Hi! This is Florinda from The 3 R’s Blog enjoying a cup of coffee at Book Journey. I’m glad Sheila invited me to be one of her blog-sitters while she’s on a real-life journey of her own, although I’m more than a little envious she gets to go to Australia.
I’ve known Sheila and Book Journey for so long I can’t actually remember when we first “met” virtually, but I absolutely remember meeting her in person for the first time in New York City during the week of Book Expo 2011. That was my first time at BEA, but not my last, and hanging out with Sheila has been one of the highlights of every visit there–because if you know how much fun she is on her blog, you can just imagine what she’s like in person!
Knowing Sheila has influenced me in two major ways: as an audiobook reader, and as a reader/re-reader of Banned Books. The annual celebration of Banned Books Week is one of my favorite features at Book Journey, and I’ve joined in several times. In 2012, we both posted reviews of the often-challenged YA novel The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier. It was a re-read for me, and I said:
“My recollection was that The Chocolate War was a pretty dark novel, and it certainly is, but its dystopian world is that of the contemporary high school–and at almost forty years old, it barely feels dated at all. In fact, its bullying theme may be, sadly, even more timely now. Cormier’s characterizations aren’t terribly complex, but his adolescent boys behave believably. The novel’s plotting is tight and the tension rarely lets up. There’s a good deal of violence here, both psychological and physical…The Chocolate War is chilling, unsettling, and very true to life, and I can see many reasons why it’s frequently challenged, It’s also a defining work of young-adult fiction that needs to be read and discussed for many years to come.”
Sheila listened to the audiobook, and she said:
“Can you say we have a winner? The Chocolate War is the portrayal of a dystopian type world where you just need to fall in line with what you are told to do… (think Pink Floyd, The Wall video). When Jerry comes on the scene and at first is bullied into not selling the chocolates like everyone else and then decided to not sell at all.. things get pretty crazy in this book.
“Bullying is a strong theme throughout the book, and not just the physical kind – and not just from the students…. really the book is powerful and sad but really made an impact on me. I am so glad I read it.”
(This is just one of the hundreds of reviews you’ll find in Book Journey’s review archives–go take a look, and see what books you and Sheila have in common!)
Banned Books Week 2015 will take place the week of September 27-October 3. I’m sure Sheila will be observing it here at Book Journey, and I’m marking my calendar now so I have some reading planned for it–you might want to do the same! Till then, thanks for Meandering with me today!