Reading Update | April 9th

Hey there friends! Welcome back! Today, I’m going to be sharing an update on my reading since my last update post on the 22nd of March.

I’ll be doing this like a WWW Wednesday (which is hosted by Sam @ Taking On a World of Words): I’ll talk about what I’ve read, what I’m reading, and what’s coming up next. I’ll also share my progress on my reading challenges.

Let’s get started!

Continue reading “Reading Update | April 9th”

Let’s Talk Bookish – Banning Books

Hello, hello my friends! I am back!! I’ll be publishing another post with all the explanation and stuff tomorrow (hopefully) so be on the look out for that! In the meanwhile…

Welcome to another Let’s Talk Bookish post! Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by me, where we discuss chosen topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Today’s topic is: Banning Books: A Bookish Sin or a Reasonable Act

I don’t know why I’ve never thought about this before, especially when there are banned books lists, and controversies all the time about whether a book should have been banned by XYZ school district or not. But I’m thinking about it now, so let’s jump right in.

*disappears to do some research*

Okay. So I’ve read the American Library Association’s page on banned books, and took a look at the list of books that were challenged/banned in 2018.

And by challenged, it means that there was a formal complaint and an attempt to remove the book. Banned means that it was actually removed.

Something that seems to be common with all these books that are being challenged or banned is the fact that the book allegedly contains sexual or vulgar content, or “controversial” topics such as LGBTQIA+ issues, or different representations that show what it’s like for that rep group to live in this world (think The Hate U Give).

Most of these challenges are lead by parents who complain about the reading material being provided in their child’s school or library.

And in some cases, I think they have a point.

Some of these books are definitely not in the right places. For instance, a young adult novel should not be given to middle school children. (And middle school means 6th, 7th, and 8th grade.)

For instance, Looking For Alaska by John Green was challenged by a parent of an eighth grade student. Administration removed the book immediately and a representative said it was because the book had descriptions of pornography, and included smoking and an ending that seems to suggest a possible suicide (qtd. in ALA Field Report 2018).

I understand that. It’s seriously ridiculous that some of these books being challenged/banned are YOUNG ADULT novels in middle schools. Who puts YA novels in middle schools?? Like really?? And then you’ll complain when parents want you to remove them? (Some other middle school had The Hate U Give. Come on guys. Really??)

These books have much more mature topics and themes, and I think it’s better if they are placed in high schools instead. If a middle schooler is extremely mature and ready to tackle these kinds of topics, then fine, they can go find them at the library outside of school and read them on their own.

What I don’t understand though, is parents complaining about YA books being given to high school students. (And High School is 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade.) I’m pretty sure that YA is for high school students, and I don’t understand why you’re complaining about your 10th grade Honors English student reading Beartown by Fredrik Backman (also from the ALA’s list).

They’re in 10th grade. Honors English. Not even normal English. If they don’t get exposed to the horrors of the world now (which I’m telling you, your kids are probably not as innocent as you think, so this is probably nothing new to them at all), and in a more controlled and constructive way by reading a book together in a class with a teacher before they leave high school, when do you expect them to?

Aside from books being given to the wrong age group of students or being shelved in the wrong place, I think the rest of these bans and challenges are ridiculous. Really ridiculous.

And because I believe I am highly comical, here’s an open letter to people who suppose that banning or censorship is okay.

Dear Censor,

You can’t control what the world reads.

You can’t control what your state or country reads.

You can’t control what your city reads.

You can’t control what your tiny town and community reads.

It. Just. Can’t. Happen.

If you don’t want to read a book, and you don’t want your family to read it, FINE. Don’t pick it up at the library. Tell your kids to put it back if they pick it up and hopefully have a good explanation about why you don’t want them to read it.

But you can’t go to the district or state or library board, or whoever, and demand that the book be removed, or worse, try to hide them in the library’s vast shelves, or even worse, borrow the books then burn them live on Facebook (ALA’s List).

It’s also unfair to censor the kind of books available for kids.

Including more LGBTQIA+ books or more diverse books with characters from all over the world and from different religions and such that are written specifically for an age group, and there is nothing wrong with the book (ex. it doesn’t contain vulgar language and it’s supposed to be a book for 5 year olds) besides your personal dislike for it, is OKAY.

Actually it’s more than OKAY.

It should be the reality, not something that one has to applaud and cheer and dance and sing about when they see it happen.

