In November of 1959 a family who lived in Holcomb Kansas was brutally attacked, killed and left. The murders of the Clutter family were senseless. The family was well-respected humble farmers and had no enemies as far as anyone knew.
It turned out it was two ex convicts from the Kansas State Penitentiary had heard from another inmate who had worked for the Clutters at one time that the farmer had a safe of money. As it turned out, this was untrue and the convicts left with $43 after they killed the family.
One thing went wrong after another. The foiled crime did not give the two men the money they thought they would have to escape and start new lives. Instead they stayed in hiding, writing out bad checks to survive until they were captured and tried for the murders.
Author Truman Capote heard about the crimes and traveled with his fellow author friend Harper Lee to investigate the crimes. This book is the true account of the murders.
Initially this book was chosen by our book club to read for our October Classic. To me, it was also a bonus that it is a banned book. While I am not sure how a true crime book will go over in book club (it has been many years since we have read one as a group), I however enjoy a true crime now and then. Enjoy? That sounds awful.
I listened to In Cold Blood on audio mainly because I was not sure when I would get to it in book format. Narrator Scott Brick was a good voice for this style of read. Informative and crisp in his words, he read like a detective novel unfolding its story page by page. I While this is a true crime book, it reads as fiction. Truman Capote wrote this book in a story format where it is easy to slip into a fiction state of mind and forget that you are reading about horrible senseless murders.
I did enjoy (there’s that word again!) the book and learning about the crime novel that made it to a classic. There is a lot of information about the two killers before, during, and after the crime. At 14 hours and 27 minutes on audio, it felt a little drug out.
Over all… happy to say that I have read this one, but will more than likely not be revisiting it.
Why was In Cold Blood Banned?
Some Glendale (CA) Unified School District officials and parents attempted to block a request by a high school English teacher to add the text to the district’s advanced English curriculum because the nonfiction book was “too violent for a young audience;” the school board voted 4-0 to approve the book for Advanced Placement students.
Banned, but reinstated in an English Advanced Placement class in Savannah (GA) after a parent complained that it contained sex, violence, and profanity.
You will hear from the Bookies Book Group in October about their thoughts on the book.
Being a teenager is not easy now… and it wasn’t then.
Told in the first person perspective of an unnamed teenage girl, who is just trying to fit in. When she is invited to a popular girls party she can not believe her luck! They play a game called “Who’s Got The Button”, which our narrator later learns that several of the cokes they are served at the party are laced with LSD… the question is who will get them? Our narrator of course is one that does, and she experiences her first high.
As time goes on, she becomes more willing to try other drugs to find out what they will feel like. She becomes not only popular in her school, but also a drug dealer to pay for her habits.
Written in diary form, Go Ask Alice walks you through the drug use and the terrible happenings associated with her highs such as sex, leaving home, in with the wrong so-called “friends” and then leads to her trying to come clean and be the girl she knows deep down inside she is.
WOW. I picked up this book at our recent Friends Of The Library sale. I am always on the look out for classics and banned books (often one and the same) when I seen a copy of this book. Go Ask Alice is small, 224 under size pages and written in diary format so is a quick read. My plan was to read this for banned book week, and although I did not finish it during the week I meant to, I did finish it.
Go Ask Alice, written originally in 1971 is still relevant today. I am not sure why it is called Go Ask Alice, there is a small encounter with a girl named Alice… but nothing worthy of naming the book after her (although I did momentarily wonder if the “Alice” she seen in the book, was indeed our narrator thinking of herself as another person…)
The book is sad. You find our narrator trying to break free of the circle of drugs and those involved, but it is a struggle in many ways. Even when she does get clean, she is pursued by the users as well as nightmares and well… read the book. There is more to this story.
Go Ask Alice is said in the front of the book that is the actual diary of a teenage girl. If you look on-line, you will find there is much discrepancy about this claim. Snopes.com calls it out as fiction. Merely a cautionary tale. It also calls out that the book is not really anonymous, although this is pretty common knowledge now – the author is actually Beatrice Sparks who had written a number of teen books dealing with topics such as AIDS, teen pregnancy, cults, drugs, and eating disorders.
