#BannedBooksWeek: Banned Books I’ve Read

It’s that time of year again – the time to celebrate reading freedom. It is a week at the end of September that “highlights the value of free and open access to information.”

I live with the lifestyle that I, and everyone around me, should be able to read whatever they want. Reading is such a personal experience that I couldn’t imagine not letting someone read something because it may not agree with your stance on the book. I mean, I didn’t stop my mom from reading Fifty Shades of Grey even though I absolutely abhor that book and everything that is stands for. We should all be reading what we want to read – the only people who has the ability to ban someone from reading something is yourself for yourself…and then at that point it’s not so much ‘banning’ as choosing not to read it.

Most of the life lessons I’ve learned while reading have come from books that are banned or challenged, so I will always be in favour of reading freedom. Read what you like, read what you want, and don’t listen to what anyone else says.

Now that that is out of the way here is the list of the most frequently banned or challenged books I have read:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Blues Eye by Toni Morrison

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell 

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling 

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov

Animal Farm by George Orwell

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

I think that is all of them…well from what I have found anyway.

What banned or challenged books have you read?

Audiobook First Impression: City of Bones

Book Details:
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Narrator: Ari Graynor
Released: March 27th 2007
Goodreads Rating: 4.12
My Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Goodreads Summary:
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Quick Review:
If you have seen my books I couldn’t finish post you will know that when I first tried reading the City of Bones by Cassandra Clare I had to stop because I, for the life of me, could not get through the book. That being said, I really didn’t want to NOT finish it because I knew it had such a big following and I just wanted to be part of another YA phenomenon to fill the Harry Potter and The Hunger Games void in my heart. So I decided to switch to the audiobook format and just power through it whenever I got the opportunity. I did end up finishing the book (finally) but my thoughts when I started reading to when I finished listening did not change. I really, really, really disliked this book. Like…really, really, really.

I hated Clary, I hated Jace, the villains were shite, nothing made sense; I could honestly go on and on about what I didn’t like about the book (don’t even get me started on the 2 hours of my life wasted on the movie), but I’ll mention a few (emphasis on few) things I did enjoy.

I liked Simon and I didn’t mind Alec and Isabelle…oh, and I didn’t mind Magnus Bane too much either, but other than those few characters I really didn’t like anything else. A lot of the characters were already very familiar to me (hmm I wonder why)…

But yeah, I didn’t like the book and the only reason why I would continue the series is because I have heard that it gets better…and I have the box set from when it was at Costco (best book bargains, by the way).

Audiobook First Impression:
As mentioned previously, this was my first experience with audiobooks. I was excited to try something new, especially since I commute a lot and sometimes reading an actual book just doesn’t work out. The convenience of listening instead of reading proved positive when I would walk to meet friends or go to the gym and then while at the gym. But while the convenience of not having to actually read the book was high, it did nothing for me.

I found that I wasn’t fully immersing myself in the story like I would when reading a book, and I was forgetting parts of the plot. A lot of the time I actually found myself zoning out and not picking up anything at all…on a plane I actually fell asleep while listening and didn’t bother going back. That, of course, also has to do with my lack of enthusiasm for the story (I really could not care any less).

The narrator was also an issue for me. I was not fond of the voice and found it overly annoying at times and I think it made me dislike Clary even more than I already did.

This was definitely not a good first impression of audiobooks, but I don’t think I’m going to completely give up just yet…I might just wait awhile before I try again. I would definitely have to work on not tuning out the voices and trying to actually retain information from the story, but maybe if the book and narrator were better I wouldn’t have such a difficult time.

If you have any audiobook recommendations let me know in the comments below or on twitter @throughpgs. I really want to try again, but I think I need to find the right one.

Review: The Maze Runner Trilogy

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I really need to step up my reviewing game. It has been extremely weak as of late and I am extremely sorry. I should probably also apologise for not posting in a while, but I’ve been so busy at home and with all the other stuff I work on (4YE and Hashtag Magazine)…plus TIFF (the Toronto International Film Festival – I saw Benedict Cumberbatch in the flesh and I don’t know how to deal with it. Let me know if you want to see some pictures and I can put them up on Twitter!), movies and red carpets galore. Don’t think I haven’t been reading through all this though. During this time I have managed to finish up the Maze Runner trilogy right in time for the release of The Maze Runner movie on September 19th.

Much like with my review of the Divergent trilogy, I decided to not individually review these books but wait until I finished all three to do one collective post. I won’t delay any longer, here we go:

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Liebster Award Nomination

I want to thank BTBPD Reader for nominating me for the Liebster Award – it feels awesome to be nominated especially after such a horrible August! I’m so honoured to be nominated by a blog that I love to read! 

I was tagged to answer 11 questions and at the end I will come up with another 11 questions to ask whomever I will nominate, so let’s do this!