You may not believe in the book’s message, and you may disapprove, but you don’t have the right to demand that it be removed all together, because there are other people who are less close-minded than you who may want to expose their children to this at a young age so they can grow up to be better and more tolerant and accepting people.

You’re not the book police; you’re not the censorship police.

And by the way, if you didn’t know since you may have a much nobler name for it, what you are doing is censoring books. And censorship is wrong.

Imagine if I were to take your completely un-diverse, completely uncontroversial, completely bland books about happy girl meets happy boy and they fall in love and decide to ban them all because they don’t show the actual reality of the world.

Would be absolutely outrageous wouldn’t it?

You have the right to read what you want. You have the right to read stories that don’t show the true reality of the world. You have the right to read perfectly average and “normal” and bland books that aren’t “controversial”.

Well guess what. The rest of the world has that same. lovely. privilege. too.

And your claims that these books that you want to ban are so called propaganda or are “heavy duty indoctrination” (ALA’s list) are ludicrous, because your attempt to censor them IS a form of propaganda and heavy duty indoctrination that results in intolerant close-minded people.

Sorry. Let’s reword that.

That can result in intolerant close-minded people. Some people change and break free of everything they were taught to realize the world isn’t totally black and white and that there are so many shades of grey, it’s blinding.

So while I feel you when you don’t want your wonderful middle schooler reading sexually explicit or profanity filled books, or novels that have open endings regarding suicide, and I do agree that these books should be in high schools where most children are more mature and can understand this content better especially since these are usually YA books, I don’t understand your attempts to ban them for forever, or when you attempt to remove these books because they show the reality of the world and society’s history that you don’t like or because the author’s opinion is different from your own.

I also don’t understand your attempt to ban these books especially since that wonderful high schooler who you are trying to stop from reading this “bad” book is probably a few years away from becoming an adult and having to forge their own path in this wonderfully beautiful world.

Actually, I’m sure it’s a much better idea to leave them blind and unknowing and believing that everyone is a good Samaritan, that all police are blameless and that nobody has ever been unfairly killed or beaten by some cops, that there is something wrong with people who are LGBTQIA+ or that Muslims, Hindus, Asians, Blacks and every other minority is bad, and that the normal and right thing is for everyone to be white, straight, Christian, going to church on Sunday’s kind of people.

Because that makes our world wonderful.

Sincerely yours,

A badly sarcastic high school student who should probably not be reading all these propaganda filled books since they’ve obviously messed with her head.

This Week’s Participants:

Vicki @ Diverse Fantasy Reads | Dani @ Literary Lion

*face-palm* I think my sarcasm is more cringey than actually good, but hey, I had fun!! And you all obviously know by now what my thoughts are regarding this, so it’s a win-win for everyone.

What do you think? Did you like my open letter? Please let me know if you were dying from cringe so that I don’t embarrass myself like this again in the future.

What are your thoughts regarding banning books? Do you think it is okay with certain books? Do you see where the parents are coming from sometimes, or do you think that books shouldn’t be banned at all? What’s your favorite “banned” book? Chat with me in the comments below!

Monthly Wrap Up: January 2020

Good morning friends and welcome back. Today, I’ll be doing my Monthly Wrap-Up for the first month of the decade.

January feels like it was super long and super short at the same time. Classes only started on the 6th of Jan, but it feels like we’ve been in school for forever. I got a good amount of reading done, I managed to write some posts, but this college + school + blogging thing is not going how I imagined it at all.

Books:

Covers are from Goodreads

So, I read 10 books last month which is great since I feel like I didn’t read anything at all. I’m 1 book behind schedule on my reading challenge, but for now I’m okay with it. I also signed up for YARC, but haven’t read any Asian books, or books by Asian authors yet. That’s mostly what I’m going to read now in February.

January was a pretty good month with only two 3 star books, while the rest were 4, 4.5, or 5 stars. So yay!

