Banned Books Week

How many books from this Banned and Challenged list have you read?

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald 
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger 
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck 
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee 
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker 
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce 
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison 
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding 
9. 1984, by George Orwell 
11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov 
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck 
15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller 
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley 
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell 
18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway 
19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner 
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway 
23. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston 
24. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison 
25. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison 
26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell 
27. Native Son, by Richard Wright 
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey 
29. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut 
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway 
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London 
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin 
38. All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren 
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien 
45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair 
48. Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence 
49. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess 
50. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin 
53. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote 
55. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie 
57. Sophie's Choice, by William Styron 
64. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence 
66. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut 
67. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles 
73. Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs 
74. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh 
75. Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence 
80. The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer 
84. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller 
88. An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser 
97. Rabbit, Run, by John Updike

Oh dear, I've not read nearly as many as I would love to claim. Although, many of these are on my TBR list. 
I'm a few meager pages away from finishing Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, so I will post on that later this week in honor of Banned Books Week. 
I also received some gift cards to Barnes and Noble for my birthday not too long ago, so perhaps I will go out and buy as many of these books as possible this week.... perhaps.

And, once I have a second to figure out why the formatting on this post is so funky, I shall fix it, but until then, I must be off to work.

So, on to reading!


The Painted Bird

I honestly finished The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski days and days ago, but I was so disturbed by what I had just read that it took me a while of NOT thinking about to be able to write down my thoughts on it.
First of all, if you are AT ALL faint of heart or can’t stand to read about children/women/men/animals/pretty much any noun being tortured, then you shouldn’t read this book. It’s rather horrifying. Yet, I could not stop reading it.

I was perusing a used book store and came across it - the cover really caught my eye (a painting by Heironymous Bosch – whose paintings, although twisted and often dark, are beautiful all the same [much like The Painted Bird]) and then the price - .75 cents! Book ballin’ on a budget. 

The book claimed to be about the story of a young boy who survives World War II by being passed around from village to village. His parents, both anti-Nazi, determined that the best way for their 6 year old son to survive the holocaust was to be sent away to a distant village. They had no one they knew or trusted to send him off with, so where he would end up was all of their best guesses. Turns out he ends up in the worst places possible. They young boy is never named, but you follow him as he sees and undergoes unthinkable and horrible atrocities over a series of years. He is constantly mistaken as a Gypsy or a Jew due to his dark hair and eyes.

I think what caused me to continue reading was not because the book was well written, or an instant classic, or heartwarming – it was because I wanted to see if the boy would survive all of the awful tortures he was put through. I wanted to see if one more beating, or rape, or heartbreak would kill him. I mean, if I saw even one tenth of what this kid went through, I’d be so emotionally scarred that I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. Even just reading some of the things made me want to hide under a bed.

I do recommend this book. I really do. Just not for anyone with a heart condition or a sensitive stomach. 

Now for some pictures by Bosch because, well, I just want to.

On to reading!


Fantastic Photographs

Please, everyone, go to From Me To You - A Photography Blog. I just discovered it today and I am hooked. Stunning images. Stunning.

I think I love them so much because they are a) beautiful and b) like a real life Harry Potter photograph.

Honestly, I can't stop starring at them.

Anyway, there are a lot of these awesome images on her website.
Thought I would share since I am apparently obsessed.

On to reading!


Dearly Beloved

What a strange book.
Beloved by Toni Morrison is basically a ghost story. It delves into both the physical horrors of slavery, as well as an actual horror that is haunting a small family.

The novel follows a woman, Sethe, and her daughter Denver as they work to reconstruct their lives after having escaped from slavery. The home that Sethe and Denver move into, that of her mother in law, is haunted by the ghost of Sethe’s daughter. Not far into the story, the women are visited by Paul D., one of the slaves from Sweet Home, the plantation where Sethe and her husband Halle worked. Paul D. forces out the ghost, and the little family leaves for a day at the carnival. However, on their way back, they see a young woman sitting in the front of the house. She is sick, so they take her in to nurse her back to health. Soon it becomes apparent that the young woman, who calls herself Beloved, is in fact the ghost of Sethe’s daughter - reincarnated. When Beloved is back to her normal health, she begins to bring destruction to Sethe, Paul D. and Denver. Sethe and Paul D.’s haunting pasts are slowly brought to the surface – which brings around a whole new dimension to the story itself.
Many awful explanations of different tortures (both psychological and physical) are explained throughout the novel. I am not sure if maybe I wasn’t paying attention in the 4th grade, or what, but I was surprised to hear about all the atrocities that happened during slavery. I mean, I knew horrible things happened, but perhaps going into detail about them was omitted in the 4th grade.  Some of the horrible things that Sethe and Paul D. endured were almost hard to read about - it made me cringe.

I think one of the most hauntingly beautiful images was of Sethe's back. After an extensive whipping at Sweet Home, Sethe's back is described as looking like a chokecherry tree, "See, here's the trunk - it's red and split wide open, full of sap, and this here's the parting for the branches. You got a mighty lot of branches. Leaves, too, look like, and dern if these ain't blossoms." 

I think the story line of the novel was very intriguing, and the characters were pretty interesting too, but the way in which the book was written was very hard to follow. I found myself rereading different parts to make sure I had understood it right. I don’t believe that it is badly written by any means, it is just written from an escaped slave’s point of view for the majority of the novel and the dialect gets confusing.

I do not think this will be my last Toni Morrison book but I do feel like I need time away from reading her work for a while.

On to reading!