1. What is your favourite book that you’ve read for school?

Considering I studied English Literature in university and most of my high school classes were in the English field I have read a LOT of great books over my looooong educational career. Is it okay if I separate between different levels of schooling? Well I’m going to do it regardless so…
In elementary school I think my favourite book has to be a three way tie between Animal Farm by George Orwell, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, and The Giver by Lois Lowry. My favourite book from high school is hands down The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and my favourite book from university was The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.
I think I cheated a bit with this one, but rules are just a guideline…

2. Which book would you recommend that I read?

Some of my favourite books to recommend are:
White Oleander by Janet Finch and She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb.
I’m not sure if you have read them, but even if you have you can totally reread them because they are beautiful.

3. If you could go on a date with any one literary character, who would it be and why?

How can you make me choose between one fictional boyfriend? That’s just mean :P. I think at this point in time, since I read it not too long ago, I would have to choose Levi from Fangirl because he is actually perfect – plus he works at Starbucks, so free coffee.

4. What is your favorite opening line?

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of Number 4, Privet Drive were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” –Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

“It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.” – The Bell Jar

“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. Whenever you feel like criticising any one, he told me, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” – The Great Gatsby

5. Where do you like best to read?

I’m not super picky about where I read, but I do get the most reading done in my bed, on a couch, or on a bus/train/subway etc.

6. What is your favourite book that you’ve read this year?

My favouite book that I have read this year so far would have to be American Gods by Neil Gaiman

7. What is your favourite genre to read and why?

I used to to think it was any genre in the YA bracket (dystopian, contemporary, fantasy, etc), but I think it is definitely more adult contemporary novels and historical fiction. I’m not entirely sure why, I just find that they are the books that am drawn to – it could be because a lot of the novels I read are recommendations from family who read those genres.

8. Favorite book-to-movie adaptation?

I think, at this moment in time, I would have to say either The Fault in Our Stars, Perks of Being a Wallflower or Catching Fire because they just kept so true to the book. Can I pick a book-to-TV adaptation because then it is 100% Game of Thrones.

9. If you could live in any fictional world, which one would you choose and why?

Either the magical world in Harry Potter or Narnia because you could escape for as long as you want and when you come back to reality no time has actually passed so it doesn’t allow you to lose out on real life. Also Aslan.

10. Which Harry Potter house would you want to be in, and which house do you think you’d be in (if they’re not the same)?

I’d want to be Gryffindor because I think everyone secretly wants to be part of the ‘cool’ house, but I’m a Hufflepuff through and through.

11. What is your favourite book with a red cover?

Probably Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone because it started it all and Catching Fire because it is my favourite in the series.

Thanks again for the nomination. My 11 questions are as follows:

  1. What is a book that you were surprised you enjoyed?
  2. What book would you love to see turned into a film?
  3. Which adaptation format do you prefer (movie, tv, theatre, etc)?
  4. What is your favourite book cover?
  5. If you could go back in time and relive the experience of a first reading again, what book would it be for?
  6. What is your guilty pleasure book, author, or genre?
  7. Is there a book that you pretend you’ve read even though you haven’t? If yes, which book?
  8. What is your favourite quote about books or reading?
  9. If you had to pick one, which dystopian world would you live in?
  10. E-book or physical book?
  11. Be honest…do you judge books by their cover?

I nominate Caught Read Handed, thebookiemonsters, The Reading Shelf, and Reeder Reads.

Can’t wait to see your answers!

Getting Through the Pile One Book at a Time: September TBR

TBR

Alert the press: I finally have time to read! I’m hoping that my reading game is strong in September and I manage to catch up on my year challenge on Goodreads – I’m six book behind *gulp*. This month is just going to find me applying for jobs (I need money to buy more books after all), writing, reading, and maybe contemplating setting up a book vlog. Maybe. (Seriously though, let me know if that is something you want to see). I’m going to be making this list a little hefty because I want to challenge myself this month to read as much as I possibly can! So without further ado, here is my September TBR:

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Getting Through the Pile One Book at a Time: August Wrap Up

Wrap Up

Well August was a total fail when it came to reading, but I actually have a pretty good excuse for it. I not only had to complete a 15,000 word dissertation by August 20th, but on August 24th I moved back home from Edinburgh to Toronto. I think it is safe to say that August was an extremely busy month. While I read hundreds of articles on my dissertation topic, I only managed to read one and a half books. Sad, I know. Without further ado, here are the books I read this month:

Quick review:
This book is super adorable. I thought it was funny, relevant, and a very easy read. It was the first book I read after a very stressful month and it was the perfect way to just get lost in a story and just have a lot of fun. I loved the way the book touched on a very serious issue in today’s society, but dealt with it and stayed humorous at the same time. To read my full review of this book click here!
My Rating:
3.5 out of 5

Quick review:
I still haven’t finished this book, but I can say that I am enjoying it. Since I liked the Maze Runner so much I did have really high expectations for the rest of the series, so I’m not enjoying it quite as much as I did the Maze Runner. That being said it is still crazy exciting and I can’t wait to see how it ends – only 50% left! 
My Rating:
To be decided

And that’s is that! I will get my September TBR up ASAP and it will be a decent size considering all this new time I have to read! If you want to follow my reading progress follow me on Goodreads or on Twitter at @throughpgs.

What did you read this month? Let me know!