Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Banned Books I Have Read and Loved or Liked

                   Happy Banned Books Week!

The three tags enclosed I made myself. take and use as you wish. save to your "My Computer." Credit not necessary at all. More tags can be found at: http://radicalsapphoq.blogspot.com/2014/09/i-read-banned-books-free-tags.html of various sizes.

Here is the Library Bill of Rights
copy pasted from the website: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.
A history of the Library Bill of Rights is found in the latest edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual.
The third item is of specific interest this week.

These banned and challenged books by various governments were taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_books_banned_by_governments
The ones I have read are bolded. The ones on my list to read are italicized.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll 
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque 
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis 
An Area of Darkness by V.S. Naipaul [a different book is on my reading list]
The Anarchist's Cookbook by William Powell

The Bible by various authors [many times]
Candide by Voltaire
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer [excerpts, in school]
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
The Dairy of Anne Frank by Anne Frank

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Howl by Allan Ginsberg [poem]
Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson [short story]
Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler [I think. Very long and from the library].
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall [lesbian classic]

These banned and challenged classics were copy-pasted from http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/classics 
The ones I have read are bolded. The ones on my list to read are italicized.
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker

Ulysses, by James Joyce
Beloved, by Toni Morrison
The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
1984, by George Orwell

 Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov

 Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
 Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
 Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
 Animal Farm, by George Orwell
 The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway

 As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
 A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
 Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
 Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
 Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison

 Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
 Native Son, by Richard Wright
 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey
 Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
 For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway

 The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
 Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
 All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren
 The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
 The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair

 Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
 A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
 The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
 In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
 The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie

 Sophie's Choice, by William Styron
 Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
 Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
 A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
 Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs

 Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
 Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence
 The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
 Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
 An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser

 Rabbit, Run, by John Updike

Monday, September 22, 2014

Tamar by Deborah Challinor

Tamar, Deborah Challinor. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2013. e-book, 426 pps.

     This book is actually the first of a family saga trilogy which traces [the fictional] life of a woman named Tamar. Deborah Challinor traces her progress from migration to young adulthood to career to really bad marriage to better marriage. The narrative begins with the influx of Europeans into New Zealand and references the Boer Wars in South Africa. Tamar is well-classified as historical fiction. The author's extensive knowledge of the late 1800s and the early 1900s is obvious.

sapphoq reviews says: The book Tamar is much more interesting than this particular book review. Deborah Challinor breathes life into her subject. The only thing that was disconcerting to me was the references to alcoholism and the notion that alcoholics could not drink at all safely. I'm just not sure how many people were subscribing to that particular idea back then. Other than that, I heartily recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction.

Atheism is Winning! by Anonymous

Atheism is Winning!, Anonymous. self-published: 2014. e-book, 300 pages.

     This book reads like the manic doggerel of someone who is trying to write like Kurt Vonnegut but failing miserably. I could not tell whether the author is a believer, non-believer, or somewhere in-between. That was disconcerting. I was not able to figure out what Anonymous was endeavoring to get across to the reader at all. I prefer that people state their positions direction in any book I read of this sort, whether I agree with them or not. Two things that I find to be most important in any commentary concerning religion versus non-religion are the quality of the arguments put forth and the quality of the writing itself. Atheism is Winning! fails at both. The writer proposes use of the word "affinity" repeatedly but then leads us in the lurch. An abysmal failure. Not recommended for anyone at all.

Beyond Belief by Joe C.

Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life: Finally, Daily Reflections for Nonbelievers, Freethinkers and Everyone, Joe C. Toronto: Rebellion Dogs Publishing, 2014, 2013. e-book, 797 pps.

     Beyond Belief is a book of daily thoughts for the rest of us-- those of us who are in recovery from addiction without the involvement of any gods-- who are often neglected or the object of conversion attempts in standard recovery literature. After a quotation, a day's reflection focuses on recovery for those of us who are non-believers. The book is divided into months and days as is standard for meditation books.

sapphoq reviews says: I am currently using Beyond Belief myself as a way to start the day. The writing is of the highest quality and gives me stuff to think about. Highly recommended for the unchurched in recovery and for those believers who consider their religious expressions to be separate from their 12 step recovery.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Third Millennium by Dr. Paul Meier

The Third Millennium: A Novel, Dr. Paul Meier. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1993. paperback, 311 pps.

https://twitter.com/MeierMD  [no tweets since February]
https://www.meierclinics.com/Ask_Dr_Meier_  [videos]

     The Third Millennium is the first of a trilogy. Michael the Archangel is assigned to watch over a Jewish family from California. Since they aren't saved, they miss the rapture. The college-aged daughter by the name of Ruth falls for a car salesman whose dad was a gifted preacher and scholar of apocalyptic prophecy based on the bible. The parents don't like the idea of the car salesman at first. But god has a plan for the family, the car salesman, some other college kids, and friends of the family. The family and some friends get saved afterwards. The college kids are on fire for Jesus. Many of the people wind up in the ruins of two small towns in Israel where christians are sheltered from the woes of the world. They minister to the sick and the injured. Jesus comes back and a grand reunion of the living and the dead saints occurs.

sapphoq reviews saysDr. Paul Meier started some christian counseling centers and is widely renown for his work in that area. He has written a lot of books. It is obvious that he has thoroughly researched material for this book. I had trouble following the significance that he assigned to various numbers and combinations of numbers. [There is an appendix with more info in the back of the book]. I thought that Ruth was more sheltered than the average young adult attending college. The characters were likable and believable. I think most bible-believing christians would enjoy this book. The rest of us-- not so much. Recommended for fundamentalist christians. Suitable for christian teens also.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Couch by Benjamin Parzybok

Couch, Benjamin Parzybok. Easthampton Mass.: Small Beer Press, 2008. e-book, 284 pps., including preview of second novel.

