It’s Banned Book Week!!!

September 24-30 is Banned book week.  The week that American Library Association releases their top 10 challenged books of the last year and we talk about censorship.  A topic that has been getting a lot of talk recently.  Anyway, so why do books get challenged? ALA has this helpful infograph to help us out.

WHY books challenged_0

No surprise that most of the content that people object to have to do with sex and LGBT lifestyles.  Violence and offensive language is also a big one but nothing seems to get people uptight then their poor innocent children reading about having sex or Gay people.  THE HORROR!  So who are challenging.  THe ALA has another infograph to help us out.

WHO challenges books (1)_0

And what are the most challenged books of 2016?

Top Ten for 2016

Out of 323 challenges recorded by the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  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

 

Let’s not forget that books like Harry Potter, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, and Where’s Waldo? have all been on this list before.  So go read a banned book.  Don’t let ideas go to waste.

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Happy One Year Anniversary to The Raven King and Maggie Stiefvater!

April 2016 was our most successful month page views wise.  We had 589 views, which beat our previous record of 552 in December 2015. It made me wonder what were we writing about a year ago to get so much traffic.  Well, The Raven Cycle and Maggie Stiefvater.  It’s hard to believe that the The Raven King came out a year ago.  That it has been a year since we found out if Gansey, Blue, Ronan and Adam would find the sleeping Welsh King and If Blue and Gansey would kiss and if Gansey would die.  Those mysteries have been solved.  Thankfully, we know that we haven’t read the last of the Gang as Maggie is working on a trilogy about Ronan. Whee!!!

And we have another Maggie book coming in October.  So we have a lot to look forward to but let’s take a moment, in honor of the 1 year anniversary of the release of The Raven King and the end of the The Raven Cycle, to look at everything we have ever written about the series.

What I’m Listening to Now: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Public Service Announcement

What I’m Thankful for

Cover Reveal: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Books that Rocked My Face off, Part two

Let’s Do Some Reading: Goals for 2015

Cover Reveal: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Discussion Posts: Re-reading series before the new installment comes out

Books that Rocked My Face Off in 2015

What I Can’t Wait to Read in 2016

First Listen of The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Countdown to The Raven King!

What I’m ReReading Now: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Observations on The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Observations on The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Observations on Blue Lily Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

My To-Read List for the next month or so

Discussion: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater Part 1

Discussion: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater Part 2

Discussion: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater Part 3

Discussion: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater Part 4

Discussion: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater Part 5

Discussion: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater Part 6

Discussion: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater Part 7

What I’m Reading Now: THE RAVEN KING BY MAGGIE STIEFVATER

What I’m Listening to: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Review: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Our Top 5 Posts of 2016

My Top 10 Books I read in 2016

Top Eight for 2016!

Th Raven Cycle as a TV Show Yes Please

March: Discussion Part 3

9781603093958_p0_v6_s192x300I would like to discuss the format. What do you think about John Lewis presenting this story as a graphic novel instead of a straight narrative story?  I personally, I loved it.  I think it was kind of genius. It’s one thing to read about the sit-ins, marches and the violence that followed but it’s another thing to have it visualized.  The illustrations are truly powerful and really make his story and the story of the Civil Rights movement come to life.  The graphic novel format also makes it more accessible.  How many kids or teens willing read history books?  All three books were quick reads but still powerful.  Giving the readers a full look of all the challenges that John Lewis and the movement faced.  The sacrifices that they made, knowing that they could be arrested or killed.  The visual aspect of the novel makes all of these more powerful because the illustrations are simple, yet specific.

Do you agree with me? What do you think of the presentation?

Discussion: How do you define diversity in your reading?

