Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is addicting. It is the book that you flake on friends for. It is the book you stay up late until your eyes are burning and you fall asleep sitting up with your cat on your lap. It is the book you ignore phone calls for. And it is certainly the book you sink into and forget all else. My friends Tzuen and Gib insisted I read it. They had both bought it the same day and had already finished reading it by the time I saw them (two days later). They sat on the couch next to each other reading their separate copies of the book.
It’s banned book week! Or rather, it was last week. . . .Time to celebrate those books that have been challenged and banned. Many classics that have been a part of the literary canon for decades have had their merit questioned. We have days to commemorate what happened. And we have Banned Books Week to remind us of what could have happened. We could have lost so much art if brave publishers and booksellers did not protest censorship. Books were banned for their language and content. Anything remotely sexual was considered pornographic. Racial slurs used to indicate a racist society were challenged. Something slightly bawdy was banned. And books that reinterpret religious texts were burned. Why? They are all merely ideas. They are all just musings, just observations, just words. But people become so caught up in their personal beliefs that they want to force them on other people. It seems strange to me that books are still being challenged and banned to this day. Continue reading →
Anthony Burgess‘ A Clockwork Orange is a smart book that suffers from the film’s reputation. I just read it for the first time; I should have read it years ago but the identity of the film and its advertisements deterred me. Every headshop on Haight Street and in the Village sells postcards, shirts, and posters with the movie’s actor, Malcolm McDowell. The movie’s tagline is “Being the adventures of a young man whose principal interests are rape, ultra-violence, and Beethoven”. Hmm, I’m not interested in that. At some point I picked up the book, read the description, and bought it. This is one of those cases where a reader buys a book, puts it on her shelf, and doesn’t read it for six years. Continue reading →