Did you know today is day two of Banned Books Week, which this year is being celebrated from September 22 to September 28. I’ve always kind of known there were banned books, but I think I viewed this as a problem that mostly existing the past or in really small pockets of America. I pictured the banning of books like Lady Chatterly’s Lover. It wasn’t until this year that I learned that the banning of books hugely spiked in the 1980s. Books like Harry Potter, Twilight, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Hunger Games, and even the Alice books are among the most banned books of the last decade, along with classics like Huckleberry Finn and Beloved. This problem is not in the past. It not only exists in the present. It is growing. Continue reading “Marry, Date or Dump: Men from Banned Books”
I’ve resisted reading Thirteen Reasons Why for a long time. The book follows high school student Clay Jensen through a night where he must listen to thirteen cassette tapes recorded by his crush Hannah Baker who recently committed suicide. On the tapes she lists thirteen reasons and thirteen people who helped her decide to kill herself. If Clay listens he will find out how he made this list. If he doesn’t there is the threat that the tapes will be released to the public.
When I’ve looked at the book before, I thought things like “Why would I want to read something so dark. Life is hard enough without reading books like that” or “Why do teenage books have to be so depressing now.” But as a huge bestseller and winner of many literary awards – I thought it would be good to read it as someone who is interested in writing young adult books. Well let me tell you, all of my assumptions about this book were wrong. It blew me away as both a reader and an aspiring writer. I tried to distill what was so great about the book and came up with three words: tension, relatable, and voice. Continue reading “Thirteen Reasons Why: A Dark Book Worth Reading”