Showing posts from September, 2012

Stephen Chbosky's "The Perks of Being a Wallflower", My Read for Banned Books Week 2012.

To help decide what to read for Banned Books Week, I looked over a book called, appropriately, Banned Books: Challenging Our Freedom to Read by Robert P. Doyle.  Doyle's book is itself quite interesting and full of intriguing tidbits.  For example, in 1981 the novel Don Quixote was banned by the Chilean military junta for supporting individual freedom and attacking authority.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (hereinafter "Wallflower") warranted in its Banned Books listing about a column and a half of commentary.  The picture below shows photocopies of the listing.  The book is about a young man in his first year of high school and Wallflower's target audience is the high school age reader.  As a result, the challenges were mainly to the book's inclusion on summer reading lists and in school libraries.  Two particular listings transformed this book into an instant must read for me.

First, in 2005 the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction wrote school distri…

"Malice of Fortune" Holds No Riches for Me

I'm finding Malice of Fortune, a murder mystery set in 16th century Italy, to be very slow going.  This is disappointing because I enjoy mysteries and historical thrillers.  But alas, despite the promise of corrupt Popes, Machiavelli, and even Leonardo da Vinci, I'm not finding this story to be exciting.  Since I have a huge stack of other promising books, I am giving up on Malice of Fortune.

If you are looking for suspenseful historical fiction to read, check out Company of Liars by Karen Maitland.  Set in England during the Middle Ages, it is about a group of strangers who travel together trying to outrun the plague.  It's a good story.

Banned Books Week: September 30 - October 6, 2012.

Banned Books Week starts next Sunday, September 30th.  To mark the occasion I've read Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower, whichhas just been released as a movie. With respect to the book, more thoughts later.  Suffice it to say for now that it's amazing.  Consider reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower yourself to celebrate Banned Books Week!

Fall Reading: Books with Buzz.

Although autumn doesn't start officially until September 22, it feels like it is already here with kids back in school, football on television, and leaves falling in the yard.  It's sad to see the summer end.  However, we can take solace in the fact that as the weather cools and the days continue to get shorter, there will be more time for reading and lots of interesting new books available.

Here are a few books that are already getting a buzz, and which I will likely read in the coming weeks:

J.K. Rowling, of Harry Potter fame, is releasing her first book written specifically for adults, The Casual Vacancy.  If The CasualVacancy is even close to being as interesting as the Potter books, I'll be happy. Lee Child has another Jack Reacher book available, A Wanted Man.  Although I skipped Reacher's last outings, The Affair and a Kindle-only story, Deep Down, I'm ready for another Reacher yarn.
Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan.  McEwan writes beautifully.  I enjoyed the experie…

An Exciting Mystery from Howard Owen: "Oregon Hill"

Author Howard Owen hits it out of the park with his new novel, Oregon Hill. The protagonist in this fast-paced mystery is Willie Black, a Richmond, Virginia, newspaper reporter.  Black's drinking, and attitude towards management, has gotten him busted down from covering the state capitol to covering the night cops' beat.  But he is a wily 30-year veteran of the newspaper business and when a university student is found murdered, Willie Black is on the story.

What Black doesn't expect is that the story will take him back to his days growing up in Oregon Hill, the tough neighborhood where his mother still lives.  After the police make an arrest in the murder case, Black's local knowledge and connections - including an ex-wife who represents the defendant - make him question the case built by the cops.  And as it turns out, questioning the cops is a very dangerous thing.

Oregon Hill is truly a page turner.  But in addition to being an exciting read, Howard Owen folds in man…