His Dark Materials

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Banned Books 2019 – FEBRUARY READ – Northern Lights/The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1) – Philip Pullman

Published February 25, 2019 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

“Without this child, we shall all die.”

Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live half-wild and carefree among scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands of the Arctic, where witch-clans reign and ice-bears fight. Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequences far beyond her own world…

Logo designed by Luna’s Little Library

Welcome to the second banned book in our series for 2019! As always, we’ll be looking at why the book was challenged, how/if things have changed since the book was originally published and our own opinions on the book. Here’s what we’ll be reading for the rest of the year:

MARCH: Uncle Bobby’s Wedding– Sarah S. Brannen

APRIL: We All Fall Down- Robert Cormier

MAY: Crazy Lady– Jane Leslie Conley

JUNE: Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture– Michael A. Bellesiles

JULY: In The Night Kitchen- Maurice Sendak

AUGUST: Whale Talk– Chris Crutcher

SEPTEMBER: The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins

OCTOBER: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn- Mark Twain

NOVEMBER: To Kill A Mockingbird- Harper Lee

DECEMBER: Revolutionary Voices- edited by Amy Sonnie

But back to this month….

Northern Lights/The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1) – Philip Pullman

First published: 1995

In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2008 (source)

Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, violence.

Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?

BETH:  Of course not. I’m one of those people who never experienced reading the His Dark Materials series as a child so I only came to it with an adult mentality. Either way, I think I would have had the same opinion. There is no reason on earth why this book should be challenged or banned, ESPECIALLY for the reasons mentioned. As always, I tried to guess the reasons why this book, the first in the series, might have been difficult for some people to stomach and once again, I was completely wrong. I assumed that the fantasy/magical aspect might have offended a few people (even though children clearly love a good, imaginative narrative that doesn’t necessary have to be believable!).

CHRISSI:  I have to say no. It’s a load of poppycock. I have no idea why this book was challenged. Like Beth, I thought it might be about the fantasy elements, I know some of the parents of children at my school don’t like fantasy because of religious reasons and I wondered whether that could be it. No. Political viewpoint? Religious viewpoint? This confuses me.

How about now?

BETH: Northern Lights was challenged over ten years after it was published and to be honest, I’m struggling to see why if there were challenges from concerned readers, they didn’t appear prior to 2008? If anyone has any ideas, please do enlighten me! Additionally, it really does irritate me when the reasons for challenging a book point towards a political or religious viewpoint. Now, I’m not a particularly political or religious individual BUT I do like to learn about different attitudes/cultures and viewpoints and I very much enjoy it when there’s a difference of opinion to my own in a novel, unless I feel like I’m being preached to. Saying that however, I really didn’t think there was a strong viewpoint either political or religious in Northern Lights and I’m a bit confused as to where this reasoning has come from?

CHRISSI: I am utterly confused by the reasons for challenging this book. I didn’t think it had a particularly strong political or religious viewpoint. Even if it did, why does it matter? Why should it be banned? Shouldn’t we be allowed to make our own minds up? Shouldn’t we open our minds a little to other’s views?

What did you think of this book?:

BETH: I really love His Dark Materials as a series but particularly this first novel, Northern Lights. Lyra is a wonderfully rich character who never fails to make me laugh, the world-building is imaginative and thought-provoking and I adored the adventure aspect of the entire novel. Plus, I absolutely love the idea of having a daemon companion as a unique part of your personality. I’d love to know what yours would be in the comment below if you’ve read this book? Mine would be a ring-tailed lemur!

CHRISSI: Ooh. This is a toughie. Whilst I appreciate that Philip Pullman is a talented writer and that this story is fabulously creative… there’s something about it that I don’t connect with. I have a disconnect with it and I can’t tell why. I usually like fantasy/magical reads but this one leaves me quite cold. I know I am in the minority with that. I certainly wouldn’t dissuade anyone from reading it! Oh and my daemon would definitely be a lop-eared rabbit.

Would you recommend it?:

BETH: But of course!

CHRISSI: Yes!

BETH’s personal star rating (out of 5):

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COMING UP IN MARCH ON BANNED BOOKS: Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah S. Brannen.

