I came across this article and laughed at first. How ridiculous that a children's book was banned not because of the content, but because the Texas State Board of Education confused the name of the author with that of a Marxist philosopher. How absurd that James and the Giant Peach was banned at a school in Texas because it contains the word "ass," never mind that the word is referring to the animal, "a long-eared, slow, patient, sure-footed domesticated mammal"[dictionary.com]. If an ass was good enough for Jesus... John 12:14 "And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written." "What would Jesus do" when presented with this book? Get your mind out of the gutter, Texas.*
But this really isn't funny. It is frightening how frequently the ignorant and judgmental try to control the dissemination of knowledge. God, if they could read what I do. I think half of Texas would die of horror and shock just reading this blog. For the record, two of these books were banned on homosexual grounds including Green Eggs and Ham. Seriously.
[Stolen from Buzz Feed]
The land of the free.
Why: The book was banned and then reprinted because it originally showcased a topless beachgoer (not like anyone could find her if they tried, though).
Why: Everyone’s favorite childhood book was banned from a public library in Colorado because it was considered “sexist.” It was also challenged by several schools because it “criminalized the foresting agency.”
Why: Talking animals are somehow considered an “insult to god,” resulting in this book’s banning throughout random parts of the United States. Several institutions in Turkey and the UK have also banned the book, claiming that the character of Piglet is offensive to Muslims. Other institutions claim that the book revolves around Nazism.
Why: The book was banned from an elementary School in Texas because it included the word “ass.”
Why: The book was banned from several schools for being “a bad example for children.” It was also challenged for teaching “children to lie, spy, talk back, and curse.”
Why: Forget anti-semitism; the 50th Anniversary “Definitive Edition’” was instead banned by a Virginia school because of its “sexual content and homosexual themes.” Additionally, the book was previously banned by several schools in the United States because it was “too depressing.” Most recently, in May of 2013, a Michigan mom tried to get the book banned due to its “pornographic tendencies.”
Why: The book was banned from several classrooms in Pennsylvania on accounts of “profanity, disrespect for adults, and an elaborate fantasy world that might lead to confusion.” The book has also been banned by other schools for its use of the phrases “Oh Lord” and “Lord.”
Why: Similar to Winnie-the-Pooh, this book was banned in Kansas because talking animals are considered an “insult to god.”
Why: Apparently there are references to sexual fantasies and masturbation in this book, resulting in its ban from classrooms in New Hampshire. Since this original banning, the book has been challenged by thousands of other institutions, most famously in the 1960s in fear that it would promote drug use to children.
Why: The book was primarily banned in most southern states immediately following its publication, and it has since been challenged due to the fact that it promotes “witchcraft and supernatural events.”
Why: A California school district banned the book and claimed that it “criminalized the foresting industry” and would thus persuade children against logging.
When: “Until as recently as 1991”
Why: Remember that time when Sam I Am tried to seduce his friend? Me neither. But the book was banned in California on accounts of “homosexual seduction.” It was also banned in China for “early Marxism” from 1965 until Dr. Seuss’ death in 1991.
Why: A Colorado library banned the book because it embraced a “poor philosophy of life.” Additionally, since its publication in 1964, the book was under fire for comparing the Oompa Loompas to Africans. The characters’ descriptions were later changed in an edited version in 1988.
Why: All public libraries in Chicago banned the book because of its “ungodly” influence “for depicting women in strong leadership roles.” In 1957, the Detroit Public Library banned the book for having “no value for children of today.”
Why: The Texas State Board of Education briefly banned this picture book after confusing its author, Bill Martin, Jr., with philosopher Bill Martin, author of ‘Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation.’
Why: The 10th edition was banned in several classrooms in California because it included the definition for “oral sex.”
*I have nothing against the people of the State of Texas. I am referring to the large number of book banners that reside there. I think at least a third of all the stories I hear about books being banned or challenged come from Texas.
I flapped a hand at [his best friend], making little hissing noises for him to act natural. "Over there," I whispered out of the corner of my mouth. "Don't screw this up for me."
"I bit back a playful, 'yes, mother'. [sic] We weren't quote close enough for that yet (just, you know, close enough for me to suck his cock and hump myself silly on his boot."
"I gave a startled yelp that quickly turned into--wait for it--a giggle. That would certainly impress him."
All he knew was that Shamus had dared to (minor spoiler) mark Timothy and therefore needed to die a slow, horrible, and extremely messy death a death quite possibly involving power tools of some sort.
There's a reason Jordan L. Hawk is one of my favorite authors and this is juts another example of why. I don't like historical romances. To say I hate them would only be slightly too strong. They are definitely my least favorite sub-genre of romance. Yet I loved this book.
