Things Read in 2015

2015

When I was younger I would read all the time. Literally, just one book after another. I carried one with me everywhere (still do) and even when I wasn’t supposed to be reading, like, during class for example, I did anyway.

Now, being older, I don’t have nearly as much time to read as I would like, but I still try to read as often as I can.

That being said, way back in the summer of 2007 (it’s actually quite a while ago if you think about it), I started keeping a record of how many books I’d read and how many pages they were.

It started being divided by the summer and school years, but then I just started doing it by year. So, now that I’ve babbled on and explained (poorly) how this system worked, here is a list of the things I read in 2015!

The Walking Dead Books 1-4 (Issues 1-8), Robert Kirkman

TWD Books

I was a fan of The Walking Dead show before reading the comics, but after hearing repeatedly how different the comics are from the show I decided I had to read them. I’m not going to get too much into what I thought of the books as I reviewed books 1-4 last year.

I will say that so far I’m thoroughly enjoying the storyline both on the show and in the comics. I plan on reading at least books 5-8 this year (hopefully more, depending on if I can get them from the library).

 

Death Note Black Edition I, Tsugumi Ohba

black edition i

The only book I read this year that I haven’t reviewed yet. Not because it wasn’t good, but because I wanted to read Black Edition II first.

I’d already watched the anime of Death Note before reading the manga novels and I absolutely loved it. I knew immediately that this was something I wanted to read and when I discovered the Black Editions I was even more excited.

The Black Editions are basically two of the novels in one. Instead of spending twice as much and buying the books separate, you spend a couple extra dollars and get two of the books.

Death Note is amazing and I’ll definitely be posting a review of it this year as I recently bought Black Editions II and III.

 

F*ck! I’m in My Twenties, Emma Koenig

Fck Im in my TwentiesThis book is brilliant. I had wanted to read it for ages and was so glad when I finally did. Emma Koenig perfectly captures the feelings that come with being in your twenties, whatever stage you may be at.

I read and reviewed this book back in February and it is crazy how much changes in a year! Last year I wasn’t in school, had no job, and wasn’t doing too much. Now I feel like I hardly have time to slow down!

It’s absolutely insane how quickly things can change and I definitely need to read this book again to see just how different things are.

 

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Reptile Room, Lemony Snicket

Reptile Room

I still haven’t finished this series! I started it like a year and a half ago and I still haven’t finished. I’m not going to say I’ll finish it this year cause I think we all know if I say that then it won’t happen.

However, I will say that I’m excited to read it again and actually finish it this time because all of these books, not just The Reptile Room, but all of them are amazing and enjoyable.

 

Handle With Care, Jodi Picoult

Handle With Care

This book still gets me even when I just think about it. I read this book in a matter of days and to this day I would say it’s probably in my top ten favourite novels.

I loved this book, but to this day the ending gets me sooooo angry. If you’ve read it you’ll know what I’m talking about. If not, read this book. Read it because it’s beautiful and wonderful and Jodi Picoult is truly a literally marvel.

And then I want you to come back here and tell me what you thought of the ending and if you were raging for days while simultaneously existing in a state of shock like I was.

 

Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse FiveThis book is one I need to read again simply because I still don’t think I fully got it. But, like I said in my review (which wasn’t really a review), I think not fully understanding the book actually just makes me like it more.

This is definitely one of those books where even if you don’t fully understand it you’ll enjoy it. This is also one of those books where if you’re a book nerd you should read it. It’s not like the great novels of our time now. There’s no magic or great battle against an evil, superpowered villain.

But there is a story and at the end of the day Slaughterhouse Five is exactly what all great novels start out as and what they all end up being.

I love reading. When people ask me what I like doing the first two things I always say are reading and writing. It’s been like this for as long as I can remember and, even though I don’t have as much time as used to, I don’t doubt it will stay like that.

I look forward to reading many more books over the course of this year. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish all the books I started at the end of last year and more. My reading goal every year is to do slightly better than the year before.

Total Books Read: 9 (technically 14)

Total Pages: 2595

But I want to hear from you! What did you read last year? Have any reading goals for this year?

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Top Ten: Banned Books

Top 10

If you look on the Internet for a top ten list of banned books you’ll find about a thousand different lists with all different books on them. So here’s another one.

In no particular order, here is a list of ten of the most common books to be banned.

All the books on this list appear on more than one list of most commonly banned books and have been censored or banned in more than one year.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian

1) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie

Several schools in various states in the U.S. have either tried to ban or successfully banned this book from school libraries due to the racism, alcohol/drug use, vulgar language, and sexually explicit content depicted in the book.


2) Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

I talk about this book a bit yesterday, but my research for this post found that there is a multitude of reasons this has been banned or censored. From sexually explicit language to offensive stereotypes to simply lacking literary merit, Huxley’s novel gets no free passes.

