Banned Books #48- Brave New World

Welcome to the 48th edition of Banned Books. That’s right, today marks the 4th year anniversary of this feature. Awoohoo!

Brave New World

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
First published: 1932
In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2010 (source)
Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit.

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

BETH: First of all, I’m so, so surprised that this book was only put on the ALA Banned & Challenged Books List in 2010! Not because I believe it should be banned or challenged, not at all. But Brave New World is counted as quite the classic and is one of the oldest books we’ve read and reviewed, being published in 1932 so I’m wondering if there were so many issues with it, why wasn’t it put on the list earlier? Food for thought. Anyway, I’ve already mentioned that I love trying to figure out the reasons why a book might be problematic (for some) before looking at the reasons and I’m always, ALWAYS surprised by the reasons they end up listing. For example, in Brave New World, they worship Henry Ford (founder of the Ford car company) as their God and in one particular scene at the end, suggest that the people who worshipped Jesus/God in the past were delusional. Aha, I thought! One of the reasons for this book being challenged is that it is anti-religion! Nope. That’s not a reason.

Instead, as with many of the books we’ve looked at so far, the reasons just make me laugh. Even thinking about back in the thirties, I’m struggling to figure out how this story could have been insensitive or offend anyone with the language. Unless they’re considering the whole growing embryos in bottles thing? Or deliberately depriving said embryos of certain vital materials i.e. oxygen to make them a lower class of people? Which of course makes for horrendous reading but at the end of the day, it is just a story and if you’re particularly sensitive to that sort of thing, you just put the book down, right?

CHRISSI: I can’t believe that it wasn’t banned earlier as well. I’ve known about it forever, even though I hadn’t read it earlier.  It was always one that I had known as a controversial read. Some of the reasons do make me roll my eyes. However, I can see that this book would make people uncomfortable. I certainly felt that way with this book.

How about now?

BETH: It’s quite frightening to think that nowadays we live in such a scientifically advanced age that things like this could be possible. Aldous Huxley has chosen a controversial and insightful topic to base his novel around and the culture and world he describes is horrifying of course! Yet when you mention reasons as racism or being sexually explicit as reasons for taking it out of people’s hands, I just don’t get it. The lower classes in Brave New World are treated disgustingly and this made for quite an uncomfortable reading experience at times but I think the author is deliberately trying to push our buttons and realise what living in a world like this could be like. And with the sexual explicitness? I roll my eyes. Our female lead removes her underwear by unzipping it. Saucy! Also, the people living in this world have quite open sexual relationships with a number of partners. Okay. BUT there is no graphic mention of sexual acts at all (which counts as sexually explicit in my opinion). So just by mentioning the word “sex,” it’s too graphic? Please!

CHRISSI: I think there’s much more explicit content out there. I think Aldous Huxley was totally pushing the boundaries, especially the time in which he wrote this book. As I mentioned before, this book made me feel uncomfortable. Perhaps because, as Beth mentioned, things like this could potentially happen now. That scares me.

What did you think of this book?:

BETH: Brave New World is a re-read for me and I seem to get something different out of it every time I read it. The part with the embryos and the way they are modified depending on the social class they are in is horrible and I’m always moved when I read it. This time around, I did find some parts a bit slower and hard to digest but generally, this is a fascinating classic that I think everyone should be exposed to at some point in their lives.

CHRISSI: I feel like I recommended this book because it was a book I ‘had’ to read rather than wanted to read. I felt like it was a hard, heavy-going read that didn’t grip me. I just couldn’t get excited by it. I hate not liking a classic like this but it didn’t work for me.

Would you recommend it?:

BETH: But of course!

CHRISSI: It’s not for me!

 

Advertisements

Son (The Giver Quartet #4)

Son (The Giver Quartet, #4)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

They called her Water Claire. When she washed up on their shore, no one knew that she came from a society where emotions and colors didn’t exist. That she had become a Vessel at age thirteen. That she had carried a Product at age fourteen. That it had been stolen from her body. Claire had a son. But what became of him she never knew. What was his name? Was he even alive? She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. Now Claire will stop at nothing to find her child, even if it means making an unimaginable sacrifice.

Thoughts:

Another series bites the dust! I’m thrilled I finally got around to finishing The Giver Quartet. I have really enjoyed this series and think Son is one of the strongest books in the series which is great as all too often I’ve been let down by the final book in the series. This certainly isn’t the case with Son. 

This quartet is a little bit different to other series. Each book is told by a different narrator, however throughout the quartet the characters slowly weave together. It all begins to make sense. Son is certainly one of my favourites in the series. It centres around Claire, Gabe’s mother. Claire was assigned to be a birthmother at a young age. She had to carry a product. However, the birth went wrong and Claire was reassigned. She later found out she had a son and was determined to find her child.