     I like hacker lit the best of all genres but a well-written slacker fic also can amuse me. Couch involves three roommates and a couch. The couch is touched. It dictates where it wishes to go. Some stuff happens and the three guys head out to parts unknown with the couch. The couch has the soul of a gypsy.

sapphoq reviews says: Those who like slacker fic will appreciate this novel. I did. I plan to read the book that was included in part at the end as a preview. Highly recommended.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Waking Up in Heaven by Alex Tresniowski and Crystal McVea

Waking Up in Heaven: A True Story of Brokenness, Heaven, and Life Again, Alex Tresniowski and Crystal McVea. New York: Simon and Schuster/ Howard Books, 2013. e-book, 232 pps.

     Crystal McVea fancied herself a skeptic. She was a school teacher and mother of four living in Oklahoma when on December 10, 2009 her heart stopped. She claims that she spent nine minutes with [christian fundamentalist] god in heaven which changed her life.

     Sexually abused at a young age more than once, Crystal McVea could not relate to a loving father-god. She did like Jesus but as a child did not think that her salvation "took." In the book Waking Up in Heaven, she tried repeatedly to make a case for herself as having been an especially willful child but I couldn't see it.

     She went to live with her father in the summer before seventh grade. Two years later, after a quasi-suicide attempt involving vodka and pills, she returned to her mother's house. Things were not peaceful back at mom's. Mom had bad taste in men and invited an abusive alcoholic man back into her household.

     Crystal McVea discovered boys. She was sent to a sort of juvie hall for a month because she missed curfew once. After getting out, she drank some and smoked weed. She went to an alternative high school, got a job as a waitress, had several love affairs, fought with her mom, and then got pregnant at the age of seventeen. She got pregnant again at the age of nineteen but aborted that one. Life went on.

     She got pregnant yet again and married a wild guy. This one liked to drink to excess. He also loved drugs. Her second child was born. A divorce happened. She got a job. 

     The next fellow had a motorcycle accident which resulted in serious injuries to her first child J.P. The little guy lost complete hearing in one ear and was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury sometime after his emotional outbursts started. This necessitated hospitalization for him, now four years old, in a children's psych unit. Fortunately, Crystal located a new job at an insurance company with an accommodating boss who allowed her to arrange her schedule around the needs of JP.

     Crystal McVea met her future husband Virgil [but not via the insurance company job]. Things got calmer for her and her kids. Virgil was a practicing christian. [The other boyfriends weren't and so therefore they were all Bad News]. Crystal still wasn't sure that god liked her very much. Even so, there was a bunch of intense dreams about her brother who was drinking in an alcoholic fashion. He got three charges for driving drunk. He kind of faded out of the book as quickly as he faded in.

     The McVeas met another christian couple and became friends. The woman claimed that her mother had joined up with a satanic cult when she was but a child. That woman had been passed around the men and raped repeatedly. One day, she went to pray for Crystal McVea and boom, a demonic possession-- no, not one of her alters-- happened. The alleged demonic possession of the christian woman friend happened a second time but luckily husband Virgil knew exactly what to do.

     Then god prompted Crystal McVea to leave a large tip at a pizza place. The waitress needed the money.

     Courtesy of Virgil, god then made Crystal McVea pregnant with twins. The twins were severely premature and fragil but survived. Crystal McVea was still not happy, even after they passed their first earth birthday.

     Crystal McVea was hospitalized and operated on but then insisted upon going home too early. She was back in the hospital that same evening and that is when her heart stopped. 

     In heaven, Crystal McVea first met her own two special guardian angels. She loved them. Then god showed up. Then her aborted fetus-- now a happy little girl-- came along. Crystal McVea was restored back to life in the hospital and she renewed her christian walk.

sapphoq reviews says: To my way of thinking, Crystal McVea did not really qualify as a skeptic. Although she backslid on many occasions, she had no discernible contact with any community of non-believers or secular humanist thought. The blurb for the book was a far better example of writing than any found in the book itself. Sensational and not worth reading despite the hype. Not all books written by christians are this bad. Give Waking Up in Heaven a miss. I was glad that I was able to read it at the library instead of paying for it.



Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Why Are You Atheists So Angry? by Greta Christina

Why Are You Atheists So Angry?: 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, Greta Christina. San Francisco: Dirty Heathen Publishing, 2012. e-book, 366 pps.

     Anger has been given a bad rap. In some recovery rooms, it is popular to claim that anger is a "secondary emotion." If one is angry, then somehow one is "less spiritual." Or at the very least, something is wrong with the way that one is working the program. Some christians lay the charge of anger at the feet of atheists. Similar to recovering people everywhere, the validity of anger is not recognized.

     Greta Christina gives atheist and believer alike a solid list of reasons why many of the us in the no-gods camp are angry. She addresses fundamentalists, progressives, new age woo-woo followers, ecumenicals, and even those who claim to be spiritual but not religious. She wraps up her tome with some reasons why she does not believe in any gods-- solid references to current events-- and then exhorts atheists to get involved with atheist activism. A solid list of resources round out the book.

sapphoq reviews says: Greta Christina has penned a thought-provoking book. Why Are You Atheists So Angry? should be read by all christians. Atheists too will like the succinct writing that expresses what is at the heart of atheist anger so well. Highly recommended.