So question for you.  As you know, here at Stacks are trying to broaden our horizons by seeking out stories, narratives and authors from diverse voices.  Last year we created our Diverse Stacks, Diverse Lives Reading challenge and we had mixed results.  I think we both only completed half of the challenge.  This year we decided to split up our challenge and focus on different aspects of the our original Challenge. Kate is leading our Diverse Authors Challenge and I’m spearheading our Diverse Narrators Challenge.  So far this year I have read 10 books and I have read some diverse narrators from Essun in The Fifth Season, Ms. Marvel and Frangie and Rainey from Silver Stars.  I’m starting to read King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard, who has described her main character, Mare as a mix race (white/Latinx).  I’m looking at my challenge and wondering about characters like Mare and Essun.  They are both described as olive or dark skinned respectively.  They are not the traditional white heroines that we have come to identify in fantasy and well fiction in general but they do not reside in  our world.  They live in a fantasy worlds that the authors created on their own.  In the case of Mare though, she lives in a world that came out of the ruins of the US after years of wars and natural disasters. Technically, Norta is the US but hundreds of the years in the future.  So can we count them in our challenge?  Is it cheating?  Or is it okay since they represent people and cultures in our world.  They may not be African American or Latina in the sense that we define them but they represent that narrative.  Women of Color can look to these characters and others like them and see themselves in them and isn’t that in the spirit of our challenge?  So dear readers out there, how do you define diversity in our reading?  Are strict in definition or if a character is define as “dark skinned” or “olive skinned” or anything but “fair skinned” as a diverse characters?

Let’s discuss this, sound off in the comments below.

March: Discussion Post 1

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Beth and I have both finally gotten our copies of March in the mail, and I started reading it at breakfast this morning! This couldn’t be a more pertinent read. As I am sure you have seen, Senator Elizabeth Warren was officially silenced for the rest of the hearing on whether to confirm Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. She was silenced for reading out part of a letter written by Coretta Scott King to the chair of the judiciary committee in 1986 on Sessions’ possible appointment to a federal judgeship. Warren was officially silenced for, ‘breaking Rule 19, which forbids members from imputing to a colleague “any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.”‘ (quote from NPR.)

 

In the letter, King writes about the march from Selma to Montgomery in the letter, setting the stage to discuss subsequent actions designed to deny people their right to vote. She writes, “I was privileged to join Martin and many others during the Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights in 1965. Martin was particularly impressed by the determination to get the franchise of blacks in Selma and neighboring Perry County.” You can read the letter in its entirety here.

 

Volume one begins with Lewis’s early life; we won’t get to Selma until volume 3 (I believe). It is not often that we read historical pieces that are so immediately relevant as we read them.

For this post, I’m not going to ask discussion questions. So, please feel free to comment with your first impressions of the graphic novel. Are you reading along with us? Have you started? How do you feel about pet chickens? We look forward to hearing what you have to say in the comments.

Supporting Small Presses

Last year, completely by accident, I discovered that small presses sometimes offer subscriptions. What better way to support books, publishing and literacy? You buy a subscription and they send books as soon as they come out! Amazing!

 

So, I did some googling around and here are three small presses who offer subscriptions.

 

Sibling Rivalry Press is a publisher of poetry. They are a publisher devoted to “[promoting] underground artistic talent – those who don’t quite fit into the mainstream.” I’ve not read anywhere near enough of this year’s subscription, but everything I’ve read I’ve really enjoyed.

 

Above/ground press seems to have their fingers in a lot of different publishing pies. (That’s exciting if you, like me, like to read around.) Their subscription includes a number of different types of things (chapbooks and broadsheets and who knows what else?) It seems pretty cool.

 

Burrow Press‘s subscription includes their physical books, ebooks and a membership pin. There are four titles listed at the link that are slated to come out in 2017 and who knows what else will be added?

 

The only one that I have subscribed to before was Sibling Rivalry and that was delightful. The other two look pretty good as well. Have you done a subscription to a small press before? Did you like it? Do you have any subscription suggestions for us? Take to the comments and let us know!

