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 9-18-22

Banned Books Week begins today, and I can’t even. By that I mean that the whole mess has gotten so far out of hand that when I try to talk about it I end up stuttering in rage. I know I’m not alone. The whole damn point of a public library is that it has something in it to offend everyone. Not because libraries set out to be offensive, but because no matter how much a community’s residents might seem the same on the outside, they still represent many different beliefs and perspectives. And the members of that community will have to go out and deal with the rest of the damn world, which will undoubtedly have even more different perspectives. Reading opens the mind – and that seems to be what so many people who want to censor books are the most afraid of. Or to quote Stephen King, “Censorship and the suppression of reading materials are rarely about family values and almost always about control, about who is snapping the whip, who is saying no, and who is saying go.”

Go forth and read a banned book. Find out just what it is that someone doesn’t want you – or anyone else – to know.

Current Giveaways:

$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the Summer 2022 Seasons of Books Giveaway Hop (ENDS WEDNESDAY along with the season!)
$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the Fabulous Fall Giveaway Hop
$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the Falling into Leaves Giveaway Hop

Winner Announcements:

The winner of the Glam and Glitz Giveaway Hop is Christy R.

Blog Recap:

C+ Review: Haven by Emma Donoghue
A- Review: Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
B- Review: The Book Haters’ Book Club by Gretchen Anthony
C Review: Lucky Girl by Mary Rickert
Falling into Leaves Giveaway Hop
Thankful for Books Giveaway Hop Sign Up 2022
Stacking the Shelves (514)

Coming This Week:

Silver Under Nightfall by Rin Chupeco (review)
Hades: Sentinel Security #2 by Anna Hackett (review)
Drunk on Love by Jasmine Guillory (blog tour review)
Fall 2022 Seasons of Books Giveaway Hop
Sweetwater and the Witch by Jayne Castle (blog tour 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)

Review: The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Review: The Library Book by Susan OrleanThe Library Book by Susan Orlean
Format: eARC
Source: supplied by publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: hardcover, paperback, large print, ebook, audiobook
Genres: books and reading, history, libraries, true crime
Pages: 336
Published by Simon & Schuster on October 16, 2018
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes &

Susan Orlean, hailed as a “national treasure” by The Washington Post and the acclaimed bestselling author of Rin Tin Tin and The Orchid Thief, reopens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, and delivers a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution—our libraries.

On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual false alarm. As one fireman recounted later, “Once that first stack got going, it was Goodbye, Charlie.” The fire was disastrous: It reached 2,000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed 400,000 books and damaged 700,000 more. Investigators descended on the scene, but over thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who?

Weaving her life-long love of books and reading with the fascinating history of libraries and the sometimes-eccentric characters who run them, award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean presents a mesmerizing and uniquely compelling story as only she can. With her signature wit, insight, compassion, and talent for deep research, she investigates the legendary Los Angeles Public Library fire to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives. To truly understand what happens behind the stacks, Orlean visits the different departments of the LAPL, encountering an engaging cast of employees and patrons and experiencing alongside them the victories and struggles they face in today’s climate. She also delves into the evolution of libraries across the country and around the world, from a metropolitan charitable initiative to a cornerstone of national identity. She reflects on her childhood experiences in libraries; studies arson and the long history of library fires; attempts to burn a copy of a book herself; and she re-examines the case of Harry Peak, the blond-haired actor long suspected of setting fire to the library over thirty years ago. Along the way, she reveals how these buildings provide much more than just books—and that they are needed now more than ever.

Filled with heart, passion, and unforgettable characters, The Library Book is classic Susan Orlean, and an homage to a beloved institution that remains a vital part of the heart, mind, and soul of our country and culture.

My Review:

This is Banned Books Week. As part of my own personal Banned Books Week celebration I read and review at least one book about libraries, or books, or a book that has been banned. Or Fahrenheit 451 which kind of hits the trifecta.

The Library Book is not about book banning. Instead, it’s about book burning. Not the kind of book burning that occurs in Fahrenheit 451, but something less political but unfortunately just as deliberate.

It’s about a real-life case that definitely involved the perfect temperature, and conditions, for burning books. An awful lot of books.