3) And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson and Peter Parrell

I talked about this book a lot last Banned Books Week and you can read that post here. This one gets challenged and censored often due to it’s depiction of homosexuality.

4) The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

Underage drinking/drug use, cursing, being sexually explicit, and homosexuality are the main reasons this book has been pulled from so many school libraries.

The Catcher in the Rye

5) The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

This book is the perfect example of what I said a few days ago. You ban a book and tell people they can’t read it and they’ll want to read it even more. With it’s constant challenge of authority and obscene language, The Catcher in the Rye has been called countless names and has even been accused of being the reason behind a few murders. It is constantly being removed from schools and yet it is still the second most taught book in schools. Ironic, isn’t it?


6) Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut

Seeing this book on so many banned books lists just makes me so much happier that I read it. Challenged and banned due to it’s crude language, sexuality, and violence, this book is often removed from school after parental and teacher complaints.

7) The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

Showing up on many lists for years, The Hunger Games has been banned due to being sexually explicit and for containing violence.

8) What My Mother Doesn’t Know, Sonya Sores

I’d never heard of this book before, but it kept showing up on the yearly censored books lists. It has been challenged in the U.S. due to sexually explicit content (what a shock) and sexism.

Scary Stories

9) Scary Stories Series, Alvin Schwartz

Banned due to it’s violent content as well as insensitivity and Satanism. They know the stories are fake, right?


10) Captain Underpants, Dav Pilkey

Banned and censored because it’s sexually explicit (apparently) and contains offensive language (apparently).


You know what reasons showed up on almost every book? Not just these ten, but every book I saw on the websites I looked at. You know what the reasons are? ‘Sexually Explicit” and “Not suitable for age group”.

Can someone please explain to me what sexually explicit it? Cause I’ve read The Hunger Games, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Captain Underpants and I’m so confused as to how they fall into the same category.

Now, 50 Shades of Grey? That’s sexually explicit. Captain Underpants? Unless you’re read ’50 Shades of Underpants’ you’re going to have to tell me just how that’s sexually explicit.

And ‘unsuited to age group’? Come on people! The publisher obviously thought it was suited to the age group otherwise they wouldn’t have published it as such. And all the people who buy it and have no issue clearly think it’s suitable for the age group the books are aimed at.

If you think it’s unsuitable for your child, don’t read it to your child or don’t let your child read it. It’s 2015, stop banning books.

Have you read any of the books on this list?

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Twenty (More) Banned Books You Should Definitely Read

Banned Books

Last Banned Books Week I made a post about twenty banned books you should definitely read. Well this Banned Books Week I decided to give you twenty more.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn , Mark Twain

Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain’s novel has faced controversy after controversy with a good majority of it having to do with the language used. From racial slurs to vulgar language, Huckleberry Finn has come under heavy scrutiny, particularly from parents who don’t want this book taught to their children in school.


American Psycho , Bret Easton Ellis
American Psycho

American Psycho faced heavy scrutiny (and still does) in many different countries. From the year 1995 to 2000, Ellis’s novel was considered to be “harmful to minors” in Germany, while Australia would not sell the book to anyone under age eighteen.


Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging , Louise Rennison

Angus Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging

I actually had a hard time finding out why this book is considered controversial, but then I found a very long Yahoo Answers (I know it’s not the best source, but hey, this isn’t a college paper) post from someone complaining about how the book was pornographic and this person couldn’t believe schools would have it on their shelves.

Apparently there is some discussion in the book (I haven’t read it yet) about kissing and butt grabbing and kids in school shouldn’t be reading this kind of stuff because they’ll act it out. I desperately try not to give opinions on what I think of these controversies, but this one got to me because I hate when one parent decides they know what’s best for every child. If your kid starts acting inappropriately because of something they read in a book it’s because you didn’t explain to them not to do that, not because of the book. If you don’t want your kid reading it, fine, don’t let them read it, but don’t dictate what other children can and cannot read.


Brave New World , Aldous Huxley

Brave New World

This book has had so many accusations thrown at it I can’t even list them all here. It was banned in Ireland due to language used in the novel and apparently being anti-Religion. Huxley was accused of being a pornographer in India and thus the book was banned there in 1967. More and more controversies from all over the world were brought to attention with some teachers even being fired for assigning it! You can read a more complete list here.


Captain Underpants , Dav Pilkey

Captain Underpants

This one confused me so much. Captain Underpants has been banned in many schools because it is considered for some age groups and apparently encourages children not to listen to authority.