  • Heir of Fire By Sarah J. Maas – 4 | It was good. I really liked it, and the series has been getting better since this book, which I’m super glad about.
  • This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nejkamp – 3 | I’m mixed. On one hand, the characters were really blah, and I didn’t care much about them. Autumn and Claire were annoying, and Tomas, Sylv, and Matt were the only one who mattered to me. Tyler was also pretty one dimensional, but the story itself is sad. All these people dying, hoping, crying, wanting to survive, it really got to me. No one should ever have to go through what these characters did, but the sad reality is that people do. And that’s something that needs to change.
  • The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware – 4 | So, it was good, super suspenseful and creepy. Like really creepy. TBH, I did get scared at times and had to put it down and take a deep breath lol. It was kind of slow at the start as well. And then that ending. It started off great, and I was shocked and it was good. And then there was no explanation about what happened after!!! I think the author wants the reader to guess, or maybe it should be obvious? Idk, I just would have loved a more solid conclusion/epilogue.
  • Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas – 4.5 | This is probably the best book in the series. All the amazing women in this book, the witches, Manon and Aelin’s fight, Dorian’s parts (which broke my heart) and honestly, it was just amazing.
  • Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine – 4 | It was good, but I was put off by the characters for some reason. I would have loved to get to know the side characters better, maybe even have some chapters from their POV. But I still liked the plot and friendships a lot.
  • Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas – 4.5 | Totally not YA anymore lol. I still love all the amazing characters, especially Manon, I’m glad everyone’s paths have crossed, and I’m eager to see what happens in the next book.
  • Also Known As by Robin Benway – 3 | This was so so so cheesy. It’s a fun read to pass the time, and I loved Roux, but everything else was so cheesy and insta-lovey and yeah.
  • The Chain by Adrian McKinty – 5 | An absolutely amazing terrifying and thrilling book. I loved it. The idea of The Chain is so interesting, and it’s also so terrifying, because (God forbid anything like that ever happens to anyone) I would do anything to save my child as well. I couldn’t sacrifice my kid in the hopes that the police would help. I just couldn’t. And that’s really terrifying.
  • Paper and Fire By Rachel Caine – 4 | It was a great sequel, and I like the characters even more and how everything’s moving now. The plot was good, but I kind of don’t want Morgan and Jess to be together. It’s just moving too fast. And I don’t really like Morgan.
  • Someone We Know by Shari Lapena – 5 | I couldn’t put this book down. The secrets, the surprises, the twists, the connection of every character to the murdered woman (I don’t remember her name lol) made this so interesting because just about anybody could have been the murderer. And I totally did not guess that ending at all.

Total Number of Books Read This Month: 10

2019 Wrap-Up + YARC Sign Up

So, in the place of tags, I’ll be sharing all the 2019 wrap-up posts I did, and my YARC sign up post.

Most Anticipated Releases of 2019 | 2019 Blogging Wrap-Up + 2020 Goals

End of Year Book Survey + Reading Wrap-Up| Year of The Asian Reading Challenge

Let’s Talk Bookish:

Audio-books | Bias Towards Books and Authors

Toxicity in the Book Blogging Community | Anxiety and Book Blogging

Required Reading

Great Posts From Around the Blog-O-Sphere:

Meeghan wrote her review of A Darker Shade of Magic, and I loved it so much

Caitlin talks about the books she’ll never read, and it’s super interesting

Kerys discusses the pros and cons of audio-books

Chana talks about her ratings and why they aren’t trustworthy, and I relate

Vera, Sabrina, and Ruzi talk about their plans for 2020, and it was so much fun to read (also welcome Sabrina!!)

Life & Blog Updates

So, my posting is completely off and I hate that. I really want to write more posts. But I’m not finding the time to do so. Even my weekends now are busy. It’s so frustrating. I have a few book tags, and a book recommendation post that I’m working on, but it’s taking me so much time to write them since I can only manage like 20 to 30 minutes each day (which is nothing)! I’ve been writing this wrap-up post for 5 days now.

At least I’m still getting a chance to read. School is stressful. College is stressful. And it’s getting to me, which it shouldn’t. Honestly, I need to chill a little bit, but I feel like I can’t. Lol, I finally understand why everyone who’s in college always complains of the stress and having so much to do in so little time.

I did get a little creative and I changed up my sidebar a bit, and got a new divider. I was starting to really dislike the old one. So I’d love to hear your thoughts on the new tiny changes!

I also love designing featured images. It’s just amazing putting together different fonts, colors, alignments, and pictures to create a unique header for a post. I feel like I’ve become a mini expert at it lol

I’m also not sure what other reading challenge I should join, so if you have any suggestions, feel free to share them down below!! I was thinking maybe a mystery/thriller reading challenge, but that will probably be easy, so I’m looking at maybe doing a third one as well. I’m very ambitious like that 🤦🏽‍♀️ Last year I couldn’t even finish one, and here I am wanting to do three.

My posting’s probably going to continue being sporadic, but I am still writing posts. I just need to finish/edit and publish them.

That’s A Wrap!