 

 

 

 

 

Diverse Stacks, Diverse Lives 2016

bookchallenge2016image

Kate and I have given updates on our Challenges and well we are not doing as well as both of would like.  We want to know, dear readers, how many of you attempted our Diverse Stack, Diverse Lives Reading Challenge?  With only 31 days left how many books have you read and how many more do you need to complete yours?  We are thinking of doing this again next year but changing the focus to only on sub-challenge instead of three.  We are open to suggestions.  What should we add to next years challenge?  What should we leave off?  Let us know how we can make next year’s challenge more accessible while still helping us all reach our goals of diversifying our reading lists.

This Month in Reality: Book lists and Syllabi

A lot of terrible things have happened…well, all of human history might accurately categorized as action and reaction when terrible things happen. One of those actions that people can take is educating oneself and trying to be a better person and/or not be as much a part of the problem. I have been heartened to see what might be a new trend in book lists: the syllabus. (Can a tool for teaching in the classroom be thought of as a “new” trend out of the classroom?) I am always happy to see thematic lists and I’m always looking for new things to read, so I have been collecting them. Some of the following are actual syllabuses for college courses and some of them are just curated lists on a topic. I’ve got them and I’ve been looking back through them now that I’m aware of how far behind I am on my reading challenge. While I was looking at them, I thought I might share them with you.

This first link is an in-depth list but together following the mass shooting in Charleston in June of 2015. This list is amazing in its detail. It provides historical context starting with a general overview before readings on slavery in both the North and the South before going onto the civil war, reconstruction, and Jim Crow. There are readings on race and religion. There are readings on white identity construction and white supremacy in the US and abroad.

The next syllabus I have to offer is the Black Lives Matter 2016 Fall Syllabus. This syllabus was put together by Professor Frank Leon Roberts at NYU for a class. This is a nice syllabus because it includes not only papers and texts to read but it also includes videos and films to watch. The syllabus also includes writing prompts for reflection papers, so while you are reading and watching, you can also do some digesting.

The Standing Rock Syllabus, put together by the NYC stands with Standing Rock collective includes readings on topics like settler colonialism, the histories of indigenous peoples in North America, environmental racism, and readings on Indian sovereignty and treaty law.

The Lemonade syllabus grew out of a desire that many people had to understand and better get all of the references in Beyonce’s visual album Lemonade. It was put together by Candice Benbow and is beautiful. It is stunningly laid out, once you’ve followed the link from the site. It is 36 pages and includes space to make notes and to write down the date when you finished reading. The syllabus is divided into topics that include (but are not limited to) fiction, non-fiction, black feminism, womanist theology, photography, music, critical theory and poetry. It is so cool. People had questions, they took to twitter and using a hashtag gave each other answers.  I cannot understate how in awe of this syllabus I am.

The Luke Cage Syllabus is a look at the literature in the netflix show Luke Cage but together by Tara Betts at Black Nerd Problems. These are books that are seen or referenced in the show. This syllabus is my convenient excuse for re-watching the show.

These last two I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to look over yet. One of them is a google doc and I’m not sure who it is edited by but it is a reading list for white people who want to educate themselves so that they can be more informed. It is divided up thematically and includes readings on systemic racism and racist ideology, the history of black lives matter and readings on steps you can take to combat racism. The last one is from Haymarket books and is called the Stop Trump Reading List. This list contains books that talk may help you understand how Trump was elected and it includes a link to a list of books especially for young people.

So, there you have it. Syllabi and reading lists to help you find your next book(s) and  to learn a little about issues in the world and also about references in pop culture you may be missing!

If you have any suggestions or have seen any reading lists/syllabi out there that I missed, please take to the comments and let me know!

 

Discussion: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater Part 7

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Tomorrow’s the day!  The Raven King is finally going to be out in the world and all of our questions will be answered.  It’s exciting but also little sad.  I really don’t want this series to end. I’m not sure I’m ready to say goodbye to Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam, Noah, Maura, Calla,  The Gray Man or even Orla.  All things must come to an end so how will it end?  How will Gansey die and how long will he be dead?  Will one of the favors they ask of Glendower be to bring him back? What about Noah, will he still be dead after this?  Will any of them get their happily ever after?  Will Ronan live out his life at the Barns with his brother and Mother?  Will Adam leave Virginia behind?  Will Blue go off to college and travel the world?  Will Glendower be everything they were hoping he would be?