 

The Intimidating TBR Book Tag

Published October 25, 2018 by bibliobeth

Hi everyone and welcome to another book tag on bibliobeth today. I like to participate in a tag each month to mix things up a bit and always find them a lot of fun. I’ve seen this tag going around the blogosphere and book tube and thought it was about time I gave it a try. My TBR is VERY intimidating but to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m in a very fortunate position as a book blogger to be offered books for review from publishers and even though I have a ton of my own books still waiting on my shelves to be read, I’m always grateful for the chance to read something new and exciting!

I’m sorry I couldn’t find the original creator of this tag but if anyone knows let me know in the comments below and I’ll amend accordingly.

1.) Which book which was on your TBR recently have you been unable to finish?

Gosh this is such a hard question. I’ve had a few DNF’s recently and have got a lot more brutal about putting a book down if I’m not really getting on with it. I used to labour through books that I wasn’t enjoying then get into a major slump and wonder why I put myself through it! No longer. If I’m not enjoying a book by about 50-100 pages in, I’ll put it down and declare it’s not for me. I also have a policy not to review anything I DNF as I don’t think it’s fair to the author or publisher to review a novel that an author has put so much blood, sweat and tears into. Also, I didn’t finish the novel so how can I give a fair review of a book when I didn’t even make it to the end.

But….I digress! The book I had to give up on recently was A Brief History Of Seven Killings by Marlon James. This was particularly sad for me as Mr B (my other half) chose it for my September TBR after he really enjoyed the audiobook. I tried guys, I really did but this book wasn’t for me. About 50 pages in I knew if I pushed myself any further I was just going to start resenting it and I didn’t want to do that. It’s obvious the author is hugely talented, his style just isn’t my cup of tea unfortunately.

2.) Which book haven’t you read yet because you haven’t had the time?

Pretty much all of my current TBR, haha! I’ll give a few examples that I’m really cross with myself about and that I honestly meant to get to this year. Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse, A Song Of Fire And Ice by George R.R. Martin, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty, Tipping The Velvet by Sarah Waters, Bonk by Mary Roach, Pop Goes The Weasel by M.J. Arlidge and Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly. I could go on. You see my dilemma? What to read FIRST?!

3.) Which book haven’t you read yet because it’s a sequel?

This is quite an easy question for me to answer, hooray! I’m going to go with The Amber Spyglass, the third in the Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman. I know, I know, I’m awful. I read Northern Lights and The Subtle Knife a little while ago and just never got round to the third in the series. Then The Book Of Dust came out and I thought I should go back to the beginning of the series and start again, read all three and then read The Book Of Dust. HELP! What should I do??

4.) Which book haven’t you read yet because it’s brand new?

I have a few books I could choose for the answer to this question but I’m going to go with The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. I pre-ordered it after seeing some rave reviews (because pre-orders don’t count in a book ban, did you know?!) and it dropped through my letterbox a couple of days ago so I’m very excited to read it. Eventually.

5.) Which book haven’t you read yet because you read a book by the same author and didn’t enjoy it?

This is tough! *looks through bookshelves…* I’m going to go with Water Born, a YA novel by Rachel Ward. I read the first book in the series, The Drowning, a little while ago and wasn’t that impressed with it so to be honest, I’m not in a huge rush to get to this, if I end up reading it at all.

6.) Which book haven’t you read yet because you’re just not in the mood for it?

I don’t really count myself as much of a mood reader, I don’t feel like I have to be in particular “mood” to read a novel however I’ve had The Wonder by Emma Donoghue on my shelves for quite a while now and so far, haven’t been compelled enough to pick it up yet even though I absolutely adored her novel, Room. I will do at some point but I’m just not sure when.

7.) Which book haven’t you read yet because it’s humongous?

This one is staring at me right now and has been for quite a while. Eek. It’s A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891-1924 by Orlando Figes. In its paperback form it’s 1024 pages and an absolute beast. I’m fascinated by Russian history, particularly around this time period and the period of the Second World War so I am intrigued to read this but am SO very intimidated by the size of it!

8.) Which book haven’t you read yet because it was a cover buy that turned out to have poor reviews?

This question has taken me so long to answer. I am a “cover lover” but normally the pretty books I buy have quite decent reviews too. Although I do believe opinions are very subjective, what one person might not connect to in a novel another person might love! I’m going to go with Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee which has a beautiful hardback cover but as I’m sure you’re aware, came with a giant share of controversy. Still haven’t read it to make up my own mind!

9.) What is the most intimidating book in your TBR pile?

