The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 10-1-23

Today is the start of Banned Books Week, an event which has always called attention to the books that are challenged and banned in school and public libraries across the country. It’s an event that has become increasingly both important and fraught with meaning in this moment, as the number of challenges has increased exponentially in the last few years while the themes of those challenges have emerged as being ever more chilling as, no matter what the challenges may claim, the overall desire that emerges is the need of some to erase the voices of those who are different from themselves, with the goal of not merely erasing those voices, but ultimately, the people behind those voices.

This has all happened before. Banned Books Week does its very best to drag the issue out of the shadows and into the light, so that it doesn’t happen again.


I usually read a book from the Banned and Challenged list this week, but I decided to try something different this year. The 272: The Families Who Were Enslaved and Sold to Build the American Catholic Church by Rachel L. Swarns is not on the Banned and Challenged list YET because it was just published this summer. However, it is exactly the kind of book that will find itself on the list in years to come, because it challenges the traditional perceptions of people and institutions that are considered to be great which got to where they are by abusing the labor and the very persons of people of color. It reminds me a bit of The 1619 Project, which I absolutely considered for this week but wanted to listen to because I’ve heard great things about the audiobook version. So, I bought it instead and plan to plan a little better next year.

Current Giveaways:

$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the Fall Seasons of Books 2023 Giveaway Hop

Winner Announcements:

The winner of the Holiday Kickoff Giveaway Hop is Cali

Blog Recap:

Fall Seasons of Books 2023 Giveaway Hop
A Review: A Duke’s Introduction to Courtship by Sophie Barnes
B Review: The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch by Melinda Taub
A Review: Bad Blood by Lauren Dane
A+ Review: Osprey by M.L. Buchman
Stacking the Shelves (568)

Coming This Week:

The Hunter’s Apprentice by Lindsay Schopfer (review)
Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor (audio review)
The Circumference of the World by Lavie Tidhar (review)
Howl-O-Ween Giveaway Hop
The 272 by Rachel L. Swarns (review)

The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 9-27-20

Sunday Post

Today is the first day of Banned Books Week, and it seems more appropriate than ever. Because censorship is one of the tools of tyranny. It may seem as if the point of Banned Books Week is to talk about the books that have been banned or challenged, and it is. But it’s really about the idea that someone else can restrict what you read – because restricting reading, and restricting what is available to read – is one of the many tools that authoritarian governments use when they want to keep their people ignorant and unthinking. Think about it. And READ!

Current Giveaways:

$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the Fabulous Fall Giveaway Hop
$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in An Apple a Day Giveaway Hop

Blog Recap:

A+ Review: The Silence of the White City by Eva Garcia Saenz
B- Review; The Seventh Perfection by Daniel Polansky
A++ Review: Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots
A- Review: Burning Roses by S.L. Huang
B+ Review: Remember Me by Mario Escobar
Stacking the Shelves (411)

Coming This Week:

The Dragon Waiting by John M. Ford (review)
At the Clearest Sensation by M.L. Buchman (review)
The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry (review)
Color Me Lucky Giveaway Hop
A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik (review)

Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop

banned books week giveaway hop 2015

Welcome to the Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop, hosted by Bookhounds and I Am a Reader.

First of all, “What is Banned Books Week”?

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. It focuses on efforts across the U.S. to remove or restrict access to books. I’m going to put on my librarian hat here to say that the reasons that someone might want to restrict access to, or ban, a book are many and varied. While when someone says “banned books” most people thing of sex, in real life anything that makes some people uncomfortable will incite in those people the idea of banning that book so that other people aren’t exposed to whatever it is that just made them uncomfortable.

Violence gets challenged. Speaking truth to power gets challenged. Books that contain historical truths that make people uncomfortable get challenged. Books that appear to uphold an opposing, untraditional or unpopular viewpoint get challenged. And yes, books that include sexual references, or even merely seem to include sexual references, often get challenged.

As I said in my Banned Books Week post a few years ago, “Everything bothers somebody”. And if that somebody gets bothered enough, they may try to ban the book that bothered them.

