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Captain America: Civil War!!!

Friday, May 27, 2016

5 Books I Want to Read...Banned Books

I keep a wish list on Goodreads called "want to read". Currently, it's up to 2547. Yeah. I also have several stacks of books tucked against walls throughout my house. Each is probably at least 3 feet high of books I haven't read yet. I periodically go through my list and purge it, but it still is not slowing down. Nor are the books that keep appearing on my Kindle. They're all still on my wish list, I just haven't gotten to them yet.

Each month I highlight 5 books I want to read. This month I hadn't planned a theme, but I'd seen a post somewhere on the Internets about Banned Books and I checked my wish list to see which banned books were on it.

While I don't believe that every book is appropriate for every person, I don't agree with banning books. Making some library books "by request only" to keep mature content away from children? Absolutely. If a parent chooses not to have their child read a particular book in a class? Absolutely they should have that right and a teacher should respect it and offer a different book. But, should that parent try and ban the book or tell everyone else they can't read it? No.


1984 by George Orwell

The year 1984 has come and gone, but George Orwell's prophetic, nightmarish vision in 1949 of the world we were becoming is timelier than ever. 1984 is still the great modern classic of "negative utopia" -a startlingly original and haunting novel that creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing, from the first sentence to the last four words. No one can deny the novel's hold on the imaginations of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions -a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.

The Boy is currently reading this for AP English.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression follows the western movement of one family & a nation in search of work & human dignity. Perhaps the most American of American classics. The novel focuses on the Joads, a poor family of sharecroppers driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, & changes in financial & agricultural industries. Due to their nearly hopeless situation, & in part because they were trapped in the Dust Bowl, the Joads set out for California. Along with thousands of other "Okies", they sought jobs, land, dignity & a future. When preparing to write the novel, Steinbeck wrote: "I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this [the Great Depression & its effects]." The book won Steinbeck a large following among the working class, perhaps due to the book's sympathy to the workers' movement & its accessible prose style.

The Boy read this last year for AP English.

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Buck, a sturdy crossbreed canine (half St. Bernard, half Shepard), is a dog born to luxury and raised in a sheltered Californian home. But then he is kidnapped and sold to be a sled dog in the harsh and frozen Yukon Territory. Passed from master to master, Buck embarks on an extraordinary journey, proving his unbreakable spirit... First published in 1903, The Call of the Wild is regarded as Jack London's masterpiece. Based on London's experiences as a gold prospector in the Canadian wilderness and his ideas about nature and the struggle for existence, The Call of the Wild is a tale about unbreakable spirit and the fight for survival in the frozen Alaskan Klondike.

Jack London's White Fang is The Boy's favorite book. It's also on Banned Book lists.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

At the heart of Catch-22 resides the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances of war. His problem is Colonel Cathcart, who keeps raising the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the perilous missions that he's committed to flying, he's trapped by the Great Loyalty Oath Crusade, the bureaucratic rule from which the book takes its title: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes the necessary formal request to be relieved of such missions, the very act of making the request proves that he's sane and therefore, ineligible to be relieved.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

The terrifyingly prophetic novel of a post-literate future. Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books. The classic dystopian novel of a post-literate future, Fahrenheit 451 stands alongside Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World as a prophetic account of Western civilization’s enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity. Bradbury’s powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which, decades on from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock.

The Brother read this in his Freshman English class this year.


What about you? What books are on your "want to read/wish" list?

5 Books I want to Read is a monthly meme started by Stephanie at Layered Pages. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their wish lists look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's Court, Layered Pages, A Literary Vacation, Flashlight Commentary.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Cover Crush...The Wedding Bees

I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.

I loved this cover the minute I saw it. Honey is sweet and sticky and tastes so good. Bees always invoke happiness with their buzzing and flying. The cover is bright and happy.

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: Flashlight Commentary, A Bookaholic Swede, Layered Pages.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Gifted...Q&A with J.A. George!

I'm so pleased to welcome J.A. George to the blog today to talk about her book, Gifted.

Tell us about yourself. 
My name is J.A. George and I’m the author of Gifted. I’m from London, England, but I’m currently living in Sheffield for my studies. Hmmm, what else? I like to read, write, bake, eat, hang out with friends and go to the cinema. Once I did all of those things in one day, needless to say, it was awesome.

That sounds like the perfect day! So, tell us about your book!

