Banned Books #60- Arming America: The Origin Of A National Gun Culture

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Welcome to the 60th edition of Banned Books! Wow. 60! This month we read Arming America: The Origin Of A National Gun Culture.

Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture

First published: 2000
In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2003 (source)
Reasons: inaccuracy

Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?

BETH: Full disclosure time – I haven’t had a chance to finish this book. To be perfectly honest, I did give it a shot and found it so dry and difficult to read. Additionally, even if I was reading this off my own back and not for our Banned Books Challenge I would have still DNF’d it halfway through the first chapter. I have however done a little bit of research on this book as I was still intrigued to find out why exactly it was banned. Like all of our banned books I go into it blind without finding out the reasons for challenging but you always have preconceptions about these kinds of things and initially I was certain it was going to be because of the mention of guns and potentially, violence.

Once again I was completely wrong – the actual reason is inaccuracy which has to be one of the most curious arguments I’ve heard yet for challenging a book and definitely made me want to find out more! Of course, inaccuracy in a work of non-fiction is never a good thing, especially when you’re writing information for your reader that they presume to be entirely factual. As I’m not an expert on this field though, I’d hesitate to offer my opinion on the matter.

CHRISSI: I have to admit, like Beth did, I didn’t read all of this book. It was a beast of a book at over 600 pages long. I was really confused to find out the reason why it was banned was inaccuracy? What? I thought it would be because it was violent subject matter. Very confusing. If you’ve read this book all the way through, please tell us if there’s something that we’re missing?

How about now?

BETH: The uproar behind the publication of this book appears to centre around parts of the author’s research being completely fabricated. It certainly has one of the lowest readings I’ve ever seen on Goodreads – 2.89 which made me slightly concerned to read it before I had even begun, I have to admit. It seems that the original Bancroft Prize which was awarded to this book was taken away, the first time in the prize’s history that it has been revoked and Bellesiles had to resign from his post at Emory University after “blistering criticism by a blue-ribbon panel.” The edition of Arming America I read had a new introduction by the author where he offered explanations behind his research in the original edition and that he had made changes in this edition where necessary. As I mentioned before, I’m not an expert in this field so can’t possibly comment on what he did or didn’t do wrong but I could understand readers becoming angry if they felt they were misled or in receipt of false information. For further information, I found this article quite interesting: http://hnn.us/articles/1185.html

CHRISSI: I can understand why this book has been banned if there was stuff in it that is fabricated and that could cause more damage. I doubt anyone wants untruths out there in a work of non-fiction. So although I don’t think inaccuracies is a good enough reason to ban a book, I can see why they did?

What did you think of this book?:

BETH: I’m afraid this book just wasn’t for me. I have quite strong opinions on guns anyway as a pacifist, but do respect other people’s points of view if they differ from my own. I’m a fan of non-fiction generally but sitting down with this book unfortunately felt like a chore rather than a pleasure. It’s a shame to say that I was quite relieved to make the decision to DNF it.

CHRISSI: Like Beth, this book wasn’t for me. I wasn’t impressed with the writing and it didn’t grip me like I wanted it to. The size of the book was intimidating and I found the writing was rather dry for my liking.

Would you recommend it?:

BETH: Probably not.

CHRISSI: It’s not for me!

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Top Ten Tuesday- 10 Releases I’m Excited About For The Second Half Of The Year

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It’s all about love of lists, love of literature and bringing bookish people together. 

This week it’s all about books that we’re eagerly anticipating! I like these lists, although I know this week my TBR will grow. Argh! Oh well, it’s worth it! 😉

As ever, book images go to Goodreads!

All the Bad Apples

I am intrigued by this book. I liked The Accident Season and I’m intrigued to read this story.

The Best Lies

I love a good mystery and this one sounds like it could be good!

Say You Still Love Me

I don’t often read this kind of book anymore, but I do like K.A Tucker’s writing, so I’m interested in this one.

Color outside the Lines

I enjoy a lot off the authors that are featured in this anthology. I’m looking forward to it.

The Downstairs Girl

As you can tell, I like to vary my reading and this one sounds like a great piece of historical fiction.

Full Disclosure

This book sounds like it could be very powerful. It’s about a character that is HIV positive.

Color Me In

I’m all about diverse reads and this one looks like a decent YA read!

Maybe This Time

I can’t resist a bit of Kasie West’s writing! It’s perfect for a light read.