But Banned Books Week celebrates the Freedom to Read. Just because a book upsets one person, or even a whole group of people, does not mean that those who are upset have the right to prevent others from reading that book. If one person’s meat is another person’s poison, then one person’s book to ban is another person’s book to cherish.

This year’s Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association;American Booksellers for Free Expression; the American Library Association;American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of American PublishersComic Book Legal Defense Fund; the Freedom to Read FoundationNational Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; National Association of College Stores; People for the American WayPEN American Center and and Project Censored.  And it is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.
alternate banned books banner 2015For more information on Banned Books Week, including the absolutely fascinating lists of frequently challenged books, visit the official Banned Books Week site. The books on those list are guaranteed to contain more than a few surprises.

This year’s Banned Books Week especially celebrates Young Adult books, because books for teens are so frequently challenged.

In my own celebration of Banned Books Week, I’m participating in the Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop. The prize is either a $10 Gift Card or a $10 Book, so that you can get your own Banned Book to read.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
For more bookish prizes, and more info about Banned Books Week, be sure to visit the other stops on the hop: <!– end LinkyTools script –>

Celebrate the Freedom to Read!

Have you ever read a Banned Book? I bet you have. You might have even read a banned book to your child! Because it’s not all about sex. Violence gets challenged. Speaking truth to power gets challenged. And so do historical truths that make people uncomfortable.

And yes, sex makes a lot of people very uncomfortable!

This week, September 30-October 6, is Banned Books Week in the U.S. It celebrates the Freedom to Read what we want, when we want, and, I think, however we want, whether that’s print, audiobook, or ebook. Something that’s going to become increasingly important in the future.

It’s fitting that one of the most frequently challenged books of all time is 1984 by George Orwell. Lest we forget, 1984 is the book that brought us the very concept of “Big Brother”.

It’s easy to talk about the books that get banned or challenged. And I heartily recommend that you take a look at those lists over at the official Banned Books Week site and at the American Library Association site. The range of titles and subjects will astonish you.

Everything bothers somebody.

The whole point of Banned Books Week, and its clarion call to Celebrate the Freedom to Read, is that if I don’t want to read something, that shouldn’t stop you from being able to read it, and if you don’t want to read something, you  shouldn’t be able to stop me from reading it.

Comic books and manga are particularly challenged.  That’s why the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is one of the supporters of Banned Books Week. Heck, that’s why there IS a Comic Book Legal Defense Fund in the first place!

The other supporters are the American Booksellers Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the American Library Association, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Association of American Publishers, the Freedom to Read Foundation, the National Association of College Stores, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the National Council of Teachers of English, the PEN American Center and Project Censored.

What can you do to celebrate the Freedom to Read? See if there’s a Banned Books Week event going on in your community this week. Many bookstores and libraries are sponsoring “Read Outs” – continuous readings of banned books. If you’re a blogger, write a blog post about Banned Books Week. Everyone can participate in the Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out on YouTube.

If you’re still wondering which banned book you might have read to your child, or had read to you as a child, it’s Maurice Sendak’s marvelous Where the Wild Things Are. And it is truly wild to think that someone might deprive a child the joy of that book through censorship.

Celebrate the Freedom to Read, read a banned book.






This post was originally published at Book Lovers Inc

The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? 9-30-12

Wasn’t the Naughty or Nice Blog Hop a terrific idea?  My vote would have been for mostly naughty, I think, but of course, I can’t enter my own hop. And I just finished a terrific romance that would actually have come down on the “nice” side of the equation. Mostly, I like a good story, no matter what. But then, I also like mysteries, where the point is a “nice” dead body, or science fiction, where the point is a fast rocket ship. I’m funny that way.

The winner of the Naughty or Nice Blog Hop at Reading Reality, and that $15 Amazon Gift Card is Laurie Goudge. The lucky winner has already been notified by email.