But that’s not the only thing in The Library Book. A big part of the story revolves around that calamitous fire, the ultimately inconclusive investigation into its cause, and the massive amount of effort required in its aftermath for the Los Angeles Public Library’s Central Library to open for business once more.

In the process of investigating the fire, the author also took a deep dive into the current operations of LAPL. In the end, this book serves as a love letter to one of the great public libraries in the United States, and ultimately to all public libraries.

The process of looking at and into LAPL as it is today, the way that its mission has changed and adapted, and all of the many ways that it continues to serve its rich and varied community, showcases the vital work that libraries perform in the 21st century. And makes the case, yet again, that libraries are not dusty repositories of books.

That the author also rediscovered her own love of libraries, and the sweetness of the childhood memories she had wrapped around them, was the icing on the cake.

Reality Rating A: When I first picked this up I was expecting more than a bit of “insider baseball” – but I’m happy to report that is not the case. The author is looking at the library’s operation from the point of view of an interested bystander, a user of libraries, and not someone on the inside.

That being said, the operations she described will be familiar to anyone who has ever worked in a library, particularly those of us who have worked in some of the large urban libraries. While the Los Angeles community served by LAPL is different from Chicago, many of the internal workings of a large urban library seem to be the same.

The story of the fire is fascinating and heartbreaking. Like the author, I wondered why I did not remember the events when they occurred. I was a working librarian at the time. But the fire, as big as it was (and it was HUGE) could not eclipse the news of the Chernobyl disaster. Not much can compete with the potential end of the world as we know it.

Readers will find the investigation frustrating, as did investigators at the time. The story has all the elements of a true crime thriller – but with no definitive ending. Somebody set this fire, but we’ll never know who. This part of the story lacks closure but is true to life. There was a strong suspect with a weak alibi, but ultimately it’s a mystery.

What emerges from The Library Book, along with smoke that can still be sniffed between the pages of those books that survived the fire, is a portrait of libraries as community institutions, and just how vital they can be when they reach out and serve.

In the end, the story in some ways reminds me of the recent events in Brazil and the fire that consumed the National History Museum in Rio de Janeiro. Both fires were the largest of their kind. Both took place in buildings that were known to be firetraps – places where maintenance and prevention had been neglected for years. And both were conflagrations that caused incalculable losses of knowledge and history.

LAPL rose from its ashes, with a lot of blood, sweat, tears and above all, effort. Perhaps someday the National History Museum of Brazil will as well.

Review: Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence

Review: Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie SpenceDear Fahrenheit 451: A Librarian's Love Letters and Break-Up Notes to the Books in Her Life by Annie Spence
Formats available: hardcover, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 288
Published by Flatiron Books on September 26th 2017
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes &

A Gen-X librarian's snarky, laugh-out-loud funny, deeply moving collection of love letters and break-up notes to the books in her life.

Librarians spend their lives weeding--not weeds but books! Books that have reached the end of their shelf life, both literally and figuratively. They remove the books that patrons no longer check out. And they put back the books they treasure. Annie Spence, who has a decade of experience as a Midwestern librarian, does this not only at her Michigan library but also at home, for her neighbors, at cocktail parties—everywhere. In Dear Fahrenheit 451, she addresses those books directly. We read her love letters to The Goldfinch and Matilda, as well as her snarky break-ups with Fifty Shades of Grey and Dear John. Her notes to The Virgin Suicides and The Time Traveler’s Wife feel like classics, sure to strike a powerful chord with readers. Through the lens of the books in her life, Annie comments on everything from women’s psychology to gay culture to health to poverty to childhood aspirations. Hilarious, compassionate, and wise, Dear Fahrenheit 451 is the consummate book-lover's birthday present, stocking stuffer, holiday gift, and all-purpose humor book.

My Review:

There’s a song in this book, or at least a subtitle, “To All the Books I’ve Loved Before”. And that observation also nicely encapsulates the level of snarky librarian attitude displayed throughout.

And this is also a terrific book to highlight Banned Books Week this week, as so many of the classics (and definitely less than classics) that the author pens her virtual missives to have been banned or challenged at one point or another.

Her letter to Fahrenheit 451 is every bit as meta as it should be. This absolutely timeless story about banning books has itself been banned multiple times in multiple places. Reading it reminds all of us librarians and our allies what it is we fight for when we fight for the freedom to read. And it’s a damn good book.

