2016 Recap

2016 has been a crap year for the most part.. but on the reading front – my number of books read has gone up (not by a lot but I am still pretty proud of it.)

Here is a little recap of my year in reading..

Some of my favourite books read in 2016:

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Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

If you are a Gilmore Girls fan and a Lauren Graham fan then this book is a MUST read! It was fun, quirky, and real. It felt like Lauren was talking directly to me. My only gripe – not enough Gilmore Girls in this book. I wanted moreeeee.

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The Nest by Kenneth Oppel

This was a quick read but the story was sooo impressive. It was a strange and magical story that shared a message that nothing is perfect. I don’t know.. this book was kind of perfect 😉

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Wenjack by Joseph Boyden

This one is a heart breaker. It’s a short story that packs so much truth and emotion in to it. I couldn’t put it down. Ugh 😦 It sheds light on Canada’s seedy past. The past that we try to avoid but really should be made to see and hear it. This should be mandatory reading for all Canadians. </3

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Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

If you are looking for a messed up book that will leave you drained from its intense story telling..then this is the book for you. What a wild ride this was! So dark and twisted.. I wanted to skip work and read this in one sitting (but I am a responsible adult..so I didn’t do that. lol)

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I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

Another great psychological thriller. This one wasn’t like any I had read before. Did not see that ending coming or the direction of this book!! I cannot wait to read more by this author (I picked up her newest book! Need to get around to that asap)

 

Some of my not-so-favourite books of 2016:

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Rock Chick by Kristen Ashley

I wanted to like this one. It was recommended by a coworker who adores this author/series so I really wanted to like this too. We have the best book chats at work (she reads a lot) but we read very different books.. this was my attempt to read books from her fave genre. I just couldn’t get in to it. The main character was so annoying and just DUMB. How many times can you put yourself in danger before common sense kicks in and tells you to stop being a stupid f*ck and take better care of your life?? Ugh. The main guy was hot..but not really my type I guess. I’ve heard the series gets better.. I may have to pick up the second book and see if I can enjoy it..

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Breathe by Abbi Glines

This was another recommended book and another one that I didn’t really enjoy. It was WAY better than Rock Chick but I found it kind of annoying for the following reasons: insta-love, kind of unbelievable, characters were too young. Who falls that quickly for someone?? And really..you just happen to work for this this mega hot superstar and he falls for you hard? The issue with the age has more to do with my age than the characters. I just couldn’t get in to a 17-year-old’s relationship. I am told to try the other books in this series. The characters are older and the authors story-telling improves. I definitely will check out the next book!

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My True Love Gave to Me by Various Authors

This one makes me sad! I’ve heard great things about this book of short stories. It is always recommended as a MUST-READ this time of year… but omg. NO. I adored the first story in the book (by the fabulous Rainbow Rowell) but the rest were so ‘meh.’ Even the stories by some of my other fave YA authors were boring (I am talking about you Jenny Han, Gayle Forman, Stephanie Perkins..) I think my expectations were a little too high for this book. I just couldn’t get in to it. Can Rainbow write a whole book around her story please? I would buy it and read it every year around the holidays ❤

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2016 brought some amazing books in to my life and some not-so-amazing books. If you want to creep the other books I’ve read you can find them on my Goodreads or Instagram account. I don’t really review anymore (I am so lazy now haha) but I star rate all of the books on my GR account. So check it out!

What were some of your favourite books of 2016? Least favourite?

xox

Shannon

Banned Books Week – Part Two

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In my first Banned Books Week Post I talked about my feelings on censorship and banning books from the public. Part Two will focus on some of the titles I have read and loved that were challenged or taken off the shelves at various libraries around the world. Here we go…

1984 by George Orwell – If you’ve read my About Me section then you know this is my absolute favourite book. A dystopian fiction that talks about a world split up and at war. Written in the 1940’s Orwell almost eerily foretells some advance in technologies that we are privy to today. It deals with a world that overly censors its citizens and the price they pay for challenging the government for their rights to freedom of speech and thinking freely.

Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling – This book was challenged numerous times because of witchcraft, violence, anti-parents, and gullibility of young children who may take this seriously and try to mimic what they read. Although the story can be violent, doesn’t have the typical parental presence (The Weasley’s do make frequent appearances and some of the Professors and Dumbledore are more like surrogate parents to Harry and the students.) This series kick-started my love of reading. If it weren’t for this series I would not be the kind of reader I am today. It was magical and memorable, captivating my everything. I couldn’t put any of the books down!!

Howl by Allen Ginsberg – This book was challenged because of references to homosexuality. Why yes, it does talk about homosexuality but Ginsberg tells it with such beautiful words and imagery.. how could you hate on it? This is the quintessential Beats Generation work, if you are at all curious about the Beats than you should read this poem and the accompanying poems in the Howl and Other Poems collection.

I could write about a TON of books (because apparently people have been challenging almost every great book out there!) but I will quit here and just share some lists provided by ALA’s Banned Books site:

Top Ten Most Challenged books of 2013:

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
  2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
    Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
    Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

view other years here.

Most Challenged and Banned Classics over the years:

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

 

Take a stand and pick up one of these books to read! #IReadBannedBooks

 

Banned Books Week – September 21-27, 2014

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One week every year we celebrate our freedom to read by bringing awareness to books that were banned and challenged all over the world. This year it falls on September 21-27, 2014. Banned Books is one of those hot topics that everyone has an opinion on. To censor or not to censor?

Well, I thought I should finally weigh in on this. My apologies in advance, I know everyone has their opinions and I respect them..so take no offence to any of this.

I DO NOT BELIEVE IN CENSORSHIP. I do not believe in limiting anyone or everyone’s access to information. I value their curiosity and willingness to read and I would hate to hold them back in any way. However, I do not believe in forcing my beliefs on anyone else. That is a big no-no for me. I believe what I do because of how I was raised and the journey I took to get to where I am today. I respect that not everyone will feel the same way as I do. I will not try to change your mind.

Every parent has the right to decide what their child can or cannot read. Your job as a parent is to guide your children in the path that you feel is right for them and for your family. Deciding that a book is too mature for your child or showcases the opposite values that you hold dear to you is reason enough to place that book on a shelf that they can never access. All is fair in that. Challenging these books in places that are providing access to the public is where I have an issue. Just because someone may feel that a book is wrong for their children does not give them reason to request that the book become banned for everyone else. Unless they want everyone to dictate how they should parent their children then they may want to stop trying to dictate what everyone can and cannot read. Holding a rally to get a book banned in a public library, or a school library, or anywhere that isn’t your own personal library is completely wrong. If you worry about your children accessing the books outside of your home then monitor them more closely and explain to them why you do not want them reading said books (hopefully they will understand and respect) but don’t ruin it for everyone else just in case your child decides to pick the book(s) up. I am sorry if that sounds rude. I really don’t mean to be but I can’t think of any other way to word this..

Libraries are there to serve the public. They offer a wide-range of materials to accommodate the ever diverse world we live in. You may find books on the shelves that you disagree with but someone else may want access to. Taking that away from them is taking away their freedom to choose and read the books that appeal to them. Don’t be that person. No one likes that person.

I can go on about this forever but I feel like this post is long enough. There is plenty here to get my point across. Once again, take no offence to any of this. This is just my opinion…

xox,

Shannon

p.s. If you are going to ban a book at least read it first. Everyone interprets things differently. Some people get offended easily. A book that caused serious problems for one person may not be a big deal for you. Judge for yourself. Be informed. Respect will come to decisions made with valid reasons. Like the old saying parents sing to their picky children: don’t hate it until you try it.

Other Sites:

http://bannedbooksweek.org/

http://www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek

https://www.facebook.com/bannedbooksweek

http://www.freedomtoread.ca/

Photo  ©Fix of Brilliance Photography by Matt Parij