Tuesday, September 30

In honour of Banned Book Week

In honour of Banned Book Week, I've decided to make a little post with the list of "The Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books in 2000-2oo7 Link to this list (ALA.org) is HERE.

So the books that I HAVE READ are in bold and are in Blue
The books that are italicized and in GREEN, are books I haven't read, but plan on reading.

1 Harry Potter -- J.K. Rowling
2 Alice series -- Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3 The Chocolate War -- Robert Cormier
4 Of Mice and Men -- John Steinbeck
5 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings -- Maya Angelou
6 Scary Stories -- Alvin Schwartz
7 Fallen Angels Walter -- Dean Myers
8 It’s Perfectly Normal -- Robie Harris
9 And Tango Makes Three -- Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
10 Captain Underpants Dav Pilkey
11 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn -- Mark Twain
12 The Bluest Eye -- Toni Morrison
13 Forever -- Judy Blume
14 The Color Purple Alice Walker
15 The Perks of Being A Wallflower -- Stephen Chbosky
16 Killing Mr. Griffin -- Lois Duncan
17 Go Ask Alice -- Anonymous
18 King and King -- Linda de Haan
19 Catcher in the Rye -- J.D. Salinger
20 Bridge to Terabithia Katherine Paterson
21 The Giver -- Lois Lowry
22 We All Fall Down -- Robert Cormier
23 To Kill A Mockingbird -- Harper Lee`
24 Beloved -- Toni Morrison
25 The Face on the Milk -- Carton Caroline Cooney
26 Snow Falling on Cedars -- David Guterson
27 My Brother Sam Is Dead -- James Lincoln Collier
28 In the Night Kitchen -- Maurice Sendak
29 His Dark Materials series -- Philip Pullman
30 Gossip Girl series -- Cecily von Ziegesar
31 What My Mother Doesn’t Know -- Sonya Sones
32 Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging
33 It’s So Amazing
34 Arming America -- Michael Bellasiles
35 Kaffir Boy -- Mark Mathabane
36 Blubber -- Judy Blume
37 Brave New World -- Aldous Huxley
38 Athletic Shorts -- Chris Crutcher
39 Bless Me, Ultima -- Rudolfo Anaya
40 Life is Funny -- E.R. Frank
41 Daughters of Eve -- Lois Duncan
42 Crazy Lady Jane -- Leslie Conly
43 The Great Gilly Hopkins -- Katherine Paterson
44 You Hear Me -- Betsy Franco
45 Slaughterhouse Five -- Kurt Vonnegut
46 Whale Talk -- Chris Crutcher
47 The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby -- Dav Pilkey
48 The Facts Speak for Themselves -- Brock Cole
49 The Terrorist -- Caroline Cooney
50 Mick Harte Was Here -- Barbara Park
51 Summer of My German Soldier -- Bette Green
52 The Upstairs Room -- Johanna Reiss
53 When Dad Killed Mom -- Julius Lester
54 Blood and Chocolate -- Annette Curtis Klause
55 The Fighting Ground Avi
56 The Things They Carried -- Tim O'Brien
57 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry -- Mildred Taylor
58 Fat Kid Rules the World -- K.L. Going
59 The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things -- Carolyn Mackler
60 A Time To Kill -- John Grisham
61 Rainbow Boys -- Alex Sanchez
62 Olive’s Ocean -- Kevin Henkes
63 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest -- Ken Kesey
64 A Day No Pigs Would Die -- Robert Newton Peck
65 Speak Laurie Halse Anderson
66 Always Running -- Luis Rodriguez
67 Black Boy -- Richard Wright
68 Julie of the Wolves -- Jean Craighead George
69 Deal With It! -- Esther Drill
70 Detour for Emmy -- Marilyn Reynolds
71 Draw Me A Star -- Eric Carle
72 Fahrenheit 451 -- Ray Bradbury
73 Harris and Me -- Gary Paulsen
74 Junie B. Jones series -- Barbara Park
75 So Far From the Bamboo Grove -- Yoko Watkins
76 Song of Solomon -- Toni Morrison
77 Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes -- Chris Crutcher
78 What’s Happening to My Body Book -- Lynda Madaras
79 The Boy Who Lost His Face -- Louis Sachar
80 The Lovely Bones -- Alice Sebold
81 Anastasia Again! -- Lois Lowry
82 Are You There God? It’s Me, -- Margaret Judy Blume
83 Bumps In the Night -- Harry Allard
84 Goosebumps series -- R.L. Stine
85 Shade’s Children -- Garth Nix
86 Cut -- Patricia McCormick
87 Grendel -- John Gardner
88 The House of Spirits -- Isabel Allende
89 I Saw Esau Iona Opte
90 Ironman -- Chris Crutcher
91 The Stupids series Harry Allard
92 Taming the Star Runner -- S.E. Hinton
93 Then Again, Maybe I Won’t -- Judy Blume
94 Tiger Eyes -- Judy Blume
95 Like Water for Chocolate -- Laura Esquivel
96 Nathan’s Run John Gilstrap
97 Pinkerton, Behave! -- Steven Kellog
98 Freaky Friday -- Mary Rodgers
99 Halloween ABC -- Eve Merriam
100 Heather Has Two Mommies -- Leslea Newman

Oh My! CLEARLY I need to read more, I haven't read NEARLY enough books from this list. Happy Reading Everyone!