Yes, Gifted! Here’s the blurb:

There is no chosen one in this story. 

She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and happened to make a decision that altered her future forever. It happens to all of us every day. 

Avery is a size twelve university student with a penchant for dry humour, and she’s as normal as they come. One rainy afternoon, Avery had to make a choice: go through the alleyway or around it. Two possible options. One would have had her future continue on as planned, the other would ensure that her future never remained the same again. She unknowingly went with the latter. 

Change can be good. It can bring new opportunities, new friends and a life you never thought possible. Change can be bad. It can bring you people determined to burn your city to the ground. 

It all depends on the decisions you make. 

Is Ava your main character? 

Yes, she is. Ava is a long story. In the first edition of Gifted she was pretty bland because I was trying to make her into a character every reader would love until I realised that was impossible. So I concentrated on making her into a person I would like to meet. She’s strong-willed, sarcastic and funny (well, I think she is), but sometimes she’s insecure and unsure of how she feels. She’s real.

Why should people read your book?

I would never force my book on anyone, and I would never claim to have written the next best-seller. If you like contemporary YA fantasy centered on a young woman with a penchant for dry humour, try Gifted. The best I can say is read a sample here and make your mind up from there.

Gifted is a contemporary YA fantasy; anything else we can find floating around in there?

Most definitely. Gifted struggles to fit into one genre. It’s contemporary, young adult and fantasy, but you can also find hints of romance, adventure, mystery and why not, comedy too. Buried within the book are modern day issues such as, body-issues, friendship and cheating in relationships. It’s not too much because I didn’t wanted Gifted to be considered a dark, sombre book, but it’s there.

What book has most influenced Gifted

Roald Dahl’s books! If you had asked me this question two weeks ago, I would have said no book has influenced Gifted. But I’ve come to realise that the idea of extraordinary things happening to ordinary people (for example, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and George’s Marvellous Medicine) is a theme that has subconsciously stuck with me for many years.

What message would you like readers to take away from Gifted

Find what makes you different and be it. And you don’t have to be crazy to be different.

Does Gifted have a soundtrack? 

Haha! I wish! How cool would that be though? I should look into it…

What’s your favorite writing snack? 

Usually chocolate. If I’ve run out, which happens more often that you’d think, anything sweet. Or just a bottle of ice cold water.

Where do you write? 

I’m pretty boring. I only write at my desk or on my bed, but if I’m writing my idea down, I write wherever I am and that sometimes means the middle of the street!

Finally, any advice for beginner writers? 

Keep writing. Keep writing until you have written a book you would happily pay for and would begin reading as soon as it’s yours.


Many thank to J.A. George for visiting 2 Kids and Tired Books! We You can learn more about J.A. George on her website here and find her on Twitter. You can download a sample of Gifted here and purchase your own copy here.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Childhood Favorites...Beverly Cleary

Childhood favorites. Everyone has a favorite book or author from childhood. A book that touched them or changed them. A book that perhaps initiated their love of reading and put them on the path of libraries and learning.

Books: Childhood Favorites is a monthly series focusing on beloved books from the past. 

Donald Zolan, Quiet Time.

Last month Beverly Cleary celebrated her 100th birthday. Amazing. I never got into Ramona or Henry Huggins. I did like Ellen Tebbits. The Boy loved The Mouse and the Motorcycle.

My favorite Beverly Cleary books were what are now called the First Love series. I love that Beverly so often set her books in the San Francisco Bay Area, because that is where I grew up. I checked these books out of my elementary school library and finally got my own copies which I then wore out from re-reading them so much.

Fifteen. I loved Jane. I could relate to Jane and some of her insecurities and who wouldn't love Stan? Set in the Bay Area. Awesome.

The Luckiest Girl. I loved Shelley. Shelley wanted to be accepted and her somewhat prim and proper parents frustrated her. Spending the school year in California with her mother's best friend opened up her world.

 Jean and Johnny. This was one I liked the least, mostly because Jean was just so awkward and embarrassing. But then, who isn't as a young teenager?

Sister of the Bride. I have sisters. I love books about sisters and I loved this one about Barbara and Rosemary and Barbara's worries that things will change when her sister gets married because Rosemary was too modern to get married and settle down.

Looking back, I'm wishing I still had copies of these so I could sit down and read them again. It's always so fun to revisit old friends. Although, I read these so much, I can still picture scenes and situations and conversations.

What about you? What is one of your childhood favorites?