Crank, Ellen Hopkins

Crank

Crank has come under heavy scrutiny for it’s talk of drugs (one of the main plot points is drug abuse) and it’s discussion of sex. Hopkins herself was actually banned from speaking at a school’s literary festival in Texas after several parents complained.
*slow clap for those parents*


Cut, Patricia McCormick

Cut

The title gives you an idea of what the book is about and you can imagine right off the bat where the controversy comes from. Many parents and teachers believe McCormick’s book promotes self-mutilation, but many teens argue the opposite and believe this book actually helps break the wall surrounding the taboo topic. As someone who read the book as a teenager I have to say I agree with the teens.


A Farewell to Arms , Ernest Hemingway

a Farewell to arms

Hemingway has caused quite the stir with all his novels over the years. I found many of his titles on various lists of banned books during my research, but after reading the explanations they really aren’t all that controversial. The main issue with A Farewell to Arms was the language he used such as “shit”, “fuck”, and “cocksucker”*, all of which were blanked out when the book went to publication. However, something I learned and found quite funny, was that in at least two copies of the first edition of the book (which Hemingway gave away) he had gone back and handwritten the words in so they’d be correct.

*It’s funny because I normally avoid swearing on this blog, but as we’re talking about censorship and not censoring things it seemed appropriate to not blank out those words this time.


Deenie, Judy Blume

deenie

Deenie appears on the American Library Association list of 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000. The book has been challenged many times and banned in schools because it talks about masturbation and there is also a passage discussing menstruation and masturbation.


Goosebumps Series, R.L. Stine

Goosebumps

Once again we have books being challenged in schools. Goosebumps was considered ‘too frightening’ for school children and it was also believed to glorify satanic themes and rituals. This is one of those times where I wish I made Youtube videos (one day) because I want you guys to see my face when I read that. Like come on! Satanic themes? Do the people challenging the books even read them?


The Great Gatsby , F. Scott Fitzgerald

Great Gatsby

Language and sexual references were the reason The Great Gatsby was challenged by a Baptist College in South Carolina… Yup, that’s really all I have to say about that. I’m running out of ways to repeat the same reasons over and over.


The Outsiders , S.E. Hinton

Outsiders

Well I don’t agree at all with censorship, I can see where the controversy might arise with a book that deals with gang fights, a lot of cursing, and many underage characters drinking and smoking like it’s nothing.


Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita

The main premise of the book follows a middle age man falling in love with a fourteen year old girl. While I don’t agree with censorship or banning of any book, this is another where I can see why others might have an issue with it.


Rainbow Boys , Alex Sanchez

Rainbow boys

Rainbow Boys tells the story of three teenage boys in the process of coming out. This book has some vulgar language, including some homophobic slurs, and also deals with sexual material.


Slaughterhouse Five , Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse Five

Described as being “depraved, immoral, psychotic, vulgar, and anti-Christian” is only one of the reason Slaughterhouse Five has been banned from so many schools and censored all over the world. With discussions of sex and profane language, Vonnegut’s novel is often considered to be too inappropriate for the classroom. Interesting fact that I learned though was that this novel was one of the first to acknowledge homosexuals as being victims of the Holocaust.


Ulysses, James Joyce

Ulysses

This book has faced a lot of controversy since it’s publication due to the obscenity Joyce had included in the text. It was even banned from the UK until the 1930s. However, one of the funniest arguments I’ve heard in favour of the book is that people would actually have to fully understand what it says in order for them to be offended by it.


Of Mice and Men , John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck

Euthanization, racism, and offensive language are what got this book banned from many schools all across the glove. Despite this, many of the bans have since been lifted and Of Mice and Men is actually taught in many places as part of the curriculum.


Mommy Laid An Egg , Babette Cole

Mommy Laid An Egg, Babette Cole

I had never heard of this book before I started doing research for this post, but I saw the title of the list and I just had to find out more. Cole’s book is meant for children and is a funny and light way of trying to explain the birds and the bees and where babies comes from.

I don’t think I need to say too much on why this is considered controversial. You mention the idea of teaching kids about safe sex and real life and suddenly everyone’s rabid and out for blood.


How to Eat Fried Worms , Thomas Rockwell

How to Eat Fried Worms, Thomas Rockwell

This book is challenged and censored because of the main plot point: eating worms. It’s thought to be gross. That’s it. Eating worms is gross so this book needs to be censored. Well yeah, obviously it’s gross, that why the kid in the book hates eating them, but it’s part of a bet so he does it anyway. It’s not because of vulgar language or sexual themes like most of these books, but because eating worms is thought to be too disgusting.


Gone With the Wind , Margaret Mitchell

Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

It was actually hard for me to pin point what the main issue people had with this book was. I read a few websites and they all said different things, but from what I gathered the main issues with this was Mitchell’s portrayal of the South in the 19th century. Her use of racist language and the apparent downplay of the KKK cause quite the stir which, yeah I can understand that

.


Censorship is crazy! I can understand why some people might get offended at some of these books or at some of the stuff these authors wrote about, but can I tell you a secret? They didn’t write it to please everyone and they don’t care if you like it or not.