True story or not, it made for an interesting read and truly can put the fear of drugs and the dangers of hanging with the wrong people in you.
Recommended. So you too can say you read it.
Go Ask Alice… WHY Was It Banned?
Since it’s publishing in 1971, Go Ask Alice has become one of the most challenged and banned books of all time. Due to its frequent and strong references to sex, heavy drug usage, and teen pregnancy, libraries and schools across the country have banned the novel as it sits at number 23 on the American Library Association (ALA) “100 Most Frequently Challenged Books” from 1990-2001. In Charleston, South Carolina, Dr.Chester Floyd, Berkeley County school district’s superintendent, pulled the novel off the shelves of all public schools within the district.
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse; Reprint edition (January 1, 2006)
Egads. Sunday. Survivor of the fall book sale for the library. Yesterday was our bag sale… $2 for as many books as you can put in a bag. We were a little nervous because we found out on Friday that the Homecoming parade would shut down our sale for a little over an hour as they passed by our road.
Never fear – we made a little square flyer and went and handed them out to participants… you know… like people do in parades… it was… well…
look for yourself:
There was a good 30 to 40 in the room for most of the day. Our sales went over $6,000. I am so excited about that but OH SO TIRED! Even my arms ache!
That all said… as you can imagine this craziness going on this past week really put a damper on my Banned Book Week plans. Thank goodness for all of you who linked your own banned book posts up to the week plans. Not only did I read each of your posts, you inspired me to look for a couple more titles that I was unaware of.
If you have not had a chance to look at the banned book posts, please do. There are some amazing posts and giveaways… and you may learn something new about a book that you love! 🙂
As for me… I was just too tired to read. I am in the middle of two banned books that I should be able to finish up today, and an audio book which is not only a banned book but also our book club read for October.
Here are the books that came into my home this week (not including book sale books – those I will post later)
Saturday! The final day of the Official Banned Book Week and for myself, I am a little bummed. My week could not have been busier. I worked Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and had something each of those evenings I was committed to. Thursday, Friday, and Today have been the fall book sale and I have been there at least 12 hours a day. My reading time has been close to not. I am however in the middle of: Go Ask Alice, Brave New World, and In Cold Blood (audio for book club). My banned book week apparently will trickle over into next week a bit.
We have a couple more blogs connecting their banned book posts today:
All the other amazing posts that went up this week on banned books, banned book reviews, and giveaways are found here.
Note: Commenting on any of my banned book related posts this week will enter you into my giveaway. (one entry per relevant comment)
I hope you enjoyed Banned Book Week and I really hope that you read some of these great posts that went up this week. I have read every one and added a couple “must reads” to my list by seeing what they are talking about.
As for me – I am back to the book sale this morning. It is the last day and it is the bag sale – $2 for a brown paper bag that you fill with books. Always a good time 🙂
Coming in a little late today – my shenanigans of yesterday morning (up at 3:30 am to be the first one at the library books sale and then working the sale until 8:00 pm last night took its tole.) Holy smoked was I TIRED.
If you missed yesterdays pic – I actually set up a tent at the sale as a joke:
Today – I am back working the sale now until 8 pm tonight.. I feel a little more rested and ready to roll, but quickly taking a break to write this post.
We have more awesome peeps writing about banned books today!
Jennifer at The Relentless Reader reviewed Fun Home by Alison Bechdel a book I had never read (or heard of!) but now want to!
Elle at The Erratic Project Junkie talks about when censorship backfires – right there in her own corner of the world. It is a great post!
Wesley at Library Educated (love that name!) rants about Why The Caged Bird Sings in a passionate way that will make you want to read the book!
Julia at Diary Of Word Nerd talks about Perks Of Being a Wallflower and a chance to win a gift card!
Kimberly at Truly Simply Pink talk about her favorite banned book and what The Huffington Post is saying this week.
