One of my favorite books –The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini- made the Office for Intellectual Freedom’s 2014 top ten most frequently challenged books list. Set in the chaos of the fall of Afghanistan’s monarchy through the eventual rise of the Taliban regime, The Kite Runner tells the story of a young boy from Kabul and contains some offensive language and plenty of violence- some of it graphic and stomach-turning.
The week of September 27−October 3, this week, is Banned Books Week in the US. According to the American Library Association, Banned Book Week is an annual event “celebrating the freedom to read.” Typically held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types- in “shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.”
The challenge to The Kite Runner is –in my opinion- valid. I wouldn’t want my 13 year old reading it without guidance. And isn’t that my choice to make? Shouldn’t I, as a responsible parent, be aware and monitoring my child’s reading choices? The answer is a resounding YES!
The Kite Runner is a beautiful book, full of friendship, heartbreak, heroism and cowardice. It reveals an Afghanistan many of us can’t imagine and is a great book to use in discussions of Afghan culture, religion, class divisions and the importance of friendship. It is a book I would be pleased to discuss with my high school age children.
This week –Banned Books Week- take a moment to appreciate our basic constitutional right to freedom of thought and pick up a book that challenges you.
As I’ve mentioned NUMEROUS times, I spent a good deal of my restless pre-teen years reading romance novels in a porch swing with a cat in my lap. Sometimes towards the end of this idyll –before I started working for the man- I discovered the works of Gwen Bristow.
Gwen Bristow was an author and journalist who wrote Plantation Trilogy: Deep Summer, The Handsome Road, and This Side of Glory– the story of one family beginning in pre-Revolutionary War Louisiana and finishes after World War I, Jubilee Trail– the story of two girls (one a New York socialite and the other a New Orleans dance hall girl) who cross the new West to California, Celia Garth– the story of a girl living in Charleston during the American Revolution and, my favorite, Calico Palace– the story of the men and women who were there at the first discovery of gold in 1848, when San Francisco was still a small village.
As the first books I checked out of a library, these stories hold a special place in my heart, but more than that, they taught me a love of history- factual and fictional. Y’all check ‘em out and maybe share ‘em with your pre-teen daughters.
Preferably on a porch swing with a cat in your lap.
Deana, a loyal book-reading companion and dutiful mother.
The Book: Happy Wives Club, by Fawn Weaver
The Blurb: Happy Wives Club is Fawn’s journey across the world to meet her friends and discover what makes their marriages great. Join her on this exciting, exotic trip across six continents and through more than eighteen cities. Walk the streets of Mauritius, the historic ruins in Italy, and the vistas of New Zealand and Australia. Go from Cape Town to London, Manila to Buenos Aires, Winnipeg to Zagreb. Along the way, you will meet everyday women whose marriage secrets span cultures. You will hear their stories, witness their love, and be inspired by the proof that happy, healthy marriages do exist—and yours can be one of them! It turns out great marriages are all around us—when we look for them. Go on a trip with Fawn and learn the best marriage secrets the world has to offer.
The Babble: I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I honestly expected a preachy, Proverbs 31-type homily, but Happy Wives Club is a well-written, refreshing journal of Weaver’s travels, the people she met and her own personal discoveries throughout her journey. I especially enjoyed reports on how happy marriages are built and maintained in non-Western cultures. It was good to learn that that marriage is both hard and rewarding no matter where your location. As a bonus, Weaver’s 12 conclusions or ‘secrets’ to what make up a great marriage are real, common sense ideas that are both tangible and attainable to all who are willing to commit to be a happy wife. I look forward to other books by Fawn Weaver and will definitely check out her Happy Wives Club website at www.happywivesclub.com.
The Behest: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
The Book: Sneak, by Evan Angler
The Blurb: When Logan went on the run after the events of Swipe, no one thought he could survive on his own. He proved them wrong, but when Logan finally makes it to Beacon City, he finds that the capital holds more secrets than anyone could have guessed. And all his careful planning is worthless against a government that will do anything to gain absolute control. Can the gentle words Logan has found in a tattered, banned Bible really stand against the most powerful military the world has ever known? Can Logan even sacrifice his own freedom, choosing to act through faith alone?
The Babble: I’ve read a lot of young-adult dystopian fiction in the past couple years (the Hunger Games series, the Divergent series, the Chemical Garden series, the Maze Runner series, the Infernal Devices series, the Lunar Chronicles- man that’s a lot!) and I feel the Swipe series is right up there with the best of ‘em. Sneak lives up to its name as Logan, Hailey and the Dust steal across the country on The River, evading DOME and battling each other in an effort to find Logan’s sister Lily. Near escapes, underground (sometime literally) communes, betrayal and revelations abound and, looming on the horizon, freak weather, sickness, famine and war. Could the exclusionists be right about the future? I can’t wait to read the third installment Storm.
The Behest: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”