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Showing posts from April, 2014

Banned Books: Gone with the Wind By Margaret Mitchell

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Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell



               Scarlett O’Hara is a southern belle living on a plantation in Georgia in the time before the Civil War. She is a beauty like her mother with the temper of her Irish father. Learned in the ways of women, she holds all of the men in the palm of her hands. All except for Ashley Wilkes, who she is now madly in love with after hearing of his intention to marry his cousin Melanie. In an attempt to steal him away from his fiancĂ©, she announces her love to him, in private and when rejected throws a tantrum that was visible only to Rhett Butler, a wealthy man not received in most well to do circles. Life after that fateful night changed for everyone with the beginning of the Civil War. Scarlett’s love for Ashley never wavered as the battle around her raged on and the world as she knew completely disappeared.                 Mitchell created an amazing, innovative, funny, well developed and brilliantly written novel with Gone with the Wind.

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan

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The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan


Violet Minturn is an American girl who lives with her mother in the Hidden Jade Path, a first class courtesan house in Shanghai, China. Lulu Mimi, her mother, also American, is the owner and madam of Hidden Jade Path, also known as the House of Lulu Mimi. The courtesan house is known for their Cloud Beauties and for catering to both Chinese and Western Clients. The Revolution that occurred when Violet was fourteen changed everything for the Minturn family. They were now in fear for their life as foreigners. It was at this time that Violet also discovered that her father, who she had always believed was an American man who passed away when she was young, was a Chinese businessman very much alive. His very traditional family shunned her and her mother but kidnapped her little brother who she didn’t even know existed. Lulu’s search for her young son and trust in the wrong person would leave Violet abandoned and forced to live the life of a courtesan. The…

Banned Books: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

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Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston



             Janie’s been gone for quite some time and the man she ran off with is nowhere to be found. When she comes back to the home she shared with her late husband, gossip ensues. Inquiring minds want to know what’s happened to Janie. And it’s quite a story to tell. In a moment of reflection she divulges to her friend Phoeby what life has really been like for her. Raised by her grandmother and placed in an arranged marriage she didn’t know happiness. When she left him to marry another man with great dreams and ambition she became the mayor’s wife but didn’t have her own identity. It wasn’t until her later years that she found a man that truly made her happy and she was willing to give up all to be with him.                Their Eyes Were Watching God is the story of a black woman living in West Florida in the early 20th century. Janie’s life is not only used as a vehicle to examine her growth but also to examine relationships betwe…

The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom

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The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom

The phones began ringing on a Friday in Coldwater, Michigan. Tess got a call from her mother, who had early onset Alzheimer’s disease and died four years earlier. Katherine talked to her sister, Diane, who had died from an aneurysm two years ago. Jack, the chief of police, had lost his son, Robbie, in Afghanistan and was able to talk to him for the first time in years that Friday. Weeks later Katherine would tell the church congregation that she had been talking to her sister. Word spread fast through the small town and soon everyone was expecting a phone call from deceased loved ones. Jules, was included in that number. Jules was hoping to hear from his mother, Giselle, who had died months earlier while her husband, Sully, was in prison. The phone calls came the day Sully was released and he refused to believe they were true. There were skeptics like Sully throughout the town and the country as media coverage increased regarding these ca…

Banned Books: Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

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Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut



Billy Pilgrim has been a Chaplain’s Assistant in World War II, a prisoner of war, a survivor in Dresden, an optometrist, a plane crash survivor and he has also been abducted by Tralfamadorians, taken to their planet and put on display in a human zoo. Oh, he also travels through time, revisiting moments in life. Being able to travel through time has given Billy a unique perspective on life: everything that will happen, has already happened and nothing will prevent it from happening over and over again. Why else would he get on a plane he knew was going to crash, unless he knew he would be the only survivor? But Billy is somewhat burdened by his ability to time travel. He struggles with the idea of peace and whether or not peace can exist on Earth as it does in Tralfamdore. What Billy hasn’t been able to do is focus on those moments that make him happy. It’s obvious in his travels that he focuses on the moments that cause him the most pain and trouble…

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala

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Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala

                On December 26,2014, Sonali Deraniyagala watched as the tsunami came barreling towards Yala Safari Beach Hotel, where she was vacationing with her husband, parents and two young sons. She was the only person in her family to survive. It took days for the bodies of her parents and oldest son to be found. Months before her husband and sons bodies were recovered. The pain and guilt she suffered was eloquently described in the pages of Wave. The shock, the suicidal tendencies, the pills, the fear and the loss were all described by Sonali in this heart wrenching account of survival.                 When I first picked up Wave I expected it to be a harrowing account of survival and the fight to live. I expected a detailed explanation of the tsunami crashing through Sri Lanka, with the roar of the wave blazing through the pages. I got chaos. Indescribable chaos filled with fear and confusion. It was an incredibly honest description of one of the wors…

Banned Books: The Color Purple by Alice Walker

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The Color Purple by Alice Walker

After the death of their Ma, sisters Celie and Nettie find strength and love in each other. The daughter and son Celie had by Pa are gone. Dead for all Celie knows. But there are still young children in the home that need to be raised and that responsibility landed on Celie. Until Pa found a new wife that is. Once the caretaker responsibilities were taken over Celie was married off. Nettie ran away from her Pa and her new stepma shortly thereafter, to Celie’s home with her new husband. After Nettie rejected Mr, Celie's new husband's, advances she had to leave, not knowing when she would ever see Celie again. With the only person she truly loved gone, Celie felt weak. The abuse she suffered under Mr and his children made her weaker still. Raising someone else’s children when unsure of the life her own pained her. She turned to prayer throughout, trying to affirm her belief that a higher being cared about her and her Nettie. The Color Purple looks…

The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

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The Good Lord Bird by James McBride


              Henry Shackleford was a young slave boy in 1856 when he happened across the path of the famous and feared abolitionist, John Brown. His father was killed and he was freed from his owner after Brown was confronted by Pro-slavers in the Kansas Territory where Henry was living. Old Man Brown believed Henry was a girl, and unintentionally set up the disguise that would keep Henry alive while in Brown’s company. Through his eyes we learn the history of Old John Brown, his passion for the Lord and his fight for the freedom of slaves which would eventually lead to the beginning of the Civil War. Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman make appearances in the novel as Brown consults with both in his quest. For almost four years Henry lived his life as a girl, protecting his own skin. During that time we see the sacrifices made by Old Man Brown, the bravery of slaves and those who would risk their lives to set them free. The Good Lord Bird is a his…

Banned Books: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

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Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison


               Follow the journey of our unnamed narrator through his life as an invisible man. Begin with him as a youth listening to the fateful words of his grandfather, as he urges the family to keep fighting, words that would effectively confuse and influence our narrator. Watch as he fights to receive a scholarship to a university. Pay attention when chance ruins his chance to be an educator and a scholar. Feel the pain he feels when he realizes how horribly he has been deceived. Be hopeful, with our narrator, for the change he thinks will come. Experience life with our unnamed narrator, the black man who changes his identity, only to realize that he, no matter what his name may be, would be used. Until he allowed himself to be invisible.                 Ellison wrote an amazing novel that was extremely conscious of the sensitivities of America and race in the 1940’s and can still be seen in society today, though some may argue not to this extent. O…