Thats whats new. Please check out these great posts Banned book awareness is so important! I am off.. .I had better get back to that book sale 🙂
Good morning! Welcome to the Thursday of Banned Books week. But wait… where am I??? I have left at 4 am this morning for the book sale at the Library.
Why so early?
Because I am in competition to be first in line. I know.. I know… ridiculous for sure… but honestly… it is fun. In the spring I missed my number one spot by 5 minutes because this girl *finger pointing at me* stopped to get coffee. I know! I really need to control my caffeine urges!
I have a strategic plan… I have joked for years about camping out the night of the sale… and this time. I am doing it.
Mmmmm hmmmm….. that’s the way we I roll.
SO thats what I am doing.. more on the sale and all that later…. for now.. lets add our newest contributors to Banned Book Week:
Kym at My Book Nook shares her thoughts on the banned book, The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
Erin at Quixotic Magpie talks about the banning of Judy Blume’s Blubber. (She has a great quote about bullying on this post!)
Earlier this week this post was on Books Are My Thing. I am now posting it here as well as it is my personal story about a book banning that hit way too close to home and I think it is important to share the details of how a group can fester into attacking a book. ~Sheila
I am a huge advocate of Banned Books. Ever since I discovered these books about 4 years ago, and what books they are and why they have been banned or challenged… I have come to love them and support them. Which is why – I was all the more disheartened by a happening in my own home town of Brainerd Minnesota this past February.
A friend of mine had called me and said that a mutual person we knew, I will call him Dave, was looking to put together a local team of people who would look at books for our school library. This sounded very positive to me and my friend had said that she had given Dave my name as a possible person of interest in this project. I had visions of helping to promote books for the high school and being President Of The Friends Of The Library as well as on our city Library Board, I was thrilled about the concept.
Then, the phone call came.
Dave had left me a message and as I listened to it, my heart sank. Dave mentioned that this team he was putting together was a team that would take books out of the system that he and his team deemed inappropriate, in fact – they had a book they wanted to tackle right now and hoped I would join in their fight. The book he described as being of poor quality, severe language and idea, and taking the Lord’s name in vain. As his message went on I wondered what book could it be that had him so fired up… could it be 50 Shades Of Gray (a book I have not read nor do I plan to read it so I did not know its exact contents), or maybe I thought it was Hunger Games….
When Doug mentioned the book title, my heart fell.
Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck.
As Dave spoke I quickly googled Of Mice And Men on my laptop to see what the issues were. I had not read of Mice and Men, but had a copy at home on my book shelf with the classics.
When I looked it up I found this: Why Is Steinbeck’s Work Considered a Controversial Book?
Of Mice and Men offers a wealth of rich themes, insight into the deeper levels of the human mind, and an open doorway into some of the darker issues of life — death, racism, sexism, false hopes, and the harshness of poverty. For educators interested in stimulating the minds of their students and encouraging critical thought John Steinbeck’s controversial book is perfect; so, why was it a banned book? The following are complaints that have arisen in the past, are of concern to parents today, and will probably be brought up in the future:
• Use of the ‘N’ word;
• Some claim it’s derogatory towards African Americans;
• Some claim it’s derogatory towards women;
• Racial slurs;
• Violence; and
• Absence of traditional values.
Still, the students were High School Students that they were trying to remove this book from. That did not make sense to me. Clearly Dave did not know my stance at all with Banned Books, or my role at the Library. Not only was I not interested in his attack team – I was against what he was trying to do.
In the end, Dave did go ahead and have his day of trying to remove the book from the library and he failed. (See newspaper article)
For myself, it was pretty amazing to see firsthand what people try to do because they feel something should not be read.Honestly, I still get upset when I think about. What Dave and his group should do is check out the banned books list… I know for a fact there is at least one book on that list that they would hate to see not made available to the public. Why is it ok for anyone to think they can pick and choose for all?
Banning books is wrong. Just because you or I choose not to read something does not give us the right to say that NOBODY can read it. Books, like Of Mice and Men are part of our culture and history. I for one will be reading this book this year during Banned Books Week.