Here’s what I think.  I don’t think that Gansey will stay dead for very long.  I think he will die and Noah will sacrifice his chance to live again for Gansey’s chance to live again.  Finally allowing him to cross over to where you go after you die.  I’m not sure how the third sleeper will play out but I think that they will have to wake Glendower to help fight it.  I do think Adam and Blue will go to college out of state but will always come back every summer to hang with Gansey and Ronan who will want to stay.  That’s what I think but who knows.  I’m probably completely off.  The Good news is that it’s only one more day until we’ll find out.

Part 1: The Role of New characters

Part 2: The Role of Characters who are not new but new to Henrietta..

Part 3: The Role of Persephone’s death.

Part 4: The Role of Ronan

Part 5: The Role of Gansey

Part 6:The Role of Love and Relationships

Discussion: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater Part 6

the raven kingLet’s talk relationships.  Honestly I think the friendships are the most important relationships in the series but I think most people focus on the romantic relationships.  There is Bluesey aka Blue and Gansey and Adnan (or is Rodam? I’m not really sure what their ship is called) aka Ronan and Adam.  Obviously, Blue and Gansey are a go.  We started to see their relationship bloom in Blue Lily Lily Blue.  They tried to keep their attraction a secret as they didn’t want to upset Adam and honestly that was good call.  Though, I wonder how hurt Adam is really going to be knowing that they can never kiss.  I guess it will still hurt anyway that she would chose Gansey over him.  I think now he can handle it as he seems to be in a much better head space than where he was at the beginning of the book.  We also know that Blue and Gansey will kiss.  We knew that was going to happen since The Raven Boys. We got a glimpse of what it’s going to be like when Blue stepped in the tree and saw them kiss.  She saw how Gansey knew what kissing Blue would mean but wanting to anyway.  I think this goes back to what I said yesterday.  Gansey knows he’s going to die, he might as well go out doing what he wants.  But when will it happen?  Early on in the book? Right before they find Glendower?  Will they only get that one kiss?  Will it end in tears? I’m pretty sure it’s a yes to those last questions.

What about Ronan and Adam?  We know that Ronan is gay.  I do love his coming out or really his lack of one.  I like that Maggie wrote his sexual preference the way she wrote the others.  It didn’t need to be a big reveal because if you were following his arc, you would have seen his preference.  Adam on the other hand is not so clear cut.  He was fully infatuated with Blue in The Raven Boys.  I think in The Dream Thieves it was more just him wanting to be loved.  Wanting to be wanted and he thought Blue was the person who was going to be that for him.  By the end, they sort of realized that wasn’t going to happen.  Things were a little awkward in Blue Lily Lily Blue but I think by the end they found a balance between the two of them.  Adam also starts to suspect Ronan’s feelings for him and is flattered.  Ronan is a rich, attractive guy.  He could have anyone he wanted so for him to want Adam, made him special.  Made him feel wanted. Which is what Adam wants.  I think Ronan has hope that Adam will reciprocate his feelings.  He shows that in the hand cream he gives Adam and the trust he has in Adam when he tells him about Matthew.  He shows Adam his vulnerability, which is not easy for someone like Ronan.  Now, Maggie has said on twitter that she wrote the two kisses that fans have been waiting for.  I can only assume she means these two since the only other couple is Maura and the Gray Man and they have already kissed. So how will Ronan and Adam’s kiss go down?  Will it be a moment of shared grief over loss?  A moment of curiosity on one or both of their parts? Will it be the beginning of a relationship or the realization that they are just friends?  All we do know is that they are going to be a lot more kissing in this book then probably in all the other books combined.

Part 1: The Role of New characters

Part 2: The Role of Characters who are not new but new to Henrietta..

Part 3: The Role of Persephone’s death.

Part 4: The Role of Ronan

Part 5: The Role of Gansey