Like I've come to expect from Jordan's books, this is a story of love and passion intermingled with an excellent story that could stand on its own. There is plenty of action, excitement, danger and suspense. She's created unusual monsters that are unlike those seen in other paranormal books. There's even an emotional and personal component to the hell that the characters face which makes it that much more intense.
Her heroes are damaged people with baggage but they're also strong and likeable. Here we have two complete opposites in Whyborne and Griffin. Both, especially Whyborne, grow over the course of the book. I love how Whyborne learns how strong he is and has been all along, what a good person he is. I really felt for them and how difficult their lives were as gay men in that era. (That is one of the reasons I hate historical romances, although far from the only reason.)
The female characters are intelligent, the mother being strong in heart and the Egyptologist Christine strong all over, including physically.
I felt the book started off a little slowly, although something sort of exciting happened at page 20. After that, though, I couldn't put the book down. Thrills alternated with romance which alternated with other emotional and/or research scenes. I didn't even look at page count as I went which is something I do with all stories.
I felt the name of Whyborne's childhood crush a bit too obvious, but perhaps that is my own study of classical history. It's certainly a beautiful name.
All in all, I loved this book and understand why it's done so well. I highly recommend it even for those who do not like historicals and I look forward to reading the second in the series.
This is a hard book to review because there were a lot of things that bothered me about it and yet I loved it. As a result, I'm going to make this review more of a list of things because it's hard to keep it all coherent in my mind.
What I loved:
The action and suspense. The danger and excitement and intrigue. The mortal peril.
The characters and characterization. Every person was unique and I could picture what individual was speaking even without dialog tags or any other direction. Each had his own voice. (Yes, there weren't any important female characters but when one showed up, it wasn't in a sexist way.)
Jed in particular is different from other alpha males. I loved that he's touchy feely and all gooey lovey dovey with Redford and about Redford and then macho "I don't care about anything" with everyone else. The part that's different is that he doesn't hide his intense feelings for Redford and will be all mushy with others around including strangers. He'll sit in Redford's lap and bottoms even more than tops.
He's also an asshole. Sometimes this is really funny but I couldn't help but noticed that sometimes it wasn't so much funny as just mean. The scene where he calls home to talk to his cat was one of these where parts were hilarious and parts had me cringing and wanting to slap him. So I guess this is one of those both love it and hate it pieces.
But his relationship with Redford is beautiful and just got me right here (hand on my chest). I love Redford's innocence and it take's Jed's breath away. I love that they want to touch each other all the time (and that it bugs the hell out of Victor and David). I wish I got a little more from Redford's perspective, but I got enough to know that the intense love is mutual. And it's really wonderful that they both want to defend each other, that although Redford sounds like he's subservient to Jed's alpha maleness, he's not at all. Redford often defers to Jed because he's so ignorant of so much and hasn't been exposed to enough to have an opinion. But when it's something he does know about, they both realize that they're equals (except that Jed's main goal is to protect Redford and is so terrified that something might happen that he isn't always as open and honest as he should be at times).
The relationship, though, is a beautiful juxtaposition with Victor and David's. As the story progresses, we see more and more the differences and what makes a relationship stronger and what hurts it. This comes from both sides, but the things Jed and Redford learn are so different from what Victor and David need to learn. I'm not saying anything here that isn't in the blurb. As J & R just get stronger and stronger together, V & D (oh, that's an unfortunate combo...) start falling apart faster and faster. I think the whole thing is really well done with it's subtlety in that the comparisons are inferred rather than blatant and in your face.
Although I had already figured out from the last book why David was doesn't smell like a human, I didn't understand what was up with Victor outside of his relationship with David. I really liked where that went and where what we found out might be handled in the next book. (How's that for vague?)
The plot was good, too. I wasn't convinced at any point that anyone was right about what was happening. My take on the mystery changed every chapter or so. While there wasn't any new ground broken here, it was still entertaining and the twists usually took me by surprise. There were some parts where clues were left for the reader to figure out stuff at the same time as the MCs, but not completely spoon fed, either.
One of my favorite parts, though was the humor. There were some very funny moments. This one is Jed being absolutely serious: <blockquote>...[He] picked up a souvenir he thought Redford might like to start a collection with. Nothing said <i>class</i> like a shot glass with the pyramids on it. Memorable <i>and</i> practical!</blockquote>and one more (I hope your humor is like mine and that you're not rolling your eyes saying, "That is so not funny, maybedog.") <blockquote>"Learn to see everything," Jed said, almost under his breath. "Don't lose the sight of the forest for the trees." First advice he'd been given, on his first sniper run. Well, after <i>don't jam that gun up your ass and spin, Walker, we need a hit.</i> That was less advice, though and more of a general rule of thumb.</blockquote> and at one point when Redford is upset with Jed for doing something macho and stupid, and Jed is trying to defend himself, David says: <blockquote>As fun as this is going to be to watch," he said with a low smirk, "I've had quite enough bonding togetherness time. Besides, watching someone dig their own grave is just boring after the first six feet."</blockquote> (Although, what the hell is a "low smirk"?)
