Sunday, October 7, 2012

Celebrating Banned Books Week 2012

I celebrated Banned Books Week by reading two books that have made the ALA's most challenged list for more than one year, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (which I've read before) and Deadline by Chris Crutcher.

I read Perks a couple of years ago, but wanted to reread it before going to see the movie (Emma Watson as Sam--yay!).  If a frank treatment of homosexuality, sexually active teens who use drugs and/or alcohol, and child abuse offends you, then you will probably hate both the book and the movie.  I love this book because it definitely pushes the envelope of YA literature and takes on some serious topics.  Charlie is an academically gifted, but socially awkward high school freshman who becomes friends with two seniors, Patrick and Sam.  Their friendship helps Charlie learn to live his life, rather than to simply observe others, and to come to terms with trauma in his past.

As I would with any book to movie adaptation, I strongly suggest that you read the book before seeing the movie.  For a reminder to do just that, try out this website to receive a monthly newsletter:

I started read Deadline several months ago and then got interrupted when Bill and I had to drop everything, pack up the house, and make yet another cross-country move.  I finally found it again while unpacking one of my many boxes of books and happily curled up with it this afternoon.  The main character, 18-year-old Ben Wolf, goes in for a sports physical and finds out that he has a terminal disease that will kill him in a year.  He decides to try to live an entire lifetime during his senior year and takes all kinds of risks that he would have only dreamed of before (like going out for football and finally talking to his dream girl).  As he prepares to die, Ben examines his relationships and finds it ever more difficult to keep his secret from those he loves.  As always, Chris Crutcher takes on a multitude of issues--racism, child abuse, teen pregnancy, censorship, suicide--that some will find offensive.  The scene where Ben's favorite teacher burns a book is one I found especially delightful.  Add to that some mildly explicit sex scenes and some profanity and the book banners start pulling out their torches.

To see Chris Crutcher's awesome responses to multiple attempts to ban his books, check out his website here.

I went to John Green's website after noticing his wonderful book, Looking for Alaska, on one of the ALA's top challenged lists.  I found this nerd warrior response video that made me go, "Whoa, I need to read more of this guy's books."  Check it out!

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