Wayward Son (Simon Snow, #2)

I am so intrigued by this one. I’m wondering where it could go!

Wilder Girls

This book sounds SO good.

Which releases are you looking forward to for the last half of this year? Let me know! Feel free to leave a link to your post and I’ll stop by!

My Not So Perfect Life

My Not So Perfect Life

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Standalone-

Wedding Night

Finding Audrey

Shopaholic Series

Shopaholic To The Stars

Synopsis:

Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle–from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she’s desperate to make her dad proud.

Then, just as she’s finding her feet–not to mention a possible new romance–the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family’s farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away–until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.

Thoughts:

Sophie Kinsella used to be one of my favourite authors that I loved to read as soon as she released a book. Then I started to read more widely and didn’t tend to read her books as soon as they were released (as you can see from this review!) I still enjoy Sophie’s writing, it’s so easy to read and it’s usually got characters that are incredibly relatable and easy to like.

If you’re into books like The Devil Wears Prada then I think you’d enjoy My Not So Perfect Life. It’s incredibly similar. Our main character Katie is working at an agency in London. It’s very trendy. From the outside, looking at Katie’s instagram feed, you’d think that she had the perfect life. In reality, she’s struggling with meeting the demands of London living and is constantly comparing her instagram posts to her friends. Her work isn’t as glamorous as it seems either. She’s always running errands for her boss Demeter. Demeter is the one with the perfect life… or so it seems. Katie ends up being fired and returns to the English countryside to help her family with a new glamping venture. Demeter ends up visiting the glamping site for a family holiday and Katie learns more about Demeter and realises she may have judged her too harshly.

This book is a great summer beach read. You don’t need to think too much about it. The plot mills along (although I think it could’ve benefited from being shorter!) and there are some great characters explore. It is a predictable read but that didn’t bother me. I don’t go into reading a book like this expecting intrigue and mystery.  It does what it sets out to do and that’s okay with me.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

A good, light beach read, especially if you’re into this genre!

 

A Week In The Life Of A Primary School Teacher- So ready for a break… but not yet!

Every Sunday (hopefully) I shall be posting a personal post about my life as a primary school teacher. I currently work at a primary school teaching 7-9 year olds. I have worked for two years with 6-7 years, 1 year with 7-9 and now I’m returning to my favourite age! My training posts on this subject were really successful and so therapeutic for me, therefore I’ve decided to continue posting on the topic. I will not be naming any children, or the school where I work. If personal posts aren’t your thing then feel free to skip these posts. I won’t mind! Bookish goodness returns as normal Monday-Saturday!

It was only our 2nd week back at school although I feel like I’ve been back for about six weeks. I’m that tired. I’m hoping that this week will be better on the sleep front! I now have a provisional list for my new class in September and I’m excited. There’s going to be some challenges along the way (especially as I’ll be studying for my Masters at the same time!) but overall I’m very happy! I really need to start thinking about what I’m going to do with them when I meet them for a morning in a few weeks!

This week we’re jam packed full of activities, lessons and Sports Day. It’s going to be another full on week but I’m ready for it. We may have 5 more weeks to go but I’m going to make the most of them! I finally have a summer coming up where I don’t have to move classrooms!

Ten Bookish Opinions

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It’s all about love of lists, love of literature and bringing bookish people together. 

This week it’s all about opinions! Unpopular opinions to be exact. I’m not so sure that all of my opinions are unpopular though, so I’m just called this list bookish opinions!

  1. I don’t miss vampire books. They were a massive trend and whilst I’m sure they’re still around somewhere, they’re not as ‘popular’ as they once were.
  2. I’m not a fan of the Throne Of Glass series after Queen of Shadows. I lost interest. I have NO interest in going back to them either.
  3. I don’t like audiobooks. I read at quite a fast pace and I have quite a low concentration span when it comes to listening to audiobooks.
  4. Too many issues spoil a book. I like books when a character has a struggle in their life, but when they have everything going? No.
  5. Black/shiny covers that show up your fingerprints bug me. I like my books to look pristine.
  6. I prefer standalones to series.
  7. I didn’t mind the ending of Allegiant. I understand why people didn’t like it, but I didn’t hate it.
  8. This definitely isn’t an unpopular opinion. I hate the student-teacher relationship trope.
  9. I’m pretty sure I’ll never read Game of Thrones. I have no interest in it at all.
  10. I didn’t enjoy One Of Us Is Lying as much as everyone else seemed to! Don’t get me wrong, I thought it was a solid read, but I wasn’t blown away by it!

