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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Title: Paper Towns

Author: John Green

Publication Date: September, 2009

Softcover: 320 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone

How I got this book: Bought

Why I chose this book: Because it’s John Green… (The need for a “duh” should not exist here)


 Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge— he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues— and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew.


This was a remarkable book.  Coming from John Green, that’s unsurprising.  However, compared to his other novels, it definitely wasn’t his best work.  But just the thought process that you can see behind the characters–it’s quite mesmerizing.  John Green takes these things we all think about and articulates them in this beautiful and almost lyrical way, presenting them in such a sophisticated form that they’re no longer everyone’s, but just his characters’.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.”

“The town was paper, but the memories were not.”


“‘I didn’t need you, you idiot.  I picked you.  And then you picked me back.'”

Reading into Paper Towns you see this underlying plot-line of people who are people but not the people we see them as.  Or, in a more reader-friendly way: There are billions of people in this world, and we can hardly imagine them.  But when you get to know a person you need to get beneath their “cracks” and see what lies beneath instead of thinking of them as something they are not.  In the end, it’s what’s best.

As I mentioned earlier, I believe John Green’s other books are much better, so you should check them out:

The Fault in Our Stars

Looking for Alaska 

An Abundance of Katherines


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Banned Books Week!

Banned Books Week (September 30- October 6) has been celebrating the freedom to read for thirty years now.  During this time hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the nation bring up the problem of censorship and encourage the reading of banned and challenged books.

To celebrate the week, I’d like to pick out some of my personal favorite (and most popular) banned/challenged books:

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
     Ranking at number 8 on the list of most frequently challenged books, Bridge to Terabithia is challenged for supposed promotion of secular humanism, New Age religion, occultism, Satanism, and use of offensive language. 

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
     The Harry Potter series, though being one of the top ranking series to ever hit bookshelves, is always one of the top series to be challenged.  Why?  Many of the stated issues with the series are: they promote witchcraft, they set bad examples (lying, disobeying authority), and they’re too dark.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
     The Lovely Bones, though being heart-touching enough to be adapted into a movie, is commonly challenged.  Most general reason: the content in the novel is for mature readers only.

Flowers for Algernon  by Daniel Keyes
     Though Flowers for Algernon is a beloved book by many (including me) it is number 47 on the list for most commonly banned/challenged books.  But what’s so bad about Flowers? According to the challenges, some of the content may be considered offensive or obscene.  Some of the content is thought of as frightening or disturbing to children.  Also, the protag, Charlie, falls in love with his teacher, and a sexual encounter ensues.

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
     The Outsiders has been a controversial book since it’s release in 1967 and is still prevalent today.  Common reasons for being challenged: portrayal of gang violence, underage smoking and drinking, strong language, slang usage, use of obscenities, and it’s “expose” on family dysfunction.  Also, it has been said to promote “unchristian values”.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
     You may be more familiar with The Perks of Being a Wallflower as the upcoming movie staring Emma Watson.  Common reasons for it being challenged: containing of teenage sex, homosexuality, bestiality, masturbation, “obscene or child pornography”, portrayal of rape, profanity, descriptions of drug use, “sexually explicit conduct and torture”, positive gay themes, and offensive content.

So pick up a banned book this week and rebel against the censorship.  If you want to read more about Banned Books Week or censorship in the United States and other countries, check out the official Banned Books Week website: http://bannedbooksweek.org/