Obviously it would be nice if people liked it, but no author ever writes a book expecting every person in the world to like it. And honestly a little controversy actually tends to work in the books benefit.

You try to censor or ban anything and the sales for that item always skyrocket because suddenly people don’t want you reading it and it becomes a lot more appealing.

Have you read any of the books on this list?

Were you surprised by any of these books?

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Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse FiveThis isn’t a review, per se, but more my first thoughts on the novel.

I had been planning to read Slaughterhouse Five for ages now and I finally did it. I bought it at Chapters and read it whenever I got the chance and I actually really liked it.

I’m not 100% sure I got it though, which is why I’m not doing a proper review. I understood the story and from hearing other people talk about it I know what it was saying, but I think this is definitely a novel I’ll need to read a few more times before I can fully appreciate it.

I actually liked this though, not getting it 100% on the first go. Some books I finish and I really enjoyed them, but it’s straight onto the next one.

I finished Slaughterhouse Five and I just kind of sat there thinking about it, trying to figure out what it all meant.

I got really excited when I finally understood the title of the book which, for years now, I had no clue why it was called what it was called.

I definitely need to read this book again because even though I don’t think I got it, I did really enjoy it.

It’s just one of those books that is so talked about and was (and still is) so influential. I definitely recommend checking out Slaughterhouse Five if you haven’t already. You might read it and not understand it, but I think, in this case, that’s okay.

Order Slaughterhouse Five on Amazon

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Book Haul!

I’ve never done a book haul before, but I watch them a lot on Youtube and as I’ve bought quite a few books recently I decided I wanted to share with all of you what they were! I have no idea if I’m doing this right, but here it goes!

Book Haul 1

  1. Marley & Me, John Grogan

I got this one at a charity garage sale for $1 and am both excited and terrified to start reading. As I’ve seen the movie I know what happens and I am definitely not prepared for that ending. This will definitely be one of those books that I can only read at home for fear of embarrassing myself in public.

  1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

I read this in eleventh grade and have been waiting for an opportunity to buy it. Then, two days ago, I found it in a half-price book shop for $3 and there was no way I was going to walk away from that. I’m so excited to read this one again without having to use over 120 sticky notes to take notes.

  1. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens

Again, something I’ve been wanting to read for ages. I actually thought I owned this at one point, but then realized I had Great Expectations, not Oliver Twist. I’m not really sure how I mixed the two up. I found this at the same store as Cuckoo’s Nest for $4.

  1. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightening Thief, Rick Riordan

$3 for a book that I’ve both been wanting to read for ages and that I’ve been told over and over again that I need to read. I read the first six chapters in less than half an hour and so far I’m really enjoying it and am glad I finally bought it.

  1. The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman

Another $3 find that, just like The Lightening Thief, I’ve been wanting to read and have been told to read. Super excited to read it and see how amazing the book is and how it compares to the film as I’ve heard they’re very different.

  1. Prose Edda, Snorri Sturluson

I don’t remember where I got this one or how much it cost. I’m pretty certain it was on Amazon cause I remember it coming in the mail and it probably wasn’t more than $15 cause that’s all I can afford to spend on one book right now. I’m a huge fan of Norse Mythology so it was very exciting when I finally bought this.

  1. We Bought a Zoo, Benjamin Mee

$3 at a library book sale. Saw the movie, loved it, excited to read the real story.

  1. The Help, Kathryn Stockett

This book has literally been on my list of books to get for ages and I saw it at the same sale as We Bought a Zoo. Books that cost less than $5 are my favourites and it’s incredibly likely that I won’t walk away from a book that costs that little.

  1. I Am Malala, Malala Yousafzai

This one I bought with a Chapters gift card I got for Christmas, but I was waiting to use it. I ended up buying this during their three days of no shipping and handling fees which are my absolute favourite days on the Chapters website.

  1. Death Note Black Edition One, Tsugumi Ohba

Bought this at the same time as I Am Malala and read it in one sitting. It includes the first and second manga novels of Death Note. Each novel alone is about $12, Black Edition in store is about $16 + tax. Buying it online without having to pay shipping and handling was one of the best book buying times.

  1. The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling, do I need to say any more? Oh wait, J.K. Rowling for $2 at a garage sale.

  1. Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut

Book Haul 2

This was an incredibly recent edition to my shelves which I actually bought yesterday. It was kind of a spur of the moment decision considering two days ago, after buying four of the books on this list at a half-price books shop, I promised myself I wasn’t going to buy anymore of anything for a while. But then I had a really good day and I’ve been wanting to read this forever so I just said forget it, let’s do this, and I bought it. $10 at Chapters and I haven’t put it down since.

There we go! My first book haul! No idea if this is how they’re usually done, but I really enjoyed this. Let me know if you’d like to see more of these!

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