Apart from the Orlando Figes? Okay, I’m going with a rather odd choice but I shall explain. It’s the hardback copy of In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume, her latest adult novel. If you saw my Kid-Lit post Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing you might remember that I’m a massive fan of Blume and when I got to meet her, royally embarrassed myself in front of her! Literally. I curtsied to the woman for goodness sake. This is the most intimidating book on my TBR because I haven’t read anything brand new from her since I was a child and I’m scared of my own super high expectations!!

So that’s all the questions answered, I hope you enjoyed this post and finding out a bit more about me and my intimidating TBR. If you’ve done this post before I’d love if you left a link in the comments so I could check out your answers. Also, if you’ve read any of the books I’ve mentioned and want to persuade me to pick them up a bit quicker, I’m ALWAYS open to a little bit of gentle prodding!

Lots Of Love

Beth 

xxx

Mini Pin-It Reviews #5 – Four YA Books

Published January 28, 2017 by bibliobeth

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Hello everyone and welcome to another mini pin-it reviews post! I have a massive backlog of reviews and this is my way of trying to get on top of things a bit. This isn’t to say I didn’t like some of these books – my star rating is a more accurate reflection of this, but this is a great, snappy way of getting my thoughts across and decreasing my backlog a bit. This time I’ve got four young adult books for you – please see my pin it thoughts below!

1.) Something Strange And Deadly – Susan Dennard

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What’s it all about?:

There’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia. . . .

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about.

Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper:

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor . . . from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including the maddeningly stubborn yet handsome Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

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Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

2.) The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials #2) – Philip Pullman

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What’s it all about?:

The most magnificent fantasy series since The Lord of the Rings.” — The Oregonian

Lost in a new world, Lyra finds Will—a boy on the run, a murderer—a worthy and welcome ally. For this is a world where soul-eating Specters stalk the streets and witches share the skies with troops of angels.

Each is searching—Lyra for the meaning of Dark Matter, Will for his missing father—but what they find instead is a deadly secret, a knife of untold power. And neither Lyra nor Will suspects how tightly their lives, their loves, and their destinies are bound together… until they are split apart.

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Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

3.) Another Little Piece – Kate Karyus Quinn

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What’s it all about?:

On a cool autumn night, Annaliese Rose Gordon stumbled out of the woods and into a high school party. She was screaming. Drenched in blood. Then she vanished.

A year later, Annaliese is found wandering down a road hundreds of miles away. She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know how she got there. She only knows one thing: She is not the real Annaliese Rose Gordon.

Now Annaliese is haunted by strange visions and broken memories. Memories of a reckless, desperate wish . . . a bloody razor . . . and the faces of other girls who disappeared. Piece by piece, Annaliese’s fractured memories come together to reveal a violent, endless cycle that she will never escape—unless she can unlock the twisted secrets of her past.

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Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

 four-stars_0

4.) Something Real – Heather Demetrios

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What’s it all about?:

There’s nothing real about reality TV.

Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show’s cancellation and the scandal surrounding it, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it’s about to fall apart…because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™’s mom and the show’s producers won’t let her quit and soon the life she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie™ needs to do something drastic if her life is ever going to be her own—even if it means being more exposed than ever before.

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Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

COMING SOON ON MINI PIN-IT REVIEWS: Four Books That Fall Into My “Random” Category

A Change In The Schedule – Real Book Month – July 2015

Published July 3, 2015 by bibliobeth

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My “real book” month feature wouldn’t usually be rolling out until August but I’ve brought it forward a month in gleeful anticipation of the holiday I am taking with Chrissi Reads in August where we have decided to read nothing but Kindle books – a huge space saver (and relief to my luggage handlers at the airport) that I don’t have to drag real books round with me. I wouldn’t miss out on a month of real books for the world though so I decided to have it in July, and here’s what I’ll be reading this month:

A Want Of Kindness: A Novel Of Queen Anne – Joanne Limberg

Among Others – Jo Walton

Chinese Whispers – Ben Chu

The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials #2) – Philip Pullman

Tampa – Alissa Nutting

Gut: The Inside Story Of Our Body’s Most Under-Rated Organ – Giulia Enders

Everbound (Everneath #2) – Brodi Ashton

Holy Cow: A Modern Day Dairy-Tale – David Duchovny

How To Be A Good Wife – Emma Chapman

A Place Called Winter – Patrick Gale

Something Real (Something Real #1) – Heather Demetrios

I’m almost hopping with excitement over all of these books, can’t wait to get started! Reviews may be slightly later then expected due to my review backlog…