This week’s reviews (and a couple of giveaways) in addition to the Blog Hop… here’s a look back at the past week:

Ebook Review Central Featured Titles: #1 Doubtless by Cat Grant (Riptide), #2 Wilde’s Army by Krystal Wade (Curiosity Quills), #3 Bone Wires by Michael Shean (Curiosity Quills)
B+ Review: The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors + Chocolate Giveaway
A- Review: Blood and Whiskey (Cowboy and Vampire #2) by Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall + Interview
A- Review: Willow Pond by Carol Tibaldi + Book Giveaway
B Review: Paradise 21 (A New Dawn #1) by Aubrie Dionne

Chocolate lovers take note! There is still plenty of time to get in on Suzanne Selfors’ chocolate, yes, I said chocolate, giveaway! She is giving away a chocolate prize to one lucky US winner to celebrate the release of The Sweetest Spell. And it is a very, very sweet book, and prize.

Speaking of chocolate, let’s look ahead to what’s coming up this week!

If you’re wondering how chocolate could possibly be relevant, I have the answer right here.

Tuesday, my guest will be Sheila Roberts, and the book she’ll be talking about (and that I will be reviewing) is her latest book, Better than Chocolate. While for some of us that may be strange thought, let’s just say that the story in the book makes a fairly good point. (Also the hero is allergic to chocolate, so his opinion on the subject is somewhat prejudiced.) The course of true love and the saving of a chocolate company and the town that depends on it, does not exactly run as smooth as a creamy caramel center in this small town romance. But the story is pretty yummy.

We switch from small town sweetness to the hard edge of military romantic suspense on Thursday with Christi Snow and her debut novel Operation: Endgame. Christi is a well-known romance blogger (Smitten with Reading) but this is her first time on the other side of the fence, and she’s hit this one out of the park. I’m really looking forward to her interview.

In addition to blogging, one of the things that I’m going to be doing this week is speaking at the Southeastern Library Association Conference in Macon, Georgia about one of my favorite topics, “Ebooks in Libraries”. Last week, my friends at Book Lovers Inc let me do the Bookish Rant for the week on that very topic, more or less. At SELA, I’ll be on the good side of the topic, introducing my fellow librarians to sources for terrific ebooks that libraries can get for patrons.

Last week, my Bookish Rant on How Much Does an Ebook Cost? was the flip side of the problem. My post was about the high prices libraries pay for ebooks from the “Big 6” publishers and the difficulties libraries have getting books from most of those publishers. Small and mid-size publishers, like most of the romance publishers, are much, much friendlier to libraries.

And last but not least, Banned Books Week starts today, September 30, and runs through October 6. This week’s Bookish Post at Book Lovers Inc will be about Banned Books Week, and I will also post it here while I’m off at the conference (scheduling posts is a wonderful thing!)

Anyone can participate in Banned Books Week. If there is no event in your area, you can take part in the Virtual Read-Out online. Just record 2 minutes reading from a banned book and why you think that book is important. The full info for participation is here.

If you want to be stylish while you read your banned book for Banned Books Week, or at any time during the year, Out of Print Clothing has a fantastic line of bookish t-shirts designed from classic book covers. It’s amazing how many of the truly iconic books, with instantly recognizable covers, have been banned.

Celebrate the Freedom to Read! Read a banned book.

The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? 9-23-12

If you haven’t hopped on over to the Naughty or Nice Blog Hop yet, what are you waiting for? Nat at Reading Romances organized a terrific blog hop around the age-old question, “what kind of romances do you like best, naughty romances or nice?” If you’re willing to answer that question on this blog, you’ll have a chance at a $15 Amazon Gift Card. There are almost 90 blogs participating, so there are lots of other fantastic bookish giveaways!

What else happened besides the blog hop this week? Funny you should ask. I did review a few books.

B+ Review: The Cowboy and the Vampire by Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall
B Review: Racing With The Wind by Regan Walker + Giveaway
B+ Review: Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
C- Review: The Last Victim by Karen Robards

There is still plenty of time to get in on a chance to win a copy of Regan Walker’s Racing With the Wind. If you enjoy historical romance, especially if you liked Shana Galen’s Lord and Lady Spy or the historical parts of Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation series, give this one a try.

But what about this week, I hear you asking? Or at least I hope I hear you asking. (Mostly, I’m hearing a cat with the “screaming me-me’s”at the moment because I’m blogging instead of paying attention to Her Highness!)