Saturday, September 27

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Author: J K Rowling

Pages: 251

Summary: Harry can't wait for his holidays with the Dursley's to end. But a small, self-punishing house-felf warnsHarry f mortal danger awaiting him at Hogwarts School. Returning to the castle nevertheless, Harry hears a rumour about a chamber of secrets, holding unknown horrors for wizards of Muggle parentage. Now someone is casting spells that paralyse people, making them seem dead, and a terrible warning is found painted on the wall. The cheif suspect - and always in the wrong place - is Harry. But something much darker has yet to be unleashed.

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I liked this a lot more then the first, and I like this book a lot more the second read through. You do apprechiate it more, once you've read the sixth book, and then read this one. Although some criticism of this book are the antics of Harry and Ron, and at times the slow moving parts of the book, overall it was well written, and it indroduces one of my favourite characters - Lucius Malfoy. He is just a character you love to hate, or just love to read about. He doesn't appear much, but when he does - hes great. Fred and George bring alot to the story, cheering Harry up. But the light shine's mainly on Harry. The main issue with his charcter is that at times, Harry isn't to bright. He's slow to get things, and as it's pointed out in the future books "has a saving people thing" I mean when he figured out where Ginny was, why didn't he get one of the proffesors? They could have helped (Lockheart doens't count) they could have summond Dumbeldore. Harry could have opened the chamber for them...but if that happend of couse there would be no story, but Harry gets himself in so much dnager because he doesn't think beyond what's in front of him. What I like a lot about htis story is how it gives you more insight as the stroy as a whole, a lot of history is given here and a lot of what's to come happens here. But you miss most of this stuff reading it the first time through. That's why it's important to re-read this series again (and again) because there is a lot of information here, that is important, and you don't realize it at the time, and this isn't just the diary. Over all very good.

Would I recommend it to read: Of course! I'm an avid Harry Potter fan, and you need to read this book to get on the series, although you could read book one and skip to book three. Hell you could read book three on its own. And never read another HP book. But who would do that? In order to appreachiate and love the seires, you need to read this book. You also need to RE-READ this book along with the others, because it draws alot of connections.

What to read next: The rest of the Harry Potter Series, also the Goldan Compass and Wrinkle in Time. They are vastly different then HP but they are both Childhood Classics, ALL children should read, and adults young at heart!

Saturday, September 6

The Sunday Night Book Club

Title: The Sunday Night Book Club (Collection of Short Stories)

Author: Various Authors

Summary: A collection of short stories by European authors in one collection. At least one dollar(pound) from every book will go to Breast Cancer Care.
Authors and Stories are:

Your Timing's All Wrong by Clare Boylan
Out of the Apple Tree by Veronica Bright
The Play is Not the Thing by Elizabeth Buchan
Summer at the White House by Clare Chambers
A Touch of Scarlet by Mavis Cheek
The Gift of Giving by Tracy Chevalier
Fears of Forty-Fice by Katie Fforde
After a Long Time by Nicci Gerrard
The Clutter Rut by Lesley Hadley
Sweet Vanilla by Tessa Hadley
No Baggage by Maeve Haran
Al and Christine's World of Leather by Joanne Harris
Say Cheese by Wendy Holden
Trouble in Paridice by Cathy Kelly
Loose Change by Andrea Levy
Orbiting by Kate Long
Too Good to be True by Santa Montefiore
Loves Labours by Elizabeth Noble
The Problem with Oliver by Maggie O'Farrell
Life Begins at Forty by Patricia Scanlan
The Shape of Ladies by Alexandra McCall Smith
The Problem of Men by Alby Alexandra McCall Smith
A Kiss in the Tomatoes by Adriana Trigiani
Tidings by Lynne Truss
The Brooch by Penny Vincenzi

Pages: 383

My Rating: 7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Overall I enjoyed the short stories in the book. Some I liked, some I disliked, some I really enjoyed. Short stories are hard to stand out and show what the author really has to show, unless it's an entire collection of short stories by them. But I enjoyed them because they were all about different types of women facing issues of love, becoming of them selves, and other life "bumps". Two of the stories I liked the best were, Say Cheese and No Baggage. They had the best characters, and best ending. I think for some of the others, as to why I disliked some of them, was that some were very particular (Al and Christiens World of Leather, The Clutter Rut, are two that come to mind). These were very odd, and the ending for both made little since, the characters in it were also unbelievable. With that being said, for the most part, the stories and the book as a whole is a good read.

Would I recommend it to read: Yes, if you're into short stories, and want to branch out your reading experience to new women writers, this is a great choice. It Also supports a great cause.

What to read next: Well there are 25 stories, by 24 different authors. I've only read one of the authors (Cathy Kelly). So I recommend that you should try and branch out your reading and experiment with any of the above authors.

