Banned Books Are the Best Books

Hermione, Harry Potter

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 →

J. K. Rowling Writes More Contemporary Literature: Robert Galbraith’s The Cuckoo’s Calling

The Cuckoo's Calling, Robert Galbraith, J. K. Rowling
The Cuckoo’s Calling
was written by J. K. Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Rowling created this pseudonym so she could have the freedom to write without expectation and receive honest feedback from editors and critics. She did not want her latest novel to be judged against her past—the Harry Potter series. Her pseudonym is a man who worked in the Special Investigation Branch of the military, which would explain why his photo was not included on the dust jacket or the lack of author appearances.

Continue reading →

My Life Archived by Unintentional Bookmarks in My Books

Your book collection is a reflection of yourself, your tastes, your intellectual pursuits, your career, and your circumstances. Your books themselves can be unintentional markers of where you were or what you were doing at certain points in your life. And the items you use as placeholders instead of bookmarks can reveal another level of who you were or are. I started a new project, going through all of my books and photographing what was left in each book. I went through all the books in my apartment but have yet to go through the books in storage at my folks’ house. I started because I found two safety pins in a book. I can’t recall the book (I wish it was something appropriate like Legs McNeil’s Please Kill Me but it wasn’t). Regardless, I began to wonder what else I would find in my books.

There were too many items to include in this single entry. I still have more books to add for future blog posts. It’s fun to see who I was and what I was doing when I was reading these books. It’s interesting that many of the placeholders indicate an active social life while I’m sitting at home or on the bus reading a book. I have spent so much time out and about because if I don’t get out of my room, I’ll read or worse, watch tv all night. These placeholders reveal so much more than I remember about myself. Forgotten people, phone numbers. But they also remind me of how long I’ve known some friends, and how many states we have known each other. Whether that be physical states and mental states. They also reiterate the people that I’ve been friends with for many, many years. The ones that have seen me through going to shows like the Toiletboys and going to clubs ten years ago. And the ones that accepted my being a book nerd in the midst of a raging social scene.

Recreating and Rewriting Reality in J. K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy

The Casual Vacancy, J. K. Rowling

“You must accept the reality of other people. You think that reality is up for negotiation, that we think it’s whatever you say it is. You must accept that we are as real as you are; you must accept that you are not God.” (88) Continue reading →

why don’t i read more female authors?

Looking over my book shelves I’m embarrassed to admit that 75% of the books are by male authors. It makes me really sad. There must be more female authors that I can connect with. Most of the female writers I have read are contemporary and have only one published book but I anxiously await more. Muriel Barbery, Monica Drake, Tanya Egan Gibson, Alice Zeniter: more please. So much more please. There are of course, the classics that I read when I was younger. Mary Shelley, Anais Nin, Simone de Beauvoir and Anne Rice. Ok, maybe Anne Rice isn’t a modern classic, but she’s definitely a cult classic. Continue reading →