But the letter I particularly loved was her love letter to To Kill a Mockingbird, which has also been banned and challenged for decades. She loves it, because To Kill a Mockingbird is responsible for her lifelong love affair with books and reading. Not because she herself has read it, but because it is the book that turned her older sister into a lifelong reader. And it is her older sister who passed that gift that keeps on giving, to her.

There are love letters, and sometimes hate letters and snark-filled letters, to some other books that may not be classics, but still get regularly challenged. Like Twilight, which is as far from classic as it gets. Many people loved it, but that does not mean it will survive the test of time that makes a classic. Its derivative, Fifty Shades of Grey, also comes in for its fair share of that same attitude.

They’ve both been banned, Twilight for its witchcraft, and Grey for its sexuality. Having read both, these are books that I personally will be happy to see fall into the scrap-head of history – or the weeding pile of many libraries, but not as banning. They’ll always, and they should always, be available to whoever wants to read them. Which doesn’t mean that I’ll ever think they’re great lit – or even terribly entertaining lit. And yes, I read them both.

While her letter to Fahrenheit 451 is the author’s chance to talk about book challenges and book bans, many of her other letters and comments get into some of the nitty gritty of being a librarian surrounded by books. And involves some of the things that librarians have to do to maintain the libraries that surround them. Her letters to and about books that she is weeding, and the reasons that it may be time for some books to go, speak directly to the librarian in all book lovers.

And last but not least, of course, she makes book recommendations. It’s something we all do, because none of us can resist trying to matchmake every reader (and non-reader) with the perfect book for them.

Reality Rating B: I didn’t expect to read this cover to cover. It looks like the perfect book to dip in and out of. But the letters are like potato chips, you can’t read just one.

At the same time, I found myself wanting to quibble and argue with the author – as all book lovers are wont to do about what books they love best – and least. And it does have a bit of a feeling of “insider baseball”. I enjoyed Dear Fahrenheit 451 because it spoke directly to me as a librarian and reader. I have to wonder whether it will have that same effect on someone who is not both.

Except for Agatha Christie, who has definitely transcended her genre and become a “Classic”, the author doesn’t seem to be big on genre fiction. So if you’re looking for letters to science fiction, mystery or romance books, you won’t find much here. (If you’re looking, let me help. I’d be thrilled!) However, there are plenty of YA books that get a mentioned. Which is good, because there are plenty of challenges to YA books.

But the book does say a lot about the book lovers love of reading. And for that it’s awesome. And her letter to The One Hour Orgasm will absolutely leave you in stitches.

The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 9-24-17

Sunday Post

Today is the first day of Banned Books Week. And I’ll admit that my review of Dear Fahrenheit 451 on Monday is also an excuse to talk about banned books in general and Banned Books Week in particular. Again. Because I also wrote a bit (more than a bit) about it in my Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop post a couple of weeks ago. And that’s still going on, by the way, so there’s still a bit of time left to get in on your chance at either a $10 Gift Card or a $10 Book. Maybe even a banned book.

Current Giveaways:

$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop
Sugar Pine Trail by RaeAnne Thayne
Defending Hearts (ebook) by Rebecca Crowley

Blog Recap:

B+ Review: A Casualty of War by Charles Todd
A- Review: Tramps and Thieves by Rhys Ford
B Review: Sugar Pine Trail by RaeAnne Thayne + Giveaway
B Review: Defending Hearts by Rebecca Crowley + Giveaway
A- Review: Fool Me Once by Catherine Bybee
Stacking the Shelves (254)

Coming Next Week:

Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence (review)
Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 (blog tour review)
Provenance by Ann Leckie (review)
Second Chance Girl by Susan Mallery (blog tour review)
A Snow Country Christmas by Linda Lael Miller (blog tour review)
Stuck in a Good Book Giveaway Hop

Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop, hosted by Bookhounds.

While this hop is a couple of weeks early (Banned Books Week officially begins Sept. 24) its theme is evergreen.

I firmly believe in everyone’s right to read whatever they want. As Ben Franklin said in the movie 1776, “there’s nothing so dangerous that it can’t be talked about”. Or, to carry the metaphor a bit further, can’t be read about.

