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Well folks, it's that time of year when we remember that not all learned people have a firm grasp of reality and seek to remove certain titles from the shelves of our libraries and bookshops. Here are a few that were the most challenged of 2007:

1. “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint,
2. "The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence
3. “Olive’s Ocean,” by Kevin Henkes Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language
4. “The Golden Compass,” by Philip Pullman Reasons: Religious Viewpoint
5. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain Reasons: Racism
6. "The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,
7. "TTYL,” by Lauren Myracle Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
8. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou Reasons: Sexually Explicit
9. “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie HarrisReasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit
10. "The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

I have to say that I'm astonished that numbers 5, 6, and 8 are on this list.

Book Update

In the past few weeks I have read three books. All three were entertaining books, but also I would probably not read any one of them again.

You are probably wondering what books they are.
Well, they are as follows;
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides;
God's Own Country by Ross Raisin;
26a by Diana Evans.

The first, well, I read it, and finished it, partly because I had read Middlesex by the same author, and enjoyed it. However, for me, The Virgin Suicides lacked narrative drive. Like I say, I finished the book as I'd read another by the same author and thoroughly enjoyed it, but this one left me feeling flat.

The second is a first novel. I enjoyed it, but the book was left open-ended, not having a satisfactory conclusion to it, for me. This book is not for the faint hearted however, as it is rather dark, and the dialect used in it might put off some readers. (I'm lucky, I understood the dialect being used.) The whole book is an internal monologue by Sam, the main character, and entertaining if you can understand the dialect.

26a is on the surface a book about twin girls, but it has elements of possession, dream connections, and in the last part, a definite possession of one twin by the other. It confused me a little, but was a good read.
link to The Virgin Suicides
link to God's Own Country.
link to 26a

Hailed as Boudica, the Bringer of Victory, Breaca now lead's her people's resistance against the occupying legions of Rome. Opposing her is Julius Valerius, an auxiliary cavalry officer whose increasing brutality in the service of his god and emperor cannot shield him from the ghosts of his past. Caught between them are two children, pawns in a game of unthinkable savagery, while in distant Rome, the emperor Claudius holds the balance of lives in his hands.

In this, the second book of the series that began with Dreaming the Eagle, we follow the life of Breaca's younger brother Ban who was captured and sold into slavery at the end of the first book. He is told that his family are all dead and so begins his life as a slave to Rome. After some time, he is allowed to become a citizen of Rome, taking the name Julius Valerius.

I have to admit, I had torn feelings regarding Ban's actions, which is what I'm sure Scott aims for. My off-the-cuff emotional response was intense dislike, but the logical side of me reminds me that believing his family dead, one can hardly blame him for joining 'the enemy'.

This is an excellent follow-up to the first book and I will certainly be diving into the third book soon.

Having slipped through the window in the Aurora Borealis, the intrepid Lyra finds herself in a new world where she arrives in Cittagazze, a beautiful yet haunted city inhabited by soul-eating specters and run by children. Here she finds an ally in Will Parry, a 12-year-old boy from our own world who, in search of his missing father, stumbled into the strange world via another window leading from his own Oxford. Together, the pair forge ahead on a perilous journey between worlds teeming with witches, angels, and treachery to uncover a deadly secret: a weapon of extraordinary and devastating power. With each step they cannot overcome the greatest threat of all, and walk towards the shattering truth of their own destinies...

If you've never read the first book of the His Dark Materials trilogy, you're not going to fancy reading The Subtle Knife. Bottom line. They are very intertwined and reading it before its predecessor - Northern Lights (or in the US, The Golden Compass) - will get you nowhere fast.

Quite frankly, I'm not sure how I feel about this book. It was a bit strange, to be frank. None of the alleged Church bashing from the first book bothered me and while it's continued to a degree here, that's really not it. Though I've read both books and will definitely read the third, I wouldn't put it on my top ten list.

His Dark Materials

Ok, I'll admit it, one of the reasons I decided to read this book is my kids, (well, they are getting older now, but still the same,) are pirate mad. And who didn't like "Pirates of the Caribbean", and "Muppet's Treasure Island" ?
The book is a possible "prequel" to R L Stevenson's classic "Treasure Island", but is for an adult readership, not children as Stevenson's classic is.
Drake has researched the history of the time and everything rings true, without the history being "in your face".
Drake has also asked himself questions, as he explains at the end of the book such as, "How Did Long John Silver lose his leg?" The answers he came up with are very credible ones.

John Silver had never killed a man. Until now, charisma, sheer size and, when all else failed, a powerful pair of fists had been enough to see off his enemies. But on a smouldering deck off the coast of Madagascar, his cutlass has just claimed the lives of six pirates. With their comrades intent on revenge, Silver's promising career in the merchant navy looks set to come to an end ... until the pirate captain makes him an offer he can't refuse.
On the other side of the world Joseph Flint, a naval officer wronged by his superiors, plots a bloody mutiny. Strikingly handsome, but prey to sadistic tendencies, the path Flint has chosen will ultimately lead him to Silver.
Together these gentlemen of fortune forge a deadly and unstoppable partnership, steering a course through treachery and betrayal while amassing a vast fortune.
But the arrival of Selena, a beautiful runaway slave with a murderous past, triggers sexual jealousy that will turn the best of friends into sworn enemies ... and so the legend of Treasure Island begins.
(The jacket bumph)

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the line inside the dust jacket reads
"Sex, violence and swashbuckling adventure!"
I would have put them in the reverse order, as there is lots of swashbuckling adventure, some violence and not so much sex, and it doesn't dwell on the sex, it is just part of the story.
Flint's sadism is well written, and to me is not overdone.
Also in Drake's afterword, he mentions that there may be other stories to tell, prior to Treasure Island

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