Category Archives: readers unite!

Teaser Tuesday – July 4th 2017

Joining this fun weekly meme hosted by The Purple Booker. Instructions below:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.

I’m reading something profound now, which I’m very slowly digesting. Here are the 2 teaser sentences:

You might turn the world on its head by changing one word in your creed. The old tradition says: The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

– Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist, by John Piper

Care to share what you’re reading these days? Feel free to comment below, or head straight here.

Banned Books, Anyone?

I belatedly learned that the American Library Association observed the annual Banned Books Week on September 24-30, to celebrate the freedom to read. I was curious to know which of the books I’ve read all my life have been banned somewhere, at some point in time, for one reason or another, so I did a little digging. I found that many of books that have been banned or challenged over the years are for obvious reasons, among them:

  • The Bible – obviously banned in several countries due to religious restrictions.
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – “Obscene.” “Profane language.” “Sexually explicit.” “Violent.” “Sacrilegious.” “Trash being passed off as literature.” AND I SAY IT’S ONE OF THE WORLD’S BEST READS, EVER.
  • The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger – reasons cited include being anti-white and obscene, containing profanities, and depicting premarital sex, alcohol abuse, and prostitution.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee – for use of slurs that promote “racial hatred, racial division, racial separation, and white supremacy.”
  • Animal Farm, by George Orwell – because “Orwell was a communist,” according to certain committees in the US. Funnily enough, the story goes that Orwell could not find a publisher willing to print the book in 1943 because of its criticism of the USSR. When it was published, it got banned in the USSR and other communist countries. 
  • Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut – because it is “vulgar and offensive.”
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe – banned by the Confederate States during the American Civil War because of its anti-slavery message, and in Russia for the idea of equality that it presented (wow!).
  • Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling – “contains occult/satanism, violence.”

I was partly surprised and partly amused, meanwhile, with other titles I discovered among the list of banned books. These include:

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis CarrollBanned in the province of Hunan, China in the 1930s, for its portrayal of anthropomorphized animals acting on the same level of complexity as human beings.
  • The Diary of Anne Frank – banned in Lebanon because of its positive depiction of Jews.
  • The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown – banned in Lebanon (yes, Lebanon) because Catholics (yes, Catholics in Lebanon) found it offensive to Christianity.
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon – for offensive language and religious viewpoint (atheism).
  • The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins – because it is “anti-ethnic; anti-family” and it presents “insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence.”
  • My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult – contains “homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexism, violence.”

And many, many more.

I’m glad I grew up in a household that encouraged reading, at a place and a time unfamiliar with reading censorship (either that or I just somehow got away with reading whatever I wanted even as a grade schooler, including Lualhati Bautista’s Gapo and Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa? and Robert Ludlum’s Bourne series). I must agree, though, that guidance is critical especially in training young people to be readers. I’m sure, too, that it can be very tricky to balance nurturing their desire to read and (instead of banning books) helping them develop discernment sound enough to have them do the following:

A few books from my personal library that have been banned somewhere, at some time, for some reason.

1. Choose their books well and distinguish good content from utter garbage.

2. Assess what they are reading and determine which parts/elements, within the same text, they are to allow to influence their thinking and which ones simply serve to entertain.

3. Contextualize. Not that one is supposed to do a book report on every title s/he reads, but a good way to appreciate and make the most of a book is to investigate the author’s context in writing it.

Anyway, going back to the topic of banned books: Which ones from the list above have you read? You can check the Banned Books Week site to view more comprehensive lists. And do try to challenge yourself by reading one or two of the titles there (that is, with the exception of anything from the Twilight and Fifty Shades trilogies–see above point about distinguishing drivel)!

Thank God, It’s Monday! — Week of May 30th 2016

The sky was crazy-overcast all day. My left wrist is hurting so badly (must’ve pinched a muscle in my sleep) that I need to make do with one good hand. But I say it’s been a good, blessed Monday!

I was productive at work (met with my boss for the first time in weeks), I got to do a few errands with the hubby, and I received wonderful news from a couple of my discipleship group sisters. Plus (okay, this point’s quite trivial, but of practical benefit), these discounted Grab Car rides are quite awesome — traveled from Pasig to Greenhills this afternoon for just 85 pesos!

My boss also gave me another push today in relation to my desire to go back to school and start pursuing postgraduate studies. She even gave me dissertation ideas. She’s just so encouraging, I feel awfully blessed.

Now for something geeky: I enrolled in a MOOC (or Massive Open Online Course) on the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez post-One Hundred Years of Solitude! The only problem is, I don’t have ready access to the different works in the reading list, save a few. For example, The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Eréndira and Her Heartless Grandmother is the first book on the list and we’re taking it up this week, but only printed copies are available on Amazon. I think I may be on to something on Scribd, but I’ve been encountering subscription and download issues. Oh, me and my dweeby problems…

And how’s your Monday? Feel free to write your own TGIM post on your blog or FB page, and comment below with a link to said post. Or, if you wish, post your story/insight straight below.

Have a blessed week!