In this book more than most others, I really got what a horror it is to be a vampire. So many have a protagonist saying they don't want it for their loved ones but it doesn't make any sense because they are almost invincible, can survive on animal blood just fine, and live forever. The only drawback is not being able to go out in the sun and even that is sometimes changed. Here, though, the life is terrifying to think of and dark and dank. I would never want to be a vampire in this world, even if I were faced with immediate death.
(major spoiler related to plot)
What I didn't love:
The pacing was inconsistent. Some sections were just too long, especially with description. Some things felt unnecessary. (I don't know what was up with the prologue--it didn't fit with the story at all.) I felt that there were too many times we saw David's interactions with that which made him crazy.
A psychologist holds a pen and notepad when he's talking to a client. At least when they start to get something important he puts it aside. But seriously, it's distancing so no decent mental health professional would use one. They'd tape if necessary.
I hate Jed's nicknames for Redford, particularly "Fido." It sounds like an insult.
Jed's flirtations. There's no doubt he's head over heels in love with Redford from page one, so this crap pissed me off. True, (medium spoiler)
I think Jed has a drinking problem and it's not addressed. I hope it will be in the next book.
Jed and Red (sounds like the start of a redneck joke) hold hands and more in public. They're in Egypt where homosexuals are routinely arrested and beaten and tortured. Thinking that you're immune to that because you're strong or because you're not Egyptian is just insanity, especially when you're trying to not attract attention to yourself.
At a restaurant where the menu is in Arabic and therefore for locals, they poor a glass of water out of a jug. Only someone who is not used to traveling to developing nations would write this. It is almost never safe to drink water in any country that is not your own except ones that have exceptional filtration systems. It's not just that it might not be clean, it's also that the microbes in it may mess you up even if they're fine for locals. Even fruit picked from a tree can be harmful. It works the other way around, too. An Egyptian coming to the US can also get terrible diarrhea and stomach aches. On top of that, Egypt is not one of the countries with said exceptional filtration systems. People who live there can get sick, too. All in all, BAD idea. Take it from someone who knows first hand, microbial infections are something you never want to get (and I had been very careful!)
There were lots of continuity errors like twice the characters sat in a booth and then Jed put his arm over the back of Redford's chair. Another time someone was sitting in an armchair and is punched in the face which knocks him backward and then has to pick himself of the ground and brushes off the front of his pants. Then someone went to bed fully clothed and a few sentences later woke up in just his boxers.
There's lots of visual confusion, too. I just don't know how the living area of the hotel suite was configured. There were two couches, at least two armchairs, a table that more than one person could sit at, a large TV, a large window with a view across from the entryway, and a door on each of the other walls plus a kitchen that can be scene from the living room with some kind of bar/counter separating it from the living room. This has to be the biggest hotel room in the history of hotel rooms. This is just one issue, though. There were many times that it didn't make any sense how someone could be in one place and then in another place. There was a time when two people stood toe to toe arguing about something on the table between them. Huh?
I also have an issue that isn't just related to this book but to many vampire stories. If vamps have to eat regularly (especially a body every day or two as here) and there are dozens in a city, how would people not notice? Even if only the people who wouldn't be missed are taken, very soon there wouldn't be a homelessness issue because they'd all have disappeared.
At one point the werewolf went back to a scene and said that he couldn't smell anyone other than the victims that had been there. He couldn't smell investigators or rescue workers?
Many times is TSTL. People try to give him tips in working with the supernatural, a whole new world for him, and he just cuts them off or ignores them. He can't be very good at his job if he doesn't get all the info he can before he goes into a situation. Even if he's amazing, there are always surprises and knowledge is key, sometimes the difference between success and death.
The beginning was all about Redford and his (low medium spoiler)
At the end, (huge major big ass don't read if you want to read the book and want to be at all surprised spoiler)
So see my dilemma? I have so many problems with it that it sounds like this would only be a 3 or 3.5 star read, but it was still so fabulous, the positives far outweigh the negatives. Hopefully this review will help you see if you would agree with me or if these less appealing things would drive you crazy.
I loved it so I'm only docking half a star for these issues.
This had so much promise but fell flat. This is probably my least favorite Mary Calmes book, which is very disappointing. It felt rushed and it wasn't as funny as usual. The ending was pretty sudden and I wanted a little more, maybe an epilogue.