This does also mean that people have the right not to read about whatever they don’t want to. But their rights end at my nose. Just because someone does not want to read a particular type of literature or a particular book, that does not mean that other people don’t have an equal right TO read that literature. Banning a book removes it from everyone, not just those who don’t want to read it.

To give a very hypothetical hypothetical, I do not like inspirational literature, and I don’t read it. However, my desire not to read that one particular type of literature does not and should not affect anyone else’s right to adore it.

However, most current examples of book challenges involve books for children, whether in school or at the public library. “What about the children?” is one its most successful rallying cries. And parents do have a right to control what their own children read. But the emphasis on that sentence is the bit about “their own children”. Just as parents who think completely differently from them, or in some cases parents of children who see themselves or their families represented in the books that other parents want to ban, actively desire that their children read books that reflect their experience, or what they believe is the world at large.

Sometimes Heather really does have two mommies. Sometimes two boys really do kiss. But as this list of the Ten Most Challenged Books of 2016 shows, not everyone wants to see the world as it really is, and wants to keep their heads in the sand as long as inhumanly possible.

  1. This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
    Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, drug use and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes
  2. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint
  3. George written by Alex Gino
    Reasons: challenged because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels”
  4. I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
    Reasons: challenged because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints
  5. Two Boys Kissing written by David Levithan
    Reasons: challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content
  6. Looking for Alaska written by John Green
    Reasons: challenged for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation”
  7. Big Hard Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
    Reason: challenged because it was considered sexually explicit
  8. Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread written by Chuck Palahniuk
    Reasons: challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive”
  9. Little Bill (series) written by Bill Cosby and and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood
    Reason: challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author
  10. Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell
    Reason: challenged for offensive language

There are many more resources about banned and challenged books at the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week site.

So celebrate your freedom to read by picking up a banned or challenged book. Or settle in for a Harry Potter re-read. The Harry Potter series has the number one spot on the banned and challenged list for the entire 2000-2009 decade!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Review: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt VonnegutSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 215
Published by Dial Press Trade Paperback on January 12th 1999
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes &

Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.
Don't let the ease of reading fool you - Vonnegut's isn't a conventional, or simple, novel. He writes, "There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick, and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters."
Slaughterhouse-Five is not only Vonnegut's most powerful book, it is also as important as any written since 1945. Like Catch- 22, it fashions the author's experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority. Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut's other works, but the book's basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it a unique poignancy - and humor.

My Review:

1969 cover of Slaughterhouse Five
1969 cover of Slaughterhouse Five

Although I’m sure I knew it before, i was still surprised to see that Slaughterhouse Five was nominated for the Hugo Award for best science fiction novel in 1970. Slaughterhouse Five isn’t what we now think of SF. There are no spaceships (well, maybe one spaceship) and a debatable amount of faster than light or other than light travel. Instead, Slaughterhouse Five represents science fiction as the literature of ideas, and in that area, as in so many others it is a classic.

The winner of the 1970 Hugo was The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin. Slaughterhouse Five was in excellent company.

The climax of Slaughterhouse Five is the bombing of Dresden at the end of World War II. The protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, was a witness to that bombing, an American POW on the ground, or nearly under it, as the bombing took place. As one of the few survivors, he participated in the horrific clean up afterwards.

Billy Pilgrim is, to a greater or lesser extent, telling the author’s story at this point. In real life, Kurt Vonnegut was a POW held in Dresden during this incident, when allied forces reduced this once beautiful city to a rubble strewn landscape as barren and deadly as the moon.

This story is told by the unnamed narrator from a perspective at the end of Billy Pilgrim’s life. And because it is told at the end, the reader is never quite sure whether Billy really was unstuck in time, or whether he is just remembering the important bits of his life out of sequential order. And it doesn’t really matter.

Neither does the question of whether or not Billy really was kidnapped by the alien Tralfamadorians, who introduced to him the concept, or philosophy if you will, that every moment is forever, and that only remembering the good bits is the best way to manage existence.

What is certain is the Billy has post-traumatic stress disorder after his experience in Dresden. And who wouldn’t? Dresden comes last in the story, because it is the focus of everything. It is a moment of man’s absolute inhumanity to man, and Billy still can’t process it. So he keeps returning to it over and over, and every event that led to it, in an attempt to tell his truth.

