Banned Books #52- Beloved

Welcome to October’s slightly delayed Banned Books post, where this month we read Beloved by Toni Morrison.

Beloved

First published: 1987
In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2006 (source)
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

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

BETH: I can imagine this book being quite the force to be reckoned with with it was published in the late 1980’s. Its dark elements, tragic history of black slavery and quirky, fantastical moments make it quite a unique read but as always with many of our banned books, I’m struggling to understand the reasons why it has been challenged. As you may already know by now, I do understand offensive language isn’t for everyone and I respect people’s views on that. In fact, I don’t like to use bad language in my own reviews but that’s just my own personal thing, I don’t mind it when I see it in other bloggers reviews. However, I don’t think that you can challenge/ban a book based on this reason. After all, we can’t help but be exposed to offensive language, no matter how much we may try and avoid it – on the streets, on the television, interacting with strangers in normal, social instances….you get the picture. And for me, there wasn’t a single incident in this novel where I thought the language was extreme enough to warrant this challenge.

CHRISSI: Like Beth, I can see that when this book came out in the late 80’s that it would have been quite a challenging and ground breaking book. Personally, I don’t think there’s any point in banning a book because of offensive language. Goodness knows, I know some of my children in my class hear offensive language so often at home that it is almost like a ‘normal’ word to them. So to have it in literature, it doesn’t bother me too much? I didn’t think anything was overly offensive. Sure, some of the language isn’t what I’d call decent language but it’s not that vile to warrant a challenge in my opinion.

How about now? 

BETH: If I don’t agree with challenging or banning Beloved back in the 1980’s, I certainly don’t agree with banning it now. ESPECIALLY for the reasons noted. Yes, sexual acts are alluded to but it’s never explicit or grossly indecent and as for “unsuited to age group” I wonder who this book is actually marketed for because I was under the impression that this is an adult novel or at least able to be read by young adults? And if it was written for the young adult market, I really don’t think there’s anything in there that the younger generation wouldn’t be able to handle. In fact, it could be a vitally important read for those wanting to learn a little something about African-American slavery.

CHRISSI: I don’t agree with it being challenged now. Language is heard so much more these days that some of the words don’t have as intense of a meaning as they do back then. I’m not sure who this book is aimed at, if it was teenagers I don’t think I’d use it educatively, but for young adults/adults, I really don’t see a problem with it. It touches on some very important moments in history so it SHOULD be read in my opinion.

What did you think of this book?:

BETH: I’ve already read two books by Toni Morrison – A Mercy before I became a blogger and The Bluest Eye, (which Chrissi and I covered on our Banned Books series way back in 2015!) the latter of which I thoroughly enjoyed. As a result, I was really looking forward to Beloved, particularly when I discovered the subject matter, a topic which I’m always happy to educate myself on a bit further. I’m sad to say that I have really mixed feelings about this book. There were points when I wanted to rate it four stars, others when I wanted to rate it two stars and generally, I was left somewhere around the middle. There were heart-breaking parts of the narrative and some moments of truly beautiful writing but overall, I was just left feeling a bit confused and underwhelmed. I’m not sure if the more fantastical side of the story really worked for me personally and consequently, my enjoyment of the novel as a whole suffered.

CHRISSI: I have to admit that I didn’t quite ‘get’ this book which does make me feel sad as I know that so many people love Toni Morrison. Like Beth, I did think there were brilliant moments, but on the whole I felt a little flat after reading it. There’s no denying that this is a beautifully written book and I can see why Toni Morrison is a popular author. I just didn’t feel like there was enough going within the story line to keep me enthralled. I am certainly a reader that loves a plot driven story and I feel like Beloved is more character driven. I didn’t connect with the characters like I wanted to and this affected my enjoyment of the story.

Would you recommend it?:

BETH: Maybe!

CHRISSI: It’s not for me!- I wasn’t blown away by this book. Perhaps my expectations were too high?

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This Week In Books #129

I am joining in with the lovely Lipsy from Lipsy’s Lost and Found’s feature which highlights our week in books. I shall be sharing what I’m reading now, then and next! I won’t be showcasing my new books as I do that on a Saturday. I’m really excited by this feature as I loved sharing my recent reads. My book reviews published on my blog are often WAY behind what I’m actually reading, so this is a good feature to keep you up to date!

Book images go to Goodreads!

The Hidden Memory of Objects  Sadie Beloved

NOWThe Hidden Memory Of ObjectsDanielle Mages Amato– I’m currently a little way through this book. I’m hoping to get a big chunk of it read tonight!

THEN SadieCourtney Summers– I really enjoyed this book. Just like I expected. I hope to have a review out within the next two weeks.

NEXTBelovedToni Morrison-This is the Banned Book for this month! Look out for the discussion on Monday!

What are you reading this week? Let me know!

Looking Ahead- This Month’s TBR- (October)

Welcome to my Looking Ahead post for October! October brings a week off (Yes!) so I’m hoping to achieve a lot this month.

In September, I managed to read ALL of the books on my Looking Ahead post. Go me!

Here are this month’s books! Thanks to Tina over at Reading Between The Pages for hosting! As ever, click on the book image, if you want to add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Nightbirds On Nantucket- Joan Aiken

Nightbirds on Nantucket (The Wolves Chronicles, #3)

Goodreads Synopsis:

Having had enough of life on board the ship that saved her from a watery grave, Dido Twite wants nothing more than to sail home to England. Instead, Captain Casket’s ship lands in Nantucket, where Dido and the captain’s daughter, Dutiful Penitence, are left in the care of Dutiful’s sinister Aunt Tribulation. In Tribulation’s farmhouse, life is unbearable. When mysterious men lurk about in the evening fog, the resourceful Dido rallies against their shenanigans with help from Dutiful, a cabinboy named Nate, and a pink whale.