*puts away soap box… off to read a banned book*
Note: Commenting on any of my banned book related posts this week will enter you into my giveaway. (one entry per relevant comment)
Also – this posts comments will enter you into a chance to win a copy of Mice and Men. It’s the least I can do. 😉
good and going too many different directions for sure. Why did banned book week have to fall in such a busy week? Board meetings, helping friends, dinner out, movies, and the book sale. I think next year I need to plan a week at the cabin so I can just read what I want to read…
and really…. isn’t that what banned book week is all about? Being allowed to read what we want to read?
Today I add another group of fellow passionate Banned Book Bloggers to the mix. Please check out these amazing posts:
Felicia at The Geeky Bloggers Book Blog talks about Book Banning In Texas as well as her super cool library and banned books AND a super cool giveaway too!
Sue at Book by Book shares her thoughts on Book Banning and what she is reading this week – great thoughts on banning!
Holly At Gun In Act One (what a fun blog name!) writes a passionate post about the ridiculousness of trying to protect our kids from reading about drugs, alcohol, etc.. when the outcome of this use in the books is truly a reason to not do any of the above! Seriously – check out this fun and meaningful post!
And since Felicia posted pics of her libraries Banned Books window… I figured I would post mine as well. This is the window currently set up at the library. Note that Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men is front and Center… a personal attack on that one right in our town – more on that later today. 😉
Have you picked up a banned book yet this week? If not… are you sure? Chances are you have read a banned/challenged book this year.
*Note: Commenting on any of my banned book related posts this week will enter you into my giveaway. (one entry per relevant comment)
Good Morning! Happy Banned Book Week Tuesday! I am having such a blast and there is more to come each day! I have a sticky post on the top of the blog this week for the banned book posts and giveaways that fellow book reviewers are posting about the banned! Please check it out as that will have the full list of those participating – great posts and great giveaways too.
Today two more posts go up from:
Tracy at Uncharted Parent is talking about The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison and there is a giveaway!
Jennifer at The Book Den talks about her experience reading The Great Gatsby!
Please show both of these reviewers comment love, as well as the other that are linked to Banned book Week (top sticky post on Book Journey).
Harry Potter. If you read me… you know. You know of my unquenchable love of these books and my constant gushing about Dumbledore’s logic, Harry’s capacity for friendship in the worst of situations, JK Rowling’s brilliance from book one to book seven… every time I read them I pick up on something new and clever that ties in later down the story line….
Did you know the Potter books are banned books?
On a website I was reading called info please, I thought they put it very well when they said:
The most prominent objections to Harry Potter fall into three categories: they promote witchcraft; they set bad examples; and they’re too dark. Let’s take a look at each of those.
The Trouble with Magic
One school to ban Harry Potter was St. Mary’s Island Church of England school in Chatham, Kent. Head teacher Carol Rockwood explained that “The Bible is very clear and consistent in its teachings that wizards, devils and demons exist and are very real, powerful and dangerous and God’s people are told to have nothing to do with them.” She added that “I believe it is confusing to children when something wicked is being made to look fun.”
Rockwood is not alone. Her opinion is shared by others who believe that real witchcraft exists, and that all witches are evil. They fear that any books which have good witches or good magic—like the Harry Potter series—will lead people not to take the threat of real witchcraft seriously, and possibly lead them to take the Bible’s teachings in general more lightly. They might even lead readers to become witches themselves.
Others disagree. Some point out that Harry Potter is a fantasy, not a true story, and claim that even children know the difference between the two. Whether or not there is such a thing as evil magic in real life, it has nothing at all to do with the made-up spells and potions found in the books. As an editorial in Christian Century put it, “…critics are right in thinking that fantasy writing is powerful and needs to be taken seriously. But we strongly doubt that it fosters an attachment to evil powers. Harry’s world, in any case, is a moral one.”
Setting a Bad Example
Some people find the Harry Potter books to be inappropriate reading because of the way Harry and his friends behave. Some note that Harry “lies, breaks rules, and disobeys authority figures, including the professors at Hogwarts,” and that he ends up being rewarded and praised for his actions. They feel that heroes should be entirely good people who do as they’re told and respect others.
