely love the book. If I’m being honest, the movies actually made the book more enjoyable for me because I could picture the characters in my head (which is helpful when twelve of the characters are dwarves with similar names!).

But I’m not here to go on about how amazing the book was or how fantastic the films are, those things will be written in my individual reviews of them. I’m here to talk the differences between the films and the book.

Well, the first and probably most obvious difference is that there is ONE book and THREE films. Why? Some people say it was a money grab, that Peter Jackson was just milking the film to be like Lord of the Rings. Personally, I think it’s because Jackson knew it would make a better trilogy than trying to squeeze everything into one, two-hour film. I mean, I can’t even imagine Bilbo leaving the Shire at the start of the film and somehow they pack everything into two hours so that they can reach the Battle at the end. Not possible.

The next difference, and probably one that stands out most in my mind, is Tauriel. She was not in the book at all. Peter Jackson included her because this is the 21st century and you can’t release a major film series that has no strong, female characters. Admittedly, her being a strong, female character was overshadowed a little bit when they stuck her in a love triangle, but hey, more on that when I review the second film.

Tauriel

The barrel scene in the film is also completely different from in the book. In the film we see the dwarves and Bilbo escape in the barrels and drift down the river. In the process Kili gets injured and this leads into a whole new storyline. Does this happen in the books? Well… sort of. They do escape in barrels, but the barrels are sealed and the elves actually deliver them themselves without ever knowing it.

*Slow clap for the Elves of Mirkwood*

Legolas, Elrond, Radagast, and Galadriel are not in the book at all, but all play quite a large role the films. Everyone who’s seen Lord of the Rings knows who Legolas, Elrond, and Galadriel are, but I doubt most people who read The Hobbit were expecting to see them in the films. As for Radagast, he was hardly even mentioned in the books, but played quite a large role in the films.

Finally, Azog is dead in the books. No really. One of the main antagonists of the entire trilogy does not exist in the books.

Whaat

Right? I was so confused when I realized this. Bolg, Azog’s second-in-command is the leader in the book, Azog was killed over a hundred years before the events in the book take place!

Now, these aren’t the only differences between the book and the films, and there are more lists out there just like this one. However, despite these changes, I genuinely enjoyed the book and the films. I like them for different things and in different ways, as I usually do with books and movies, but I still like them nonetheless.

Have you read The Hobbit? Seen the films? What did you think? Was there anything that stuck out in your mind?

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The Meaning of Matthew, Judy Shepard

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A biography written by Judy Shepard, The Meaning of Matthew, is a story that will move you to tears and to action.

Matthew Shepard was twenty-one years old when he was beaten and left for dead, tied to a fence in Laramie, Wyoming. He died October 12th, 1998. But why did this happen? Why was this twenty-one year old college student attacked by two other men? Matthew Shepard was gay. But he was so much more than that. He was a son, a brother, and a friend. Judy Shepard’s book shares the life of her son before he became known to the world. From colicky baby to restless teenager, Judy Shepard recalls moments in her family’s life not previously shared with the rest of the world.

I have read this book several times and each time is like the first. The wide range of emotions when reading this book is so unbelievable and as a reader it is almost impossible to understand what Matthew’s family was feeling. It is a small glimpse into their life that makes you want to take action. Reading about their life before everything happened, to the night they got that phone call, to the trial of Matthew’s attackers, you can’t help but want to do something about the injustice of it when you read this book. And that is exactly what Matthew’s family has done. LGBT+ Activists, they have been fighting for equality and trying to make the world a safer place for people before what happened to their son happens to someone else. This includes trying to pass a bill for The Matthew Shepard Act which you can read more about here.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone, even those who don’t typically read biographies. It is one of those books that, even if it’s not normally what would appeal to you, I feel it’s important for people to read this. It is a story that needs to be shared to prevent it from happening again.

You can read more about Matthew Shepard here.

You can also check out The Trevor Project if you’re an LGBT+ youth and struggling with anything

Have you read The Meaning of Matthew? Have you ever read a book that moved you to take action?

I would also like to give a huge congratulations to the state of Wyoming for becoming the most recent state to legalize gay marriage!