This is the choice for October’s Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit book. I’m looking forward to stepping back into the series.

Beloved- Toni Morrison

Beloved

Goodreads Synopsis:

Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. 

Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Her new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. 

Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison.

I’m intrigued to see if I agree about this being on the banned books list. Our review won’t be out until the end of the month.

Open Your Eyes- Paula Daly

Open Your Eyes

Goodreads Synopsis:

Haven’t we all wanted to pretend everything is fine?

Jane doesn’t like confrontation. Given the choice, she’d prefer to focus on what’s going well, the good things in life.

But when her husband, Leon, is brutally attacked in the driveway of their home, in front of their two young children, Jane has to face reality. As he lies in a coma, Jane must open her eyes to the problems in her life, and the secrets that have been kept from her, if she’s to find out who hurt her husband – and why.

Maybe it’s time to face up to it all. Who knows what you might find . . .

I meant to read this book before my current read, but I had to read my current read first because it’s a collaboration with my sister, Beth. I’m looking forward to this one though!

Love Songs & Other Lies- Jessica Pennington

Love Songs & Other Lies

Goodreads Synopsis:

It’s summer romance and second chances, the songs that stay in your head, and the boy you’ll never forget.

Two years after rock-song-worthy heartbreak, Virginia Miller is looking forward to a fun, carefree summer. Her friends just landed a spot on a battling bands reality show, and Vee is joining them for her dream internship on tour. Three months with future rockstars seems like an epic summer plan. Until she learns she’ll also be sharing the bus with Cam. Her first love, and her first heartbreak. Now Vee has more than just cameras to dodge, and Cam’s determination to win her forgiveness is causing TMZ-worthy problems for both of them. With cameras rolling, she’ll have to decide if her favorite breakup anthem deserves a new ending. And if she’s brave enough to expose her own secrets to keep Cam’s under wraps.

I feel like I need a book like this because my week off isn’t until the end of October and I need some lighter YA reads in my life! 🙂

Have you read any of these books? Let me know your thoughts!

Banned Books 2018…REVEALED

Banner made by Luna @ Lunaslittlelibrary

Here are 2018’s books that Beth and I will be reading for our Banned Books feature that has been running since July 2014!

JANUARY: Summer Of My German SoldierBette Greene
FEBRUARY: TwilightStephenie Meyer
MARCH: Fallen AngelsWalter Dean Myers
APRIL: Saga Volume 3Brian K.Vaughan and Fiona Staples
MAY: Blood And ChocolateAnnette Curtis Klause
JUNE: Brave New WorldAldous Huxley
JULY: Julie Of The WolvesJean Craighead George
AUGUST: I Am JazzJessica Herthel
SEPTEMBER: Taming The Star RunnerS.E. Hinton
OCTOBER: BelovedToni Morrison
NOVEMBER: King & KingLinda de Haan
DECEMBER: Flashcards Of My LifeCharise Mericle Harper
I’m looking forward to seeing if I agree with the reasons for these books being banned. If you want to have a look at the previous books (42 of them!) that Beth and I have read for this feature, check out the page for Banned Books here on my blog!

Banned Books #17 The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

banned books

Welcome to this month’s Banned Books feature. This month we read The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.

The Bluest Eye

Synopsis:

The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison’s first novel, a book heralded for its richness of language and boldness of vision. Set in the author’s girlhood hometown of Lorain, Ohio, it tells the story of black, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove. Pecola prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be as beautiful and beloved as all the blond, blue-eyed children in America. In the autumn of 1941, the year the marigolds in the Breedloves’ garden do not bloom. Pecola’s life does change- in painful, devastating ways.
What its vivid evocation of the fear and loneliness at the heart of a child’s yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment. The Bluest Eye remains one of Tony Morrisons’s most powerful, unforgettable novels- and a significant work of American fiction.

First published: 1970
In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2014 (source)
Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited for age group.
Addition reasons: “contains controversial issues.”

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

BETH: This is one of our “older,” books on our banned books list, having being published in 1970. It’s quite interesting that it still makes the frequently challenged list as recently as last year but as I realised, there are some issues in the book, described as controversial (which I certainly agree with). Because of these issues which I won’t spoil for anyone who hasn’t read it, I do see why it may be challenged as some parts are slightly risque but I found the whole reading experience so beautiful and I don’t think it should be taken away from anyone.

CHRISSI: I totally understand why it was banned at that time. As Beth mentioned, it is one of our ‘older’ books and for the time period it certainly must have been a controversial read. However, I do think it is beautifully written though, covering topics that yes, may be risque and a little disturbing but are important to be read.

How about now?

BETH: Definitely not now. I can’t believe this was Toni Morrison’s debut novel, the writing is so assured and quite touching in points. I enjoyed reading about Pecola Breedlove (excellent name, by the way) and think it addresses some very important issues, particularly about race, that older children should definitely be exposed to. In the right hands, this book could be an excellent teaching tool in the classroom and the writing is too wonderful not to be shared.

CHRISSI: In the classroom, it would certainly be a great teaching tool about many issues, but it would have to be used sensitively. Teenagers should definitely be exposed to the language and the issues within the story. I imagine it would bring up so much discussion and debate, which would be fantastic. It didn’t feel too dated for me either, considering the age of the book.

What did you think of this book?

BETH: I absolutely loved it. It’s a great introduction to Toni Morrison’s work and although it’s fairly short, it’s a novella to be savoured where every single word she writes says something important to the reader.

CHRISSI: I thought it was a good, thought provoking read. I enjoyed reading it!

Would you recommend it?

BETH: But of course!

CHRISSI: Yes!