I think the reason I enjoyed this book so much was because it gave me all The Giver emotions but from a different point of view. I loved the beginning and the end of the story when Claire came across Gabe. I didn’t so much enjoy reading about Claire’s life outside of the Community, but that’s because I wanted to read about Gabe. I wanted her to find him so badly. It made my heart hurt a little.

I feel like Son tied lots of loose ends together which I always appreciate with a series. I’d always felt like this series was a little disjointed but this book really did bring everything together. I love seeing how some journeys ended and how some relationships came together. This quartet both broke my heart and warmed it at the same time. It’s a highly enjoyable reading experience that I highly recommend!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A highly enjoyable finish to the quartet. I recommend The Giver if you’re looking for a decent dystopian read!

Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit- Maggot Moon

Maggot Moon

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Synopsis:

When his best friend Hector is suddenly taken away, Standish Treadwell realises that it is up to him, his grandfather and a small band of rebels to confront and defeat the ever-present oppressive forces of The Motherland.

Thoughts:

I’m pretty sure that I’d heard of this book before Beth decided to pick it as part of our challenge. I mean Maggot Moon is a memorable title, you’d have to admit! I wasn’t sure what I was going into though when I picked up this story. I thought it was highly engaging and very easy to read. Maggot Moon has such short chapters its easy to make your way through and I believe would encourage some more reluctant readers!

Maggot Moon is a dystopian tale which follows a dyslexic protagonist Standish. Standish lives in an alternate univeerse where the Motherland has taken control of England. In this reality, surveillance and capital punishment are totally normal. It’s a horrible existence for everyone in society. Standish is singled out from his peers because of his dyslexia, vivid imagination and his one blue and one brown eye. It makes him a target for bullies and for the awful society in which he lives in. Standish lives with his grandfather as his family has been taken by the Motherland. However, there is a secret hidden below Standish’s house which could destroy the Motherland.

I loved the short chapters in this book, because they kept me utterly gripped. I went into this book thinking that it might be suitable for younger children but I don’t think it is. There are some incredibly violent moments. Maggot Moon is a well written book which I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. It’s about friendship, loyalty and being different to the rest.

For Beth’s wonderful review, check out her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Next up in the Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit Challenge (August):
Looking for JJ- Anne Cassidy

Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit- Noble Conflict

Noble Conflict

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Noughts and Crosses
Knife Edge
Checkmate
Double Cross
Pig Heart Boy
Cloud Busting

Synopsis:

Years after a violent war destroyed much of the world, Kaspar has grown up in a society based on peace and harmony. But beyond the city walls, a vicious band of rebels are plotting to tear this peace apart. It is up to the Guardians – an elite peacekeeping force – to protect the city, without ever resorting to the brutal methods of their enemy.

When Kaspar joins the Guardians, he has a chance encounter with a rebel – a beautiful girl named Rhea. Haunted from that moment on by strange visions and memories – memories that could only belong to Rhea – he realises he hasn’t been told the truth about what the rebels really want, and what he’s really fighting for.

Thoughts:

As you can see, I’m a big fan of Malorie Blackman. I really enjoyed her Noughts and Crosses series. I loved Cloud Busting and Pig Heart Boy too. It’s safe to say that I went into Noble Conflict with very high expectations. Unfortunately, they weren’t met. I thought Noble Conflict was a decent read, but it didn’t capture my attention as much as I wanted it to.

The book starts off incredibly well. The plot, whilst a little predictable in parts is interesting enough to continue reading. I was intrigued at the start when we meet Kaspar, on the day of his graduation. Straight away the action starts and the reader wants to know more about the Guardians. The first section of the book was particularly exciting and fast-paced, but for some reason, my interest waned and I didn’t feel connected to Kaspar as much as I wanted to. In fact, I was more intrigued by Rhea, the girl that saved Kaspar’s life. I would have liked to have read more from her perspective. I think it would have added some more depth to the story and given the character a lot more life. I’m sure she had an intriguing story to tell.

That’s not to say that this book isn’t well written. It is. I liked the mysterious element to the book. It kept me questioning and interested enough to carry on reading. For me, it simply just does not stand out in the YA dystopian genre.

For Beth’s brilliant review, please check out her blog HERE. Her review will go live tomorrow I’m interested to see if a fellow Malorie Blackman fan feels the same…

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Next up in the Beth and Chrissi do kid-lit challenge (May):
The Horse and His Boy- C.S Lewis

The Other Life (The Other Life #1)

The Other Life (The Other Life, #1)

How did I get it?:
It was a gift!

Synopsis:

3 years, 1 month, 1 week and 6 days since I’d seen daylight. One-fifth of my life. 98,409,602 seconds since the heavy, steel door had fallen shut and sealed us off from the world.