Buy The Meaning of Matthew on Amazon

 

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Banned Books Week

0800070c64a8a824cd500d0074b6b0dfBanned Books Week! What is it? Why does it happen? Who started it? What are the most commonly banned books and why are they banned? These are questions I had when I first heard about Banned Books Week and today I’m going to answer these questions.

What is Banned Books Week?

Banned Books Week is a campaign of awareness that takes place in the last full week of September and is meant to bring attention to banned and censored books.

Why does Banned Books Week Happen?

Banned Books Week happens because of all the literary works that have been banned and censored over time. It is a campaign sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and is used to celebrate people’s freedom to read what they like. Over the course of this week people are encouraged to speak out about these books and speak out about the freedom to read in libraries and in schools.

Who started it?

Banned Books Week was started in 1982 and was co-founded by Judith Krug, an American librarian. She was a huge supporter of freedom of speech and spoke out against censorship.

What are the most commonly banned books and why are they banned?

The ALA releases a list every year of the most reported books for that year. Between 2000 and 2009 they said there were, “1,577 challenges due to ‘sexually explicit’ material [and] 1,291 challenges due to ‘offensive language’.” For the full list of reports you can see the list here.

As for the most banned books, it’s a little difficult to find out which these are as every website seems to list different ones. However, there are some titles that seem to stick out on more than one list. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, and Animal Farm by George Orwell are just a few. For a longer list you can check out the ALA Website or my post from earlier this week.

And why are they banned? There’s various reasons. From sexual content to profane language; from violence to homosexuality. These books are banned and censored for a wide variety of reasons, and I’m going to say the same thing I’ve said all week and that many others have said before me. If you don’t want to read the book, don’t read it, but don’t prevent other from doing the same.

What do you think? Should we still have a Banned Books Week?

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And Tango Makes Three: The Story of Roy and Silo

And Tango Makes ThreeYesterday I mentioned briefly in my post what And Tango Makes Three is about. Today I decided to tell you the full story.

And Tango Makes Three is based on the true story of two Chinstrap Penguins, Roy and Silo, in a New York Zoo. In 1998, one of the staff at the zoo noticed the two penguins performing mating rituals. A year later, staff reported that the two penguins seemed to be attempting to hatch a rock as though it were an egg. This prompted zoo keepers to give the pair an egg, an extra egg that had been taken from a pair of penguins unable to hatch it (it is reported that this pair had trouble hatching eggs in the past too). Roy and Silo took care of the egg and when it hatched zoo keepers named the baby female Tango.

When Tango herself reached maturity, she ended up mating with another female penguin named Tanuzi, The last report I was able to find stated that Tango and Tanuzi were still together in 2005 and had been together for two mating seasons. However, 2005 was not a good year for Roy and Silo. Zoo keepers reported that the pair were forced out of their nest by a more aggressive couple and Silo then found himself a new mate, a female penguin named Scrappy. I don’t know where Roy and Silo are today, though in 2012 it was believed they were still alive and residing in Central Park Zoo, both would be around 27 years old now.

Roy and Silo reached fame when an article in 2004 reported on them and two other pairs of penguins and referred to them as “gay penguins”. Their story was detailed in Justin Richardson’s and Peter Parnell’s children’s book, And Tango Makes Three, as well as in the 2005 film, March of the Penguins. When Roy and Silo broke up there was quite a lot of controversy surrounding it and many organizations against homosexuality said that this proved a lot of their points. However, it has been discovered that same-sex pairings amongst penguins is actually incredibly common, but don’t usually last more than a few years.

So there you have it, the story of Roy, Silo, and Tango. In my opinion, it’s a lot of controversy for an incredibly common act amongst penguins. The book received a lot of flak for depicting homosexuality to children. Personally, I love the book. I think it’s wonderful story for children and I don’t think the fact that it’s two male penguins would really make any difference to any of the kids reading it. Like I said yesterday, if certain people don’t want their children read it, then don’t read it. However, I don’t think these people should be able to decide whether or not everyone reads it.

Roy and SiloYou can read more about Roy and Silo here.

What do you think? Should And Tango Makes Three be banned?

Buy And Tango Makes Three on Amazon

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Twenty Banned Books You Should Definitely Read

45eab7085491bf8d2d50f622c61e9fd6It’s Banned Books Week! To celebrate, here’s a list of twenty books that have been banned/censored for one reason or another!

I apologize for the weird formatting! It was fine in preview and then I published and it went all wonky and this was the only way it finally looked somewhat normal and readable. I tried everything I could think of it, but it wasn’t cooperating.

1) And Tango Make Three, Justin Richardson
And Tango Makes Three

And Tango Makes Three is a picture book based on a true story about two penguins, Roy and Silo, in the a Central Park Zoo who were given an egg to raise. The catch? Both penguins were male and this caused some issues who felt the homosexuality (even amongst penguins) was not appropriate for the readers. You can find out more about this wonderful book and the story behind it here.

Buy And Tango Makes Three on Amazon


2) Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter

Harry Potter is widely popular series all around the world and has been read by millions of people. However, that didn’t stop the controversy surrounding this book by people who believed these novels contained black magic.


Buy Harry Potter on Amazon


3) To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird is a story that explores racism and discrimination through the perspective of a young girl who grows up and realizes how unfair things are. This book has been banned and censored due to the profane language and adult themes (one of the main plot points of the novel is man accused of a rape he didn’t commit).

Buy To Kill a Mockingbird on Amazon


4) Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell
E&P

A young adult novel that follows to misfit teenagers as they fall in love over a mutual liking for music and comics. Sounds like a really great young adult novel, but some people had issue with the book due to the profanity, some sexual language, and some have even called the book pornographic. Rainbow Rowell was actually asked what she thought about this and you can read the full interview here.

Buy Eleanor and Park on Amazon


5) On the Road, Jack Kerouac
On the Road

On the Road is a novel based on the cross-America adventures of Kerouac and his friends. It’s a novel said to have defined the Beat Generation. So what could possibly be wrong with it? It’s a novel that defined an entire generation! Well, apparently when you combine “[profanity, misogynistic men, and immoral women]” it doesn’t matter what you define.

Buy On the Road on Amazon


6) A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange follows teenager, Alex, as he goes from violent youth to prisoner of a state determined to reform him. This book was banned from several schools due to so called “objectionable language”. A man was even arrested (not charged) for selling the book. Now, I haven’t read the novel yet, but I have seen the film and I’m not going to lie, I can understand why some people would have issue with this book (not enough to ban it, but still). It turns out that most of the controversy surrounding this book didn’t actually start until after the film came out.

Buy A Clockwork Orange on Amazon


7) Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

Fahrenhait 451

The novel takes places in a futuristic-America where books have been declared illegal and are burned when found. People have fought at different times to have this book banned due to the profane language (one school even blacked out all the words it declared as “obscene”). Pretty ironic when you think about.

Buy Fahrenheit 451 on Amazon


8) Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson
Bridge Terabithia

This book is kind of similar to Eleanor and Park in the sense that it follows to lonely kids who become friends. However, unlike Eleanor and Park, Bridge to Terabithia ends with the death of a character. As this is a children’s book, this ends up being an introduction to death for many children. This caused some issues for parents because apparently they felt their kids were too young to know about death.

Buy Bridge to Terabithia on Amazon


9) Lord of the Flies, William Golding
Lord of the Flies


Lord of the Flies
is about a group of children who become stranded on an island and it really shows how quickly things can fall apart when there are no rules. Without anyone to dictate right and wrong, the children take it into their own hands. This book faced controversy due to the profanity and violence depicted by the children.

Buy Lord of the Flies on Amazon


10) Moby Dick, Herman Melville
Moby Dick


Moby Dick
follows a sailor who boards the ship of Captain Ahab, a man bent on getting revenge against Moby Dick, a whale who is the cause behind Ahab’s lost leg. I did a lot of research on this book why it was banned and all I could find was that it was banned from a school in Texas because it “conflicted with their community values”, but I can’t find what those values are.

