Review: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

No idea why it took me so long to get around to reading this. It felt good to read something that portrayed slavery in the United States where the slaves were both treated as property and subhuman. Books like Gone With the Wind treat slaves as secondary family members.

Uncle Tom bothered me throughout the book. While maybe there were people who maintained such loyalty to both God and master. Pretty sure I would have been more of a George and figured a way to escape.

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Review: The Painted Bird

The Painted Bird
The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosiński
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I chose to read this book for Banned Books Week 2013. A quote from that September 14th blog post:

In tenth grade, this book was assigned to us. It was the most difficult book I had read to that point, but it was also by far the one I wanted to finish most. Traumatic is a good word to describe reading this book. And it has taken a couple decades to want to try reading it again.

Due to a number of parents complaining about the book, our teacher took back the copies. I marked this book as read on Goodreads, but I do not think now I really did finish it. So I plan on finishing it and making it right.

So now I have finished it.

I still think this is the most difficult book I have ever read. The main character suffers constantly from things I can only describe as torture, rape, and assault. I have seen some complaints about the amount of sex and torture in A Song of Ice and Fire. The child in this book is under the age of 12 and goes through more in the first 100 pages than the entirety of ASoIaF. Reading it was an emotional struggle, but I think a book that brings out that much emotion is good.

It lost a star for the ending. The last 30 or so pages left me wondering why they were included as they felt like an entirely different book. Maybe that was something like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder where after so much terror a normal text no longer feels right.

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Constitution Day

Apparently September 17th is Constitution Day. This is the day in 1787 when the document was signed. (July 4th is for the Declaration of Independence.) Schools receiving Federal funding are supposed to spend part of the day teaching about the Constitution.

I wonder how many people have a copy of it?

If you have an eBook reader, then you should be able to get a free copy of the United States Constitution. Because it is in the public domain, anyone can publish it for free. Project Gutenberg posted it back in 2003.

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

Additional thinking about Compiled List of Challenged Books 2008-2012 made me copy Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009 and do the same markup as indicated below.

Those I have already read are in bold. That appears to be fourteen.

Those already on my to-read list are in underlined. That appears to be eight.

Those I just have no interest or failed to finish are in strike-through. That appears to be one.

Looks like the ratio is about the same on this 100 count list as the 34 count list. Maybe I can knock out these eight by the end of next year?

Read moreTop 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

Compiled List of Challenged Books 2008-2012

Comments on my Banned Books Week 2013 post yesterday via Facebook made me wonder which of the books recently challenged according the American Library Association’s data I have actually read or plan on reading. So I compiled the 2008-2102 top 10 challenged books for 2008 through 2012 (five years) and sorted and de-duplicated the list. That is a list of 34 books or series.

Those I have already read are in bold. That appears to be five.

Those already on my to-read list are in underlined. That appears to be three.

Those I just have no interest or failed to finish are in strike-through. That appears to be three.

This gives me a starting point to look for additional books to read.

Click through to see the list.

Read moreCompiled List of Challenged Books 2008-2012

Banned Books Week 2013

Censorship is alive and well in the United States. Someone will object to something in any book. But it takes amazing gall to prevent others from reading what one does not like.

Banned Books Week this year, 2013, is September 22-28. I just received my copy of The Painted Bird a few days ago. I plan to read it that week.

In tenth grade, this book was assigned to us. It was the most difficult book I had read to that point, but it was also by far the one I wanted to finish most. Traumatic is a good word to describe reading this book. And it has taken a couple decades to want to try reading it again.

Due to a number of parents complaining about the book, our teacher took back the copies. I marked this book as read on Goodreads, but I do not think now I really did finish it. So I plan on finishing it and making it right.

A few months ago I read The Kite Runner which apparently is in the top 10 banned books this year. Currently I am reading The Poisonwood Bible which my twelfth grade teacher left her job over the school not supporting her assigning it. (I kind of get how Baptist parents would object to the negative portrayal of a family of them as missionaries in the 1960s Congo as clueless.) I do not TRY to read banned books, but I guess I am just lucky. Maybe I am making up for last year not reading any?

Review: Dorothy And the Wizard in Oz

Dorothy And the Wizard in Oz
Dorothy And the Wizard in Oz by L. Frank Baum
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was more a series of short stories from starting point of Dorothy acquiring new friends, the Wizard, and a series of unfortunate events. They travel from realm to realm encountering strange peoples. Definitely a Baum book.

My favorite chapter perhaps is the trial of Eureka. I loved this kitten. The chapter seemed a lesson on the problem with relying on pseudo-inductive reasoning. Hypotheticals without teasing out the data to show they reflect real situations are fantasies. Relying on fantasies to decide innocent and guilt are troubling.

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