December BoM – The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Well, well, well. Here we are again.

Our December banned and/or challenged book is Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, and I hope you’ll read along with us and join the conversation.¬†

Title: The Awakening
Author: Kate Chopin
Genre:¬†Women’s Fiction
Publication Date: 1899

 

Interestingly enough¬†The Awakening¬†was never “banned”, it simply fell into obscurity. For 30 plus years¬†The Awakening¬†lay dormant.¬†It was¬†until 1932 when Daniel S. Rankin, a Roman Catholic Priest, published¬†Kate Chopin and Her Creole Stories.¬†Even after Rankin’s publication it again fell into obscurity and was revived two more times — 1953 and 1969. With its revival in 1969,¬†The Awakening has served as a springboard to bring insight and awareness to women’s issues. Continue reading

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Day 21, NaBloPoMo: Kaffir Boy

Title: Kaffir Boy
Author: Mark Mathabane
Genre: Autobiography
Publication Date: 1986
[First Read] | [Reread]

Summary:

Kaffir Boy is an extraordinary memoir of life under apartheid and triumph of the human spirit over hatred and unspeakable degradation.

Mark Mathabane was weaned on devastating poverty and schooled in the cruel streets of South Africa’s most desperate ghetto, where bloody gang wars and midnight police raids were his rites of passage. Like every other child born in the hopelessness of apartheid, he learned to measure his life in days, not years. Yet Mark Mathabane, armed only with the courage of his family and a hard-won education, raised himself up from the squalor and humiliation to win a scholarship to an American university.

Why I want to Read It:

I can’t really say that this is a want to read because I don’t usually read autobiographies. Kaffir Boy has been recommended to me on more than one occasion by various people over the years, so I figure I should read it.

Why banned or challenged?

It has been banned and challenged because of a two paragraph scene that depicts child prostitution between young street boys and adult migrant workers. The most recent challenge I could find was in 2011 at the San Luis Obispo High School in California. The challenge was made because the book has a graphic sexual assault passage.

Day 20, NaBloPoMo: The Giver

Title: The Giver
Author: Lois Lowry
Genre: Young Adult | Science Fiction | Fantasy | Dystopia
Publication Date: 1993
[First Read] | [Reread]

Summary:

It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened.

Thus opens this haunting novel in which a boy inhabits a seemingly ideal world: a world without conflict, poverty, unemployment, divorce, injustice, or inequality. It is a time in which family values are paramount, teenage rebellion is unheard of, and even good manners are a way of life.

December is the time of the annual Ceremony at which each twelve year old receives a life assignment determined by the Elders. Jonas watches his friend Fiona named Caretaker of the Old and his cheerful pal Asher labeled the Assistant Director of Recreation. But Jonas has been chosen for something special. When his selection leads him to an unnamed man -the man called only the Giver -he begins to sense the dark secrets that underlie the fragile perfection of his world.

Told with deceptive simplicity, this is the provocative story of a boy who experiences something incredible and undertakes something impossible. In the telling it questions every value we have taken for granted and reexamines our most deeply held beliefs. (description from Lois Lowry’s website) Continue reading

Day 18, NaBloPoMo: Gone With the Wind

Title: Gone With the Wind
Author: Margaret Mitchell
Genre: Romance | Historical Fiction | Coming-of-Age
Publication Date: 1936
[First Read] | [Reread]

Summary:

Gone with the Wind is set in Clayton County, GA,¬†and Atlanta during the American Civil War¬†and Reconstruction era. It depicts the experiences of Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, who must use every means at her disposal to come out of the poverty she finds herself in after Sherman’s March to the Sea.

Gone with the Wind was popular with American readers since its publication in 1936, and as of 2014, a Harris poll found it to be the 2nd favorite book by American readers. The novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937 Continue reading

Day 11, NaBloPoMo: Slaughterhouse-Five

Title: Slaughterhouse-Five
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Genre: Antiwar | Historical | Sci-fi | Semi-autobiographical
Publication Date: 1969
[First Read] | [Reread]

Summary:

Slaughterhouse Five is a satirical anti-war and science fiction novel. It’s about the life of Billy Pilgrim who comes unstuck in time and travels back and forth through his life and experiences of WWII. He is kidnapped by aliens who teach him that time is continuous and that life goes on forever in some form or another.

Why I want to Read It:

Slaughterhouse Five was a recommendation from a couple of friends of mine and it was also a book club read that I didn’t a chance to attend. Anyway, I read the first few pages and wasn’t immediately intrigued, but after a few brief conversations with others who read the book I found myself becoming more intrigued by the themes Vonnegut brought up. I love¬†a good controversial theme and it seems like Slaughterhouse Five have a few.

Why banned or challenged?

As I’m researching the reasons for books being banned I’m finding that none of them have said that¬†the book is horribly written or there is no literary value in it. It seems to be more of a personal and moral attack on the books than anything else.

Slaughterhouse Five¬†has been on the ALA’s banned and challenged list for at least two¬†decades now.¬†It ranked #46 on the ALA’s top 100 banned books of 2000-2009. ¬†It has been challenged for many of the same reasons that other books on this have been banned or challenged for: foul language, deviant behavior, sexually explicit scenes, and violence.