Escape Rating B: I am glad I read Slaughterhouse Five. I had never read any of Vonnegut’s work before, but now I have a tiny glimpse into what made his work both so beloved, and so controversial at the same time. This review is being posted as a part of Banned Books Week, because Slaughterhouse Five is one of the most frequently challenged or banned books of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

The bombing of Dresden was hidden from the American public for years after the war. It has been debated whether Dresden truly was a legitimate military target, or whether the entire purpose of the reduction of this formerly beautiful city to rubble was just to reduce what remained of German morale at the beginning of 1945. The bombing of Dresden caused as much of a loss of life as either Hiroshima or Nagasaki, minus the nuclear fallout. War is always hell.

Billy Pilgrim is a non-heroic hero. He is not brave in any way. He doesn’t serve with special distinction. But he survives, and manages the best he can, which in the end isn’t very well. He believes he’s done the best he can, coping with the uncope-able.

Having read the book, I’ll admit that I don’t understand the continuous attempts to ban it, particularly the most recent ones. There is profanity in this book. Many of Billy’s memories take place either among soldiers during wartime, or among POWs. I’d be more surprised if they didn’t cuss. There’s a little sex, and a lot of violence. Again, most humans manage to have a little sex, and talk about it a little more, over the course of a lifetime. And the terrible violence is part of an equally terrible war. The bombing of Dresden was nothing but violence. I will never understand the unwillingness of people to admit that what happened did in fact happen. Or those who believe that if we stop talking about the terrible past or the awful present, that it will somehow remove the worst events from history. A problem that has a great deal of resonance today.

It’s ironic that a story about the way that people in specific and humanity in general keep repeating the same mistakes over and over keeps getting banned and challenged, over and over. As that unnamed narrator says every time someone dies in the book, “And so it goes.”

The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 9-25-16

Sunday Post

Last week was an “A” week. This week seems to be a “B” week.

And speaking of Bs, this is Banned Books Week. In honor of Banned Books Week, I have two special books on my list for the week. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut has been banned or challenged many times and in many places. This satirical novel about the author’s experiences in World War II is one of the most frequently challenged books of the 1990s AND the 2000s. In one infamous case, in 2011 a school district in Missouri banned the book from the local high school.

I managed never to read it, either in high school or later, in spite of the number of times it was recommended to me. I plan to rectify that omission this week. Additionally, I have The Brothers Vonnegut, a nonfiction book about Kurt Vonnegut’s and his brother Bernard’s work at General Electric, and the ways that their work influenced Vonnegut’s writing.

The freedom to read is part of the first amendment right of freedom of the press. Because the press isn’t really free if no one is allowed to read what it publishes.

Current Giveaways:

$20 Amazon Gift Card from MK Meredith and Seducing the Tycoon
Not Quite Perfect Tour Giveaway of 1 Kindle, 1 $50 Amazon GC and 2 $25 Amazon GC.
$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the UnBe-Leaf-Able September to Remember Giveaway Hop
$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop

not quite perfect by catherine bybeeBlog Recap:

B Review: Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah and Agatha Christie
B+ Review: Not Quite Perfect by Catherine Bybee + Giveaway
B Review: Seducing the Tycoon by MK Meredith + Giveaway
B Review: The Girl in the Castle by Santa Montefiore
B- Review: A Truck Full of Money by Tracy Kidder
Stacking the Shelves (203)
Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop

slaughterhouse five by kurt vonnegutComing Next Week:

Autumn in Oxford by Alex Rosenberg (blog tour review)
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (review)
The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan (blog tour review)
Snowfall on Haven Point by RaeAnne Thayne (blog tour review)
The Brothers Vonnegut by Ginger Strand (review)

Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop


Welcome to the Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop, hosted by Bookhounds.

What is Banned Books Week?

It’s an event that is sponsored every year by the American Library Association and a whole host of other organizations to celebrate the Freedom to Read. This year, ALA is partnering with We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) to bring more attention to the unfortunate fact that books by diverse authors or with diverse content are more commonly banned or challenged than other books.

Banned Books Week 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 think 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 is all about 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.

Diversity-banner-WEBSITE-780x300-v1For 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.

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

And for more fabulous banned and bookish prizes, be sure to visit the other stops on the hop: