Sunday, September 19, 2010

Speak Loudly!

I can't even begin to describe the disgust I'm feeling after reading about the man who wants to ban Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak.  I haven't read the book, but I'm aware of the story.  I'm aware that it's about a young girl who was sexually assaulted. 

Wesley Scroggins feels that Speak should be banned from schools.  He thinks the book is "filthy" and "immoral" and called it "soft pornography" because of the rape in the book.

I'm disgusted that anyone would compare RAPE to PORNOGRAPHY.  Rape and pornography are two different things.  Rape is a CRIME that is about power and control, in which sex is used as the tool. 

Scroggins is concerned about young people reading this book containing a rape scene.  I think he should wake up.  Many of those children he's concerned about have probably already been sexually assaulted in some way.  I suggest he check out RAINN and get educated on the horrific stats that indicate just how prevalent sexual assault is.  Shielding children/teenagers from this just hurts them.  It makes bringing awareness about sexual violence even more difficult. 

As a sexual assault counselor, I'm all too familiar of the dynamics of sexual violence.  I'm also, unfortunately, aware of how people are more likely to turn the other cheek and pretend it doesn't exist.  IGNORING IT DOESN'T MAKE IT STOP!  Ignoring it allows it to continue.  Ignoring it kicks the victims when they're down.

I think it's wonderful to have a book written from the perspective of a sexual assault victim, especially for young people.  Many young people are too afraid to talk about what happened to them.  Reading about another person's experience may give them the courage to talk about their own.  Banning books like this just keeps these young people silent, leaving them to be eaten alive by their secrets.  Banning books like this only conveys the message that victims should "keep quiet."  "Rape is filthy and immoral.  Don't talk about it."

Instead of wasting his energy trying to ban a book about sexual assault that may help victims, I suggest Wesley Scroggins use his energy to fight against sexual violence.  Maybe he should try "banning" sexual assault instead of books about sexual assault. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Summer Book Club Challenge

Each season, my online book club The Nest Book Club holds a reading challenge. Challenge tasks are designated at 5, 10, 15, or 25 points. The idea is to read a book meeting each task and rack up the points. The first 5 people to finish the challenge get to pick the 25 point tasks for the next challenge. I've participated in a few but have never finished. Actually, I'm not sure I will ever finish a challenge. I basically use the challenges as a way to pick books to read. Based on the tasks, I pick books from my shelves at home. It's been a great way to finally read books that I've owned for ages. The Summer Book Challenge (SuBC) will be over September 30. The Fall Book Challenge (FBC) starts October 1. I haven't gotten very far, but here's what I've done so far.

5 Point Tasks

Book set in a place you never want to visit: Fallen by Lauren Kate

Book with one word title: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Dystopian/Utopian: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Book you haven't read yet by a favorite author: Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult

10 Point Tasks

Book where the title or author's name starts with "J," "A," or "S": Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster

Memoir, Biography, or Autobiography: Me of Little Faith by Lewis Black

15 Point Tasks

Book with a ghost or character with psychic powers: Shadow Bound by Erin Kellison

Read a book and watch the movie/TV show: Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

Book about the paranormal: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Book you keep looking at and putting down: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

25 Point Tasks

Read a book and contact the author: My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Start a series you haven't read yet: Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs

So far I have 150 points out of 425. I still have a few more books that I'll probably finish before the end of the month.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Book Blogger Hop: Sept. 17-20, 2010

The Book Blogger Hop is a great weekly meme hosted over at Crazy for Books.  Each week, book bloggers post about the hop and add their sites to a list of links.  This list is then used by other book bloggers as a tool to check out new fellow bloggers.  Along with the general hop info, Jennifer also posts a question for everyone to answer in their hop post.  Instead of a question this week, though, she's asking that everyone share a fellow book blogger that they enjoy in honor of Book Blogger Appreciation Week.

Here are a few book blogs that I like:

Me, My Book and the Couch

The Story Siren

What I'm Reading

Carved in Bone: A Body Farm Novel by Jefferson Bass

So far, I'm really enjoying this book. It's about a forensic anthropologist helping with the investigation of a murdered woman. The investigation takes him into a small, rural town that is inhabited by people who will do whatever they have to in order to defend themselves and their kin. I'm fascinated by the field of forensic anthropology. I've found that this book isn't so technical that I can't understand it, but it still has enough science to make me feel like I'm learning something. I'm also eager to find out what happened to this woman.

The Migraine Brain by Carolyn Bernstein and Elaine McArdle

This is a book that I randomly picked up in Walgreen's one day. I've suffered from chronic miraines for a little over 9 years. It took me forever to finally find the right combination of medications to curb my painful migraine episodes. As a newlywed, I spoke to my neurologist about how my medications will play into trying to have a baby when my husband and I are ready. I will still be able to take my magnesium supplement but will have to stop my other medication. This makes me nervous. I'm not sure I'll be able to manage being off my medication and having the migraines like before. Finding this book, though, has helped with my determination to find ways to manage my migraines without medications. I'm only 24, and I really don't want to spend the rest of my life popping pills every day to keep from feeling like someone has a jackhammer in my head. I'm not very far into the book, but it has already given me some valuable informatio and useful suggestions. In fact, I'm starting my headache diary again today. I kept one for awhile until I got my migraines under control. Then I stopped. I figured it would be a good idea to track them again, learning as much as I can about my migraine brain.

What are you reading?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Me of Little Faith

I love Lewis Black, so finding this audiobook, Me of Little Faith, was like hitting the jackpot.  What I found even more interesting was that the book was about religion.  I just couldn't imagine Lewis Black having a book about religion.

Cover:  The cover is quite simple, just like Lewis Black. 

Characters:  Lewis Black is the main character.  This was exciting enough for me.  He's hilarious and outspoken.  He talks about others that he encounters, but I didn't think he talked about anyone enough for them to really stand out.  I feel as if Lewis is known for his stand up routines.  He's known for saying the things people think but are too afraid to say.  This is one reason I love him.  I have the same tendency.  The stories he tells in this book reveal a different side to him.  He's not just the smartass that people love or hate.  He's an extremely fascinating man. 

Writing:  I listened to the audiobook, so it made the writing seem more like a conversation.  Lewis Black read the book, which only enhanced this feeling. 

Plot: Throughout the book, Lewis told stories of his experiences with various religions.  Lewis Black was raised Jewish, although his family did not really practice the religion.  He has his own personal beliefs but does not believe in organized religion.  He does not, however, think any particular religion is better than any others.  Lewis respects everyone's right to have their own beliefs.  I found his experiences to be educational in some ways, considering I haven't had much contact with people of varying religions.

Overall:  3/5  I enjoyed this book.  I found it to be funny, interesting, and comforting.  My own lack of religious beliefs often makes me feel wrong.  People around me seem to think badly of me because of it, but Lewis Black's just reinforced for me that my beliefs are my own.  No matter what anyone else thinks of them.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Summoning

I've had The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong on my bookshelf for awhile.  I would pick it up, think it was a little too thick for what I was in the mood for, and put it back down.  One day, I was sorting through my "To Be Read" list on Goodreads and this book was listed first.  I decided to give it a shot, and I'm really glad I did.   

Cover:  There's something intriguing about how the cover cuts off the top part of the girl's face.  The cover made me think the red pendant would be a majorly significant part of the story, but I found that it wasn't played up as much.

Characters: The main characters of The Summoning are Chloe, Derek, Simon, Rae, and Tori. There are some other characters who make frequent appearances, but I didn't think they were as important. Chloe suddenly finds that she has some abilities that most other people don't have. Chloe's got the typical teenage struggle. You know, finding yourself, dealing with peer pressure, and trying to fit in. On top of that, though, is this new realization that she's a big way. Chloe has a good head on her shoulders. I liked that she was intelligent, had plans for her future, and wasn't boy crazy. That was refreshing for me. I've read so many books with teen girls who were absolutely out of their gourds over boys. I have trouble identifying with those girls, because boys were never my main concern. Good grades, getting into college, and getting a good job were always at the top of my list.

Derek and Simon are mysterious brothers who ended up in the facility after their father disappeared. Without giving away too much, I'll just say that they know more about Chloe's special abilities than she does. Rae and Tori are two girls that were already at the house when Chloe joined. Rae befriends Chloe, but Tori seems to make it her own personal mission to make Chloe's life hell.

Writing: The writing was simple but descriptive enough to suck me into the story. I felt the author had good timing with certain events in the story and knew exactly where to end chapters. That's a big thing that can determine whether I like a book or not. I love when I finish a chapter and just CAN'T STOP. I MUST read the next chapter. This was one of those books for me.

Plot: The storyline in this book seemed different from the other books I had been reading. There was the paranormal aspect (which I've been reading a lot of lately), but it seemed to have been incorporated in a different way. Chloe finds herself with a strange new ability and discovers others who are kind of like her. While most people don't believe in the things Chloe and her friends can do, there are others who do believe, want to learn more, and have cruel intentions. As I sit here writing this about the plot, I'm reminded that I have no idea how Chloe's story ends. The author left the book with a real cliffhanger. Guess I'll have to read the second book. ;-)

Overall: 4/5 I really liked this book. I never lost interest in it and really liked the way it ended. It was a true cliffhanger ending, the kind that I think all books in a series should have.