Buy Moby Dick on Amazon


11) The Diary of Anne Frank, Anne Frank
Diary of Anne Frank

Most people know who Anne Frank is. A young girl who hid for two years with her family while the Nazis occupied the Netherlands. This book was censored and banned in several schools due to sexual and inappropriate content. I’ve read this book and think it’s brilliant and moving and more truthful than anything I’ve ever read. And that’s because that’s exactly what it is. It’s a diary, it’s honest and truthful because it’s true.

Buy The Diary of Anne Frank on Amazon


12) Looking for Alaska, John Green
Looking for Alaska

This young adult novel follows a boy who heads to boarding school to discover new things and leave behind his safe haven. This book has been banned in some school due to being “pornographic”. You can see John Green’s reaction to this statement in his vlogbrothers video.

Buy Looking for Alaska on Amazon


13) The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye
J.D. Salinger’s novel is told from the perspective of protagonist, Holden Caulfield, who has become a sort of teenage icon for younger readers as he is surprising easy to relate to. This book deals with things such as angst, identity, and alienation. However, it is often censored from schools due to being obscene and undermining morality.
Buy The Catcher in Rye on Amazon


14) The Giver, Lois Lowry

The Giver

Set in a dystopian society, this story follows thirteen year old Jonas who lives in a place where everyone has converted to “Sameness” so as to remove pain from their lives, though no one remembers this. Jonas discovers the state of their society and struggles to figure out what to do. This book has been banned for various reasons, from profanity to sexuality to violence.

Buy The Giver on Amazon


15) Alice‘s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll
Alice in Wonderland


Alice in Wonderland
follows a young girl as she enters, you guessed it, Wonderland. Once there she meets an assortment of characters, from The Mad Hatter to The Queen of Hearts and encounters all sorts of crazy adventures. This book was once banned in China for depicting animals as being as smart as humans.
Buy Alice in Wonderland on Amazon


16) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

This book is set in a psychiatric hospital and through the eyes of the narrator, Bromden, we see the antics caused by another patient, Randle Patrick McMurphy. A brilliant novel that examines institutions like this as well as the various behaviours of people, this novel is actually one of the most highly banned. Some have said it is pornographic or too violent, while others have just called the book garbage.

Buy One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest on Amazon


17) Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson
Speak
Told from the perspective of Melinda Sordino, a student who has been outcast by others after she called the police on a party. It is not initially revealed why she called the police, except the incident has caused her to stop speaking, communicating with others through art instead. This book has been banned due to be being considered pornographic.
Buy Speak on Amazon


18) The Color Purple, Alice Walker
The Color Purple

This story follows the life of coloured women in Georgia and examines issues like them being considered lesser in society. This book has been banned and censored for being sexually explicit and containing homosexuality and profane language.

Buy The Color Purple on Amazon


19) The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein
The Giving Tree

A children’s picture book that depicts a friendship between a boy and a tree. It sounds really simple and I’m not going to lie, I don’t see how anyone could find something wrong with this book to ban it. However, the book has been called sexist and the young boy “predatory” because the boy takes from the tree, but never gives back. You can read more about this here.
Buy The Giving Tree on Amazon


20) Howl, Allen Ginsberg
Howl

Howl is a poem by Allen Ginsberg and has been called a great piece of literature in America. Like On the Road, it is related back to Beat Generation (Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac were actually friends. One of the characters in Kerouac’s novel, is based on Ginsberg). This book received a lot of controversy due to the fowl language and sexual nature contained in the poem. You can see the entire depiction of the trial in the film adaptation of Howl starring James Franco.

Buy Howl on Amazon

All the books on this list and the information related to them were found on Buzzfeed, Goodreads, and Banned Books Week. This was obviously a very short list and definitely does not contain all the books that have been banned or censored. For a longer list you can visit the American Library Association website.

Now, personally I don’t think any books should be banned. I think that if someone doesn’t want to read a book containing certain subject matter then just don’t read it. Simple as that. A lot of these books were actually protested against because they were going to be taught in schools and some parents didn’t want their child reading the book. I think there’s a pretty simple solution to this to: tell the school you don’t want your child reading that book so the school can find an alternative. Rather than protesting the book altogether because really, no one person gets to decide what the rest of the world reads.
What do you think? Should some books be banned or should people be allowed to decide for themselves?

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