Month: March 2014

Sunday Salon

Hello everyone! It has been awhile since I did a Salon post or even blog. I have been very busy this month: ran my 10km, celebrated a birthday, worked a lot, socialized, and worked out.

The last week was rough as I injured myself so am resting my leg and a bunch of other silly annoying things happened. I’m glad it was done with. Yesterday, I ended it by watching the new Veronica Mars movie. I really enjoyed it and

Today, I went to hot yoga and rewatched the movie and read some fanfiction. I couldn’t resist. I remember watching the show for the first time eight years. It reminded me how addictive I found it. I also downloaded the Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line ebook and audiobook. I’m listening to it now. I’ll put up a review of the book when I’m done. I’ll probably devour the ebook at some point.

I have not been reading very much this month either. I’ve been too busy doing the aforementioned activities. I’ve lost some reading mojo as well. I really need to start my Classics Spin novel: Kim by Rudyard Kipling. Will tonight be the evening?

Hopefully I can read and blog more in April. I know I won’t be blogging in May because I will be in China. I will not be taking my laptop. I’ve loaded my Kindle though and bought a new camera lens.

Now back to some books. Have a great end of March!

This book was difficult to finish. I did not warm to the style and it dragged. I can not pinpoint why exactly since I love social history books. The author has a meandering style and this is usually fine for me as I myself have meandering mind. The book brushes only the tip of the matter on some subjects. Perhaps the subject matter was too broad.

I did learn a couple of neat things as I should with a nonfiction history book, but I was not engaged when reading this book. I found myself wandering off mentally. The book reminds me of Bill Bryson’s Home and Kate Fox’s Watching the English which Hitchins references several times. I found the latter too more better written and focussed. I recommend the latter too if you’re interested in social history and England.

I feel like I am in a reading funk and minor rut. Hopefully the next books are better.

Read March 2-8, 2013.

BTT this week:

I read an interesting blog post from the YA author A.S. King the other day that touched on censorship—especially as it pertains to young adult books.

Here’s an excerpt, but really, you should go read the whole thing because it’s fascinating:

I don’t know about you, but quiet censorship freaks me out. It’s the censorship that’s spoken over tea, over lunch, at random times when we are not prepared to answer because we are caught so off-guard that we really only think about what was said on the plane home. Last year I was asked to be on a censorship panel as an “expert.” I had to reply and say I was not an expert at official challenges. So far, my books haven’t had an official challenge as far as I know. Instead, I get embarrassed looks from dedicated librarians who whisper, “My principal won’t let me have that one in the stacks.” I have quiet un-invitations. I have quiet conversations with saddened teachers who tell me that a colleague said, “But you’re not going to actually give that book to students, are you?” I get quiet letters from devoted teachers who apologize for not being able to share my book with a student who needs it because of a fear of losing their job. Ah quiet. It is usually an indication that something really important is being withheld. Like the way we whisper cancer.

I think most of us are probably against censorship on principle, but … do you think it should vary depending on the impressionable age of the readers? Or is it always wrong? How about the difference between ‘official’ censorship by a government or a school system, as opposed to a parent saying No to a specific book for their child?

This is the kind of topic you write essays and theses about. It covers not only official government censorship, but the issue of parenting. Every parent has the right to teach and raise their child the way they want as long as the child suffers no harm. Often, we can not agree with how a parent chooses to expose it, but where am I to say what someone allows their children to learn? I just hope parents do not let their children live in ignorance and intolerance.

I had no book censorship as a child. As an immigrant, I knew the English language best. I transitioned into adult books at around age 12. I would still read Young Adult novels in high school, but I was increasingly reading more adult books. My own school library had a lot of new, literary adult books. These books were not scandalous.

Books are tools and sources for learning. I think a young person can learn a lot about adults and the world through stories and controversial topics. In my humble opinion, they are better at outlining these issues than TV or movies. I think books open minds in every way so I do not think there is a hard and fast rule about when or how you can censor books for children.

I do think parents and other adults can offer advice to children on what they can read. Some children are more mature than others, but I think some stories and books are better for certain periods in people’s lives. It’s not a matter of right or wrong, but more if the reader can appreciate or relate to the subject matter. I tailor my recommendations to my friends, and I would do the same for my child if I had one.

This was a long answer. What are your thoughts on it?

This book has been on my to read this for a couple years now. It was featured in a book club show that I enjoyed and sounded intriguing. I largely forgot about it, but managed to pick it up again the last few months.

The writing is dry. Very dry. It’s clipped and not overly descriptive. It takes a bit of getting use to or maybe that was because I hadn’t read a novel in over a month when I picked t up.

The novel is about two hit men in the old west. It is violent. It is also quite sad at times. The descriptions and writing about the horses pained me the most. On the other hand, there was some extremely dry and dark humour which made me laugh a couple of times. I have a dry and deadpan sense of humour too.

I definitely think the book had its moments verging on beauty. The ending left me a bit dissatisfied though as it is the sort of ending that just happens. It leaves you wondering about the characters afterwards. There were moments where I did not feel very engaged to the story. I would not recommend it to a lot of people I know since the style is very distinct. I did not mind it, but I did not like this book as much as I had hoped.

February 26-27 2014.