Monday, September 1

Les Miserables

Title: Les Miserables

Author: Victor Hugo


Summary: Many of the characters are well known: Valjean, the criminal trying to escape his reputation; Javert, the police agent trailing him; the unfortunate Fantine and her daughter, Cosette; the rascally Thenardier; and above all the the splendid street urchin, Gavroche. Among the unforgettable descriptions are those of the Paris sewers, the battle of Watterloo and the fighting at the barricades during the July Revolution.

There are few more complete, or more vivid pictures of France at the beginning of the nineteenth cenury. It is at once a thrilling narrative and a social document embracing a wider field then any other novel of its time.

My Rating: 10/10

What I liked/disliked about the book:

I loved this book. Hugo has a beautiful ability to tell a story, and elegant writing style along with it as he explores the lives of the people of France. Hugo does a great job at bring the readers into the lives of the poor and their struggles in Paris, few authors are able to stand up to the level and tell such a sad, yet beautiful story. One of the reasons the story is so enjoyable and is able to create such a vivid perspective of Paris is the tales of the peoples of Paris and its History. Hugo did an incredible job of dropping you right into the different historical events of Paris, and bring the emotions that came with them.

From the front lines of Waterloo and the battle that took place there, as well as the July Revolution, both stories bring you into these tales, with vivid imagery told through the characters experiences and emotions as the took part in these battles.

The book also gives you a glimpse of life of the poor peoples of Paris, their struggles and unhappy times that pursued. But most importantly are the main characters listed in the summary. Valjean has become an all time favourite character of mine. He has an amazing story of his life and sacrifices, he is a criminal, but you can't help but to fall in love with him and cheer him on. I found my self at the edge of my seat when Javert was pursuing him, hoping he'd get away. I also really enjoyed Gavroche, he was a splendid character, and you really felt sad for him in the end. You felt sad for all the characters and their ends, whether it was in death or not. Their stories reach you at another level, more so then most books you'll read. The characters are almost believable, as if they existed and Hugo immortalized them in pages. I have to tell you, this book is depressing. (Hence the name, Les Miserables) because everyone in the book is unhappy and depressed, whether it's fighting the “demons” (social injustice, no money, political injustice etc) outside in the word or their own inner demons, the book is a downer. It's not a bad thing; it's what makes the book so beautiful. It is the sad lives of the characters and rest of Paris, which you're able to look in on. This book will be one of the most beautiful stories you'll ever read, and it's one that will make you think on the social constructs, of the world, both past and present. Truly a fantastic read!

Would I recommend it to read: Yes. Yes. Yes. And you have the read, the UNABRIDGED version. (Although there is one that has more pages thn this, 1484, I don't know if it's a mannaer of book size, font size trade veruse mass market paper back, or if there is infact an even longer versioin then this one) you need to read the unabridged version. Abridged isn't allowed, it will not bring you the same level or picture of Paris, and it will leave out the important events, like Waterloo. Don't be afraid of it's length, think of it as a challange.

What to read next: Hmm. Huncheback of Notre Dame comes to mind. Or Count of Monte Cristo as Valjean often remindded me of him.

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone

Title: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Author: J.K Rowling

Pages: 223

Summary: When a letter arrives for unhappy but ordinary Harry Potter, a decade-old secret is revealed to him. His parents were wizards, killed by a dark Lord's curse when Harry was just a baby, and which he somehow survived. Escaping from his unbearable Muggle guardians to Hogwarts, a wizarding school brimming with ghosts and enchantments, Harry stumbles into a sinister adventurewhen he finds a three-headed dog guarding a room on the third floor. Then he hears of a missing stone with astonishing powers which could be valuable, dangerous, or both.

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Out of all the seven Harry Potter books. This is probably my least favourite. Not to confuse it with being a bad story. I just found when you compare it to the level of the rest of the series, this one falls short. With that being said, this is a must read, because you need to read it to read the others. What I liked about this story is the characters, the kind you instantly fall in love with, care about and want to learn more about. Harry, Ron, Hermione are the three main characters you mainly get to see and watch their friendship grow. It is a lighthearted story, as the three friends begin to solve the mystery of the Philosopher's Stone, along with the adventures of being first year student's at Hogwarts. The first story brings you a lighthearted story of friendship and the adventures around it in this fantasty wizarding world. You're introduced to the magical wizarding world and experience just as Harry does for the first time. The story isn't very climatic, but it does set the ground work and the building blocks for what's to come. It is a bit predictable, and very "fluffy" at times, as it is children's fiction. For those who haven't read it, don't expect the first book to be some amazing story that blows you away, or to come up to par with other works by fantasy athours. Harry Potter, the series as a whole comes up to that level, but the first book doesn't. This book is kind of like the story that introduces everything, and hints at what to come. Overall a great read, but not the best of the series.

Would I recommend it to read: Yes. Of course, You need to read this, inorder to read the others. It's a great book, but don't expect top end fiction. It is for children/ young adult, so that what the language and story level is, but it is one of the best children's fiction you can read.

What to read next: Well in reading order, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheoix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. Also Chronicles of Narnia and Wrinkle in Time. Oh and the Goldan Compass.