Others feel that Harry’s rule infractions are part of a long tradition in storytelling. A bit of rule-bending is necessary to get to a story outside of the ordinary, they say, but children can understand that behavior that makes a good story is different from behavior that’s good in general. They also point out that Harry’s rule-breaking does not go without any punishment. And some note, as Mike Hertenstein does in his review of the first Potter film, that “much of Harry’s rule-breaking… involves the principle of disobeying a lower law to keep a higher one—not to say he’s Rosa Parks, but who could criticize Harry’s violation of the no-fly rule to broom his way over a bully and stand up for his friends?”
Finally, some believe that even heroes aren’t perfect; Harry and his friends may do some things wrong, but they are positive role models on the whole, working selflessly for all that’s good and noble.
Some people think that the Harry Potter books—especially the later ones—are too dark and scary for children to handle. The series begins as Harry is orphaned, and he soon learns his parents were violently killed. There are intense battles. Good people die, suddenly and horribly. This, some say, is the stuff of nightmares, not something to be handed to kids as entertainment.
Ahhh…. Harry. What they do not mention of course is how many kids came to love books and reading because of these books. Both of my boys read the books. I read the books to see what my boys were reading and soon, as the series went on – we had three copies of each book in the house as we could not wait to read them.
My favorite Harry Potter story is when we were reading the final book, I was ahead of my son Justin but wanted so badly to be able to discuss the book with him as soon as he read significant parts….
So… I went through his copy and put a post it note on the next page of each BIG MOMENT with something like “Oh wow! Can you believe she just said that?”
When Justin arrived at the first post it note he looked at me (we were both still reading) and said, “Did you do this through my entire book?”
No Harry Potter books. No super cool memories like that one. I am just saying 🙂
The year that final book came out I had a contest here for someone to sing a song about the ending of the series. I can not sing… but I can write. SO I wrote the words, and put it out there for someone to sing it. Danielle responded to my plea:
I still love that…. that sums it up. Harry Potter was for many of us the books our kids read, the books we read… the books we loved. They are the new classics… and I for one, am so glad I was part of the first generation of Potter readers.
Banned shmanned. You can not put a label on that.
Thanks for letting me rant and rave. Any Harry Potter memories for you? Your kids? Your grand kids? The crazy neighbor next door who looks a lot like Snape?
Pretty sure I am re-reading the whole series over the winter.
Comment on this post as well as any of the banned book related posts here this week and you will be entered into my giveaway for the week. One chance per comment.
The Great Gatsby: is a 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that follows a cast of characters living in the fictional town of West Egg on prosperous Long Island in the summer of 1922. The story primarily concerns the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his quixotic passion and obsession for the beautiful former debutante Daisy Buchanan. Considered to be Fitzgerald’s magnum opus, The Great Gatsby explores themes of decadence, idealism, resistance to change, social upheaval, and excess, creating a portrait of the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties that has been described as a cautionary tale regarding the American Dream.
The Great Gatsby is on my TBR for Banned Book Week, but honestly I do not know if I will get to it this week… it is the last one on my list. Last night I rented this movie for three reasons… 1) I had not seen it yet. 2) If I can not get to the banned book, I can watch the movie based off the banned book, 3)I needed a good look at the parties… there is a little something up my sleeve I am thinking about.
The movie is powerful. Having never read the book, I was looking up information on the story online while the movie was on. It is an incredible love story, which is normally not my thing but I was caught up in this one.
I found it sad to learn that the original printing of this book the book sold only 20,000 copies. Published in 1925, Author Fitzgerald did in 1940 feeling the book was a failure… sadly, he never knew what it would become…
During WWII the book had new life breathed into it. It became high school curriculum and went on to stage and film adaption.
My take away is that this is a beautiful telling and I personally am anxious to read the book. I recommend you take the time to experience this movie made from a remarkable classic.
The elements that have been cited for reasons for challenging or banning the book in the past are also essential to Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age setting. (Apparently some feel the 20’s best be forgotten…) Jay Gatsby is a bootlegger, bad boy.