Schedules happen. That’s not quite how that saying goes, but we’ll take it as read. After Monday’s Ebook Review Central (this week it’s the Hexapost) this week I definitely have the interview with Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall about their fascinating journey towards each other and to the writing of their darkly romantic western vampire thriller series, Cowboy and Vampire. They’ll be here on Wednesday, along with my review of the second book in the series, Blood and Whiskey.


Before Wednesday, we’ll have a real treat. It’s that chocolate treat I promised last week. Suzanne Selfors will be here to talk about The Sweetest Spell, her fairy tale about an outcast girl who is the only person in her world who has the magic to make chocolate. Talk about a much, much better version of the King Midas power! Wow! One lucky commenter on the blog will receive a very special prize from Suzanne. Come back Tuesday to read the review and her interview and find out what the prize is and how to enter.


Chocolate on Tuesday, Vampires on Wednesday, what’s left? Mystery. On Thursday, my guest will be Carol Tibaldi, discussing her kidnapping mystery, Willow Pond. Part of the fascination of Willow Pond is the setting; it’s not just set in the 1920’s, so there’s the whole Art Deco/Roaring 20’s era style, but it’s also the time of Prohibition and speakeasies and the Mob. The story also has the hint of Golden Age Hollywood and a high-profile kidnapping.  This story has oodles of mystery and suspense in an utterly fascinating time.

It’s going to be a busy week. Looking ahead to next week, there’s something more important than any individual book I might be planning to read, and that’s the freedom to read whatever book I might want to read.

Next Sunday, September 30, is the beginning of Banned Books Week. A week that celebrates the freedom to read. Last year, there was a Virtual Read-Out, an opportunity to upload a video of a reading of a banned or challenged book. The list of books you can pick from is frightening. And ironic.

I’m planning to do it again this year. I’ll read from Fahrenheit 451, wearing my Fahrenheit 451 t-shirt, explaining why the book is important. Or maybe I’ll pick Brave New World this time. It’s also on the list. It’s all about the irony of not letting “Big Brother” choose my reading for me.

If you don’t want “Big Brother” to ever be able to choose your reading for you, support Banned Books Week.




Banned Books and the literature of ideas

September 24 – October 1, 2011 is Banned Books Week.

What is Banned Books Week? Or maybe the question should be, why is Banned Books Week?

Banned Books Week is sponsored or endorsed by the American Booksellers Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the American Library Association, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Association of American Publishers, the National Association of College Stores, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the National Council of Teachers of English and the PEN American Center.

These organizations all have something in common. They all want to protect everyone’s freedom to make their own reading choices.

The U.S. Constitution, in the Bill of Rights, protects the freedom of speech and freedom of the press. It says nothing about the listener’s right to hear what is said, or the reader’s right to read what that free press publishes. If a tree falls in the forest, and no one hears it fall, does it matter whether the tree fell or not? Writers write so that their words are read, so that their voices are heard. If their works are suppressed, then the tree might as well not have fallen.

Every year books are challenged, and sometimes banned, from libraries across the United States. In a case this summer, the Republic Missouri School District banned two books from their high school library. Twenty Boy Summer, by Sarah Ockler, an extremely well-reviewed book targeted at grades 9-11, is still banned. Slaughterhouse-Five, a classic from Kurt Vonnegut, has been placed on such restricted access it might as well be banned. What do I mean by restricted? In order for a high-school student to check out Slaughterhouse, their parent has to come to the high school library to check it out for them.

Slaughterhouse-Five is Vonnegut’s science fictionalized version of his experiences in World War II. It is not the only work of science fiction on the frequently challenged list. Far from it. This week, SF Signal put together an incredible flow chart of the top 100 science fiction and fantasy books from the recent NPR poll. Looking at the chart, it’s amazing, and frightening, how many of those works overlap the banned and challenged list. Not just Brave New World and Animal Farm and 1984, either. But also Flowers for Algernon and The Handmaid’s Tale. Even The Lord of the Rings has been challenged more than once. And there’s always the never-ending irony that Fahrenheit 451 gets challenged frequently.

But it’s not really surprising if you think about it. Science fiction is the literature of ideas. New ideas are always challenging. And challenged.

As part of the observance of Banned Books Week, there is a Virtual Read-Out on YouTube of participants reading from their favorite Banned Books. Check it out.