That’s it. I read 10 books, did 3 yearly wrap-up posts, a reading challenge sign up post, 4 LTBs, and I finally managed to post this wrap-up. So yeah, I’m proud of myself.

My goals for January were to

  • read 12 books, ❌
  • write 2 more wrap-ups, ✔
  • write 1 book recommendation post, ❌
  • write at least 4 LTBs, ✔
  • write 1 creative post, ✔ (YARC counts…)
  • and write 1 or 2 book reviews ❌

I met three of those goals, and failed the other three, which isn’t too bad. My goals for February are to:

  • read 10 books,
  • publish 5 posts besides LTB,
  • write 1 book recommendation post,
  • write 3 LTBs,
  • write 2 book reviews,
  • and figure out a schedule for my classes/organize my life

Hopefully, I’ll be able to meet all of these. Wish me luck guys!!

And that’s it for this wrap-up! How was January for you? What were your favorite books this past month? Are you taking part in any reading challenges? If so, which one? Any tips you’d like to share for my stressed self? Let’s chat in the comments below!

WWW Wednesday #43

Hey friends! I hope you are having a fantastic day! It is time for my weekly reading update, WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words.

The Three W’s are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Let’s get started!

All covers are from Goodreads

What I Just Finished:

Queen of Shadows and Empire of Storms: Both were spectacular, though EoS has some scenes and went from YA to NA. Honestly, the ending of EoS absolutely surprised me and I still can’t really believe it. We also got so many awesome women, men, males, and females and I’m so so happy about that.

Ink and Bone: This was really good and I’m curious to see what happens next. Jess was an interesting MC and I liked how he had amazing friendships with all the other characters. The plot and idea is awesome as well. I just wish that the other characters had a more prominent and active role in the story.

What I’m Currently Reading:

Just started this, and so far so good. Though she keeps rambling off with little side notes and I’m kind of annoyed and amused by this at the same time.

What I Plan To Read Next:

Next up is The Chain by Adrian McKinty.

Chat with me

That’s it for this Wednesday. What are you reading? Have you read Ink and Bone? What did you think? Did the side characters feel very left out, to you, in the story? Let’s chat in the comments below! (Be sure to link to your WWW’s so that I can check them out!)

Let’s Talk Bookish – Bias Towards Books & Authors

Hola my dear bookish friends and welcome to another Let’s Talk Bookish post! Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by me, where we discuss chosen topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Today’s topic is: Does your love for an author make you biased towards their book and vice versa?

This is a question I’m curious to see all of your answers to. I once thought that I was biased, but I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t matter whether I love or hate an author, my feelings towards their book will depend on how good the book is.

I don’t have many favorite authors. I have favorite books, which makes me like the author, but it doesn’t make them my favorite ones. Honestly, I can count all my favorite authors on one hand.

So, for me, the question is more like, does my love for another book of the author make me biased towards their other books? No. I don’t think so.

After a lot of recommendations, and just seeing Six of Crows everywhere, I finally decided to read it and see what all the fuss was about. I loved it. It’s sequel, Crooked Kingdom? I loved it too. But when I tried Bardugo’s newest release, Ninth House, I could barely get through the first two chapters.

Despite my love for Bardugo’s other books, it wasn’t able to sway me into pushing through Ninth House.

Another great example is the Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco. I enjoyed the first two books, seriously disliked the third, and was seriously annoyed with the fourth. Despite the fact that I liked the first two, I wasn’t able to forgive or look past all the mess that happened in the two books after that.

So no. My love for an author, or for some of their books, doesn’t make me biased towards their other books.

If I don’t like a book, however, I think it does make me biased, because then I don’t want to pick up any other books by that author. And if I hear bad things about the author, then I also probably will steer clear of their books, though I believe they (the books) should be treated fairly. The author could be controversial, but their books might be good, and it doesn’t help to rate them when you haven’t read them, or attack people who do read them (more on that here!).

You never know. But I probably still won’t be picking up that author’s books anytime soon.

This Week’s Participants:

Megan @ Megabunny Reads | Ashlee @ Books Are 42 | Jane @ Blogger Books | Heran @ Be Frisky | Dani @ Literary Lion | Aria @ Book Nook Bits | Vicki @ Diverse Fantasy Reads

Chat with me

So, what do you think? Does your love for an author make you biased towards their book and vice versa? Do you sometimes feel inclined to rate a book by an author that you like, much higher than you normally would? Do you have many favorite authors? Chat with me in the comments below!