Sherry has lived with her family in a sealed bunker since things went wrong up above. But when they run out of food, Sherry and her dad must venture outside. There they find a world of devastation, desolation…and the Weepers: savage, mutant killers.

When Sherry’s dad is snatched, she joins forces with gorgeous but troubled Joshua – an Avenger, determined to destroy the Weepers.

But can Sherry keep her family and Joshua safe, when his desire for vengeance threatens them all?

Thoughts:

I had heard about The Other Life through my favourite meme Top Ten Tuesday. I was curious about the book, so I added it to my TBR. I was lucky enough to get a copy as a present from another blogger. I’ve finally found time to read it and I’m pleased that I did. I didn’t realise that this was part of a series, but I am definitely intrigued enough to continue reading.

The Other Life is a dystopian story which is set in Los Angeles. Los Angeles has been infected by rabies and people were advised to hide until they were told to come out for their own safety. Several years has past and there was still no word from the government. Sherry and her family have run out of food, her grandfather has died and their situation is becoming desperate. Sherry and her father decide to go outside of the bunker and try to find food. They find devastation outside. Eventually, Sherry and her father find a store and decide to stock up for the family. However, Sherry and her father are attacked by Weepers, with Sherry’s father being taken away. A guy named Joshua takes Sherry back to a safe haven, promising her that she’d be reunited with ther family and that they’d find her father.

I thought that The Other Life was incredibly compelling. It certainly was a horrible world to imagine and I think Susanne has brilliantly set up the world. The Weepers really are quite gruesome. The plot is fast and it’s easy to read. It kept me turning the pages wondering what on earth was going to happen next! As I said, I didn’t realise that this was going to be part of a series, but I’m excited to see what happens next. I thought that this was an incredibly accomplished debut novel and I’m intrigued to see where Susanne takes this story next.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A good YA dystopian read!

Flawed (Flawed #1)

Flawed

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Harper Collins UK

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Every Year
How To Fall In Love

Synopsis:

Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.

But then Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED.

In this stunning novel, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society in which perfection is paramount and mistakes are punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.

Thoughts:

I have been a long time fan of Cecelia Ahern’s writing. She is easily one of my favourite authors. I have read all of her full length novels (albeit most of it preblogging days!) I was a little worried about her stepping into the world of YA, but at the same time immediately intrigued. She’s an amazing writer. I feel like Flawed is a step in a new direction for Cecelia. This book felt dystopian in its plot!

Flawed centres around a young girl who is seemingly perfect. She’s well-liked, she has a perfect boyfriend and she’s bright. However, one day Celestine makes an error in judgment, she dares to help someone that is seen as ‘flawed’ by society. This means that she will be punished and potentially marked as ‘flawed’ herself. The world in which Celestine lives in is scary. Everyone has to be perfect and there are severe punishments for those that don’t fit the perfect mould.

This book isn’t the most original, it does have some similarities to other books, yet I still found it to be highly enjoyable. I liked Celestine as a character and liked that what she stood for was morally correct even if in her society it really wasn’t the right thing to do. I really liked how Cecelia was brave enough to put her main character in horrific situations.

I’m used to Cecelia and her magical, fairy tale-esque elements in some of her stories, but this was so far away from what I’m used to. I appreciated that! I’m certainly intrigued to see where this series goes. It has much potential.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Flawed isn’t the most original book, but it is very enjoyable nonetheless!

The Messenger (The Giver #3)

Messenger (The Giver, #3)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Giver
Gathering Blue

Synopsis:

Matty has lived in Village and flourished under the guidance of Seer, a blind man known for his special sight. Village once welcomed newcomers, but something sinister has seeped into Village and the people have voted to close it to outsiders. Matty has been invaluable as a messenger. Now he must risk everything to make one last journey through the treacherous forest with his only weapon, a power he unexpectedly discovers within himself.

Thoughts:

I have been thoroughly enjoying The Giver quartet. I think the books are quick and easy to read. I have mixed feelings about The Messenger. I loved the cameos from the previous books, but I didn’t feel as excited by it as I would have liked.

The Messenger takes place in a village with all of the outcasts from utopian societies. People with some sort of deformity or disfigurement are put into the Village of The Broken. Everyone accepts one another, no matter what the reason for them being ousted from their society. Unfortunately, this society doesn’t take long to become corrupt. Auctions called Trademart start up, where people can trade one good thing for another. People start to trade part of their souls in order to fix their disfigurements. People start to be horrible to one another and it becomes a terrible place to live. A messenger goes out to let the rest of society know that the Village of The Broken is closing down the village, so no new outcasts can come in. The messenger has a secret power though, which will either help or hurt the village.

Lois Lowry’s writing is stunning to read and the story itself is intriguing if a little confusing at points!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

An intriguing storyline which is a little confusing, but well written all the same!