I've been complaining lately that I'm uncomfortable with the sexism in Calmes's books. This one wasn't nearly as bad. While the office person was a woman, she was kick ass, although that reminds me too much of Heinlein's heroines. But the main character and his family were way too tolerant of racism. Here's part of the relevant passage:
"My grandmother always said that if my father had just married Susie Apelt like he was supposed to, that I would have had blue eyes instead of brown. I shook my head and explained that I wouldn't even be me without my mother, but she would just wave her ahnd dismissively like I was stupid. Of course I would still be me, just better. My eyes would be the right color. But it was okay; my [Puerto Rican] mother didn't care, because she and my grandmother had become friends over the years. It was, my mother said, generational. My grandmother categorized her friends: my Korean friend Jean, my black friend Tanya, my grandfather's dear Chinese friend Tommy. It was ingrained in her to see the race of a person, just like it had never been ingrained in me to care."
It's one thing to "categorize" people because that's just how you were raised (although that should change over time with exposure to people of different cultures) but saying it's no big deal that a woman says her grandson would have been better if born to a white woman because he'd have blue eyes is disgusting. Yeah, he'd still be him but with blue eyes, but that's disapproval because of his hereditary race traits and also just not approving of how he is.
I also didn't like how the MC thought two people divorced because they weren't happy but that wasn't a good enough reason to "split up a home or a family." That's absolutely a great reason. Kids raised in unhappy opens tend to have a lot more problems than kids whose parents divorced and then found happy lives where the kids could see happy relationships modeled. It wasn't relevant to the story or the completely nonjudgmental character and I feel it was put in just to make a point. This conservative attitude fits with the stuff I mention above and it's soured me a bit on her writing.
But back to the writing. There was major info dumping over and over and the characters ended up talking things to death. There was too much we were expected to read between the lines. For example, at one point a minor character is attacked at home but it's a big scene and we are never told who the attacker is, just a hint by what he says.
I loved Charlie but there was too much time in the book without him in scenes that weren't necessary to the plot. There was so much potential in his past trauma that wasn't explored really. Leo is just kind of there, not really active in his own life. The scene when his mom and dad are arguing was really good, vivid in my mind, and yet his scenes with Charlie were often one dimensional; only the last couple of chapters were better but they also talked everything to death and it was typical Mary Calmes characterization with people wanting Leo.
It hurts to say this but 2.5 stars rounded down because of the racism and judgmental tone.
OMG!! How come strangers know so much about me?!
1. Finding a comfortable reading position is a never-ending quest. Chair or bed? Side or back? In a box? With a fox?
2. On airplanes, you hesitantly flick on the overhead light while everyone else is napping.
3. Paper cuts may look like minor injuries, but the pain can be excruciating.
4. Walking and reading at the same time requires hand-eye coordination only professional athletes have been endowed with.
5. What on earth are you supposed to do with the jacket on a hardcover while you're reading it? Keep it on and risk damaging it? Take it off and store it in a weird nook, never to find it again?
6. Deciding what to read is a choice that presents you with an embarrassment of riches.
7. The typeface and page length of a book can seriously impact your reading experience, sometimes for the worse (sans-serif font is a huge no-no).
8. A book can be composed of the worst drivel you've ever laid eyes on, you're still afflicted with major guilt when you banish it to the "I Will Never Ever Ever Finish This. Like, Ever." shelf.
9. You lament time that you've wasted in the past; all of those hours scouring celebrity Twitters could have been put towards finally reading [The Charioteer]!
10. Some people count down the minutes until their lunch hour; you count down the minutes until [Abigail Roux] or [Dani Alexander] releases their next book (roughly 5 million for [Alexander], but who's counting?!)
11. Finishing a book you loved is like saying goodbye to a good friend. You've been through so much together! And while you may see each other again, it won't be quite the same.
12. Forget finding roommates; the most stressful thing about moving is figuring out a way to transport boxes upon boxes of heavy books.
13. You're constantly rethinking your bookshelf strategy. Should you color-coordinate, or take a more practical approach, such as publication date or alphabetization? Or, if you're feeling ambitious, should you tackle the autobiographical bookshelf, à la [David Sedaris] from Me Talk Pretty One Day?
14. Your mood is directly impacted by the mood of the book that you're reading; your friends have learned to avoid you during [Josh Lanyon] months or [Kaje Harper] weeks.
15. You take found books home like abandoned puppies, chirping, "Can we keep it?!" That'd be well and good if it didn't happen once a day.
16. One does not simply walk by a bookstore. One must poke around, at the very least, and one usually ends up filling one's tote bag with more books than one can carry.
17. "I don't read" is a relationship death knell, akin to "I loathe my mother" or "I enjoy upsetting kittens."
18. You may or may not own two (or three or four) copies of a beloved book. You can't help it, the redesigned covers are irresistible!
19. Laundry day and other important obligations get completely overlooked when you're in the middle of a great, un-put-downable book. "Same shirt Saturday"? Sorry you're not sorry.
[Names in brackets were changed by me to fit this blog.]