What are your unpopular bookish opinions? Feel free to leave a link to your post and I’ll stop by!

Dear Evan Hansen (Book Review)

Dear Evan Hansen

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:  

Dear Evan Hansen,

Today’s going to be an amazing day and here’s why…

When a letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone draws high school senior Evan Hansen into a family’s grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. He just has to stick to a lie he never meant to tell, that the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy was his secret best friend.

Suddenly, Evan isn’t invisible anymore–even to the girl of his dreams. And Connor Murphy’s parents, with their beautiful home on the other side of town, have taken him in like he was their own, desperate to know more about their enigmatic son from his closest friend. As Evan gets pulled deeper into their swirl of anger, regret, and confusion, he knows that what he’s doing can’t be right, but if he’s helping people, how wrong can it be?

No longer tangled in his once-incapacitating anxiety, this new Evan has a purpose. And a website. He’s confident. He’s a viral phenomenon. Every day is amazing. Until everything is in danger of unraveling and he comes face to face with his greatest obstacle: himself.

Thoughts:

I have heard so much about Dear Evan Hansen. It seems that it’s been everywhere. I know that performances starts today in London. I have to admit that apart from Hugh Jackman singing a song from it on his world tour, I haven’t heard the music from the musical yet.

I went into reading Dear Evan Hansen without knowing much about it at all. I think this was the best way to read it for someone who may not see the show or know much about it. I can’t give you a comparison to the production because I haven’t seen it. However, as a book, I enjoyed reading it and thought it had incredibly well developed characters.

The basic premise of this book is that Evan Hansen (who has severe anxiety) seems to be invisible at school. After breaking his arm, his mother encourages him to get signatures on his cast- to get out there and to speak to his peers. Whilst going through this, Evan is attending therapy. He’s told to write letters to himself to become more positive. Evan’s letter is picked up by Connor Murphy so misinterprets it. Connor signs his name in big across Evan’s cast, truly making his mark. However, Evan never anticipated just how much of a mark Connor would make on his life.

Connor commits suicide and when Connor’s parents find the letter ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ they believe that Connor and Evan were good friends. Evan soon ends up tangled in lies as he tries to help the Murphy family with their grief.

There are points of this story that are so hard to read. I’m pleased this story exists though because we need to be talking about mental health. It shouldn’t be something that is hidden. I think this book would appeal to many readers- not just a YA or musical theatre audience. I think many people could and should take something away from this story.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

A brilliant read surrounding mental health!

A Week In The Life Of A Primary School Teacher- Good news!

Every Sunday (hopefully) I shall be posting a personal post about my life as a primary school teacher. I currently work at a primary school teaching 7-9 year olds. I have worked for two years with 6-7 years, 1 year with 7-9 and now I’m returning to my favourite age! My training posts on this subject were really successful and so therapeutic for me, therefore I’ve decided to continue posting on the topic. I will not be naming any children, or the school where I work. If personal posts aren’t your thing then feel free to skip these posts. I won’t mind! Bookish goodness returns as normal Monday-Saturday!

This week I returned to school after a lovely week’s break. I didn’t really do much with my break but that is exactly what was needed!

My class have been brilliant this week. I can’t believe I only have 30 more working days with them. That’s crazy to me. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been teaching them for that long. 🙂 I think they’re getting to the end of their tether with some of their classmates. A few arguments are popping up so I have to stamp down that on that this week.

I found out two bits of good news this week. Firstly, I’m staying with the age group I’m with at the moment! (7-9 years old) I’m so happy as this is the first year where I’m not going to need to move classrooms. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to have to sort out my classroom, but overall it will be much less work for me. Yippee!

I also found out that I’ve been accepted onto a Masters in Education. I’m still going to be teaching, but completing the degree part time over 3 years. 🙂 It’s something I’ve always wanted to do so I’m a very happy Chrissi. It means I’m going to have to be super organised in the classroom to ensure I have time for my studies. I’m glad I’ve scaled back on the blogging, because managing the three would be insane!

As for blogging, I’ve got two book reviews coming soon. This teacher is still reading, just not putting the immense pressure on myself to read constantly. It’s made things so much better for me! 🙂