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review 2018-10-10 03:19
A gripping thriller featuring a uniquely disqualified hero
Dead Blind - Rebecca Bradley

There are two gripping stories in this novel -- the primary one isn't the crime story (odd for a work of crime fiction), but it is the better executed of the two. Which isn't a slight to the secondary story, at least not intentionally.


Let's start with the crime -- DI Ray Patrick and his team are investigating an international organ smuggling ring. Every time I've run into this kind of story -- in print or on TV -- it has always been effective. Something about the idea of harvesting organs from people (who may or may not survive the process for at least awhile) to transplant into people who may or may not survive (given the less than ideal facilities for such activities) has always disturbed me. Then when my son was diagnosed with renal failure and we were told he'd need a kidney transplant, these kind of stories became more nightmarish for me. So yeah, basically, this was right up my alley.


Thankfully, he'd received his kidney a couple of weeks before I read this one, so it didn't end up costing me sleep. Incidentally, the facts and figures about transplants, the need for them and the lack of donors, etc. all lined up with everything we'd been told. Yes, there are differences in protocols between the two medical systems, but on the whole, what Patrick and the rest learned matched what I'd learned. When it comes to thins kind of thing in novels, I'm always wondering how much the author fudged and how much came from research -- I'm happy to say that Bradley got this right.


So this story -- from how the ring operates to how Patrick and the rest investigate is very satisfying.


Which leaves the primary story. Patrick comes back to work from a nasty automobile accident, mostly recovered from his physical injuries. But that's not the only injury he sustained. Patrick now is dealing with prosopagnosia, aka "face blindness." Through some clever guesswork, and a whole lot of luck, he's never revealed it to anyone other than his ex-wife (so she can help him with his kids). Now back at work, Patrick is attempting to hoodwink everyone into thinking he's okay, because he doesn't want to risk not losing his job.


On the one hand you want to see him pull off his silly scheme, on the other, you want to see him be the man of integrity everyone thinks he is and be honest with his colleagues and friends. Especially when Patrick's inability to discern or remember faces jeopardizes the investigation.


Watching Patrick try to remember people via other means while trying to lead an investigation, and deal with the ramifications of the disorder in his personal life gives the book its emotional weight. And it delivers that in spades.


Patrick's team is full of some pretty well-drawn characters, which also applies for the other people in his life -- grounding the more outlandish flavorings of the other stories. I enjoyed the read and found it gripping -- looking forward to seeing more from Bradley.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/10/09/dead-blind-by-rebecca-bradley-a-gripping-thriller-featuring-a-uniquely-disqualified-hero
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text 2018-10-02 16:56
Further Into The Reveal [Unwrapped Blind Date!]

Some of you might have seen in previous posts me talking about a "Blind Date With A Book," and a video showing me unwrapping them. In this post, I will post pictures and more details about the banned books! Some I might have talked about before, some might also prove hard to find reasons it was banned.



Here is the group photo. Were you surprised by any of them? I am not surprised they all turned out to be classics or that several were school read in my time (probably still school reads today?)



 Of Mice and Men

Two migrant field workers in California on their plantation during the Great Depression—George Milton, an intelligent but uneducated man, and Lennie Small, a bulky, strong man but mentally disabled—are in Soledad on their way to another part of California.


Banned or Challenged:

1953 - Banned in Ireland

1974 - Indiana - Banned in Syracuse


Pennsylvania - Banned in Oil City

South Carolina - Challenged in Greenville by the Fourth Province of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan

1979 - Michigan - Challenged but retained in Grand Blanc schools after being called "vulgar and blasphemous"


New York - Challenged in Vernon-Verona-Sherill School District

Ohio - Challenged in Continental

1981 - Arizona - Challenged in Saint David

1982 - Indiana - Challenged in Tell City for "profanity and using God's name in vain"

1983 - Alabama - Banned from classroom use at Scottsboro Skyline HIgh School for profanity

1984 - Tennessee - The Knoxville School Board chairman vowed to have "filthy books" removed from Knoxville's public schools and picked this book as the first target for it's profanity

1987 - Kentucky - Reinstated at the Christian County school libraries and English classes after being challenged for being vulgar and offensive


Illinois - Challenged at the Wheaton-Warrenville Middle school

Michigan - Challenged at the Barrien Springs High School for profanity

West Virginia - Challenged in the Marion County schools


The rest of the reasons can be found here

(spoiler show)


The Red Pony

The Red Pony is divided into four stories. Each story centers on a boy named Jody; the four together show him in a critical time of his childhood. In the first story, Jody is ten years old.


Banned or Challenged:

I had trouble finding out why other than what the paper says in the picture.



 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

On its surface, Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a straightforward story about a boy and a runaway slave floating down the Mississippi River. But underneath, the book—which was published in the U.S. on February 18, 1885—is a subversive confrontation of slavery and racism.


Banned or Challenged:

1885 - Massachusetts - Banned in Concord as "trash and suitable only for the slums."

1905 - New York - Excluded from the Brooklyn Public Library's children's colleciton because "Huck not only itched but scratched, and that he said sweat when he should have said perspiration."

1930 - Confiscated at the USSR border

1957 - New York - Dropped from New York City list of books recommended for senior and junior high schools partly for use of racial language

1969 - Florida - Removed from Miami-Dade Junior College required reading because it "creates an emotional block for black students that inhibits learning."

1976 - Illinois - Challenged for racism at the New Trier High School at Winnetka

1981 - Pennsylvania - Challenged for racism at the Tamament Junior High in Warrington.


The rest of the reasons can be found here

(spoiler show)


The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

An imaginative and mischievous boy named Tom Sawyer lives with his Aunt Polly and his half-brother, Sid, in the Mississippi River town of St. Petersburg, Missouri. After playing hooky from school on Friday and dirtying his clothes in a fight, Tom is made to whitewash the fence as punishment on Saturday.


Banned or Challenged:

I had trouble finding more reasons, but it is probably clear that the reasons are similar to Huck Finn.



The Canterbury Tales

At the Tabard Inn, a tavern in Southwark, near London, the narrator joins a company of twenty-nine pilgrims. The pilgrims, like the narrator, are traveling to the shrine of the martyr Saint Thomas Becket in Canterbury. The narrator gives a descriptive account of twenty-seven of these pilgrims, including a Knight, Squire, Yeoman, Prioress, Monk, Friar, Merchant, Clerk, Man of Law, Franklin, Haberdasher, Carpenter, Weaver, Dyer, Tapestry-Weaver, Cook, Shipman, Physician, Wife, Parson, Plowman, Miller, Manciple, Reeve, Summoner, Pardoner, and Host.


Banned or Challenged:

I couldn't find much info other than language, sexual innuendo, critical of powerful constituencies (the church)


Gulliver's Travels

Gulliver's Travels Summary. Gulliver embarks on four separate voyages in Gulliver's Travels. There is a storm before every journey. All the four voyages add new perspectives to Gulliver's life and also give him new opportunities for satirizing the ways of England.


Banned or Challenged:



A hard one to find a good source. Here is what I could dig up. "Gulliver's Travels" is a famous satirical novel by Jonathan Swift, but the work has also been banned for the displays of madness, the public urination, and other controversial topics. Here, we are transported to through the dystopian experiences of Lemuel Gulliver, as he sees giants, talking horses, cities in the sky, and much more. The book was originally censored because of the politically sensitive references Swift makes in his novel. "Gulliver's Travels" was also banned in Ireland for being "wicked and obscene." William Makepeace Thackeray said of the book that it was "horrible, shameful, blasphemous, filthy in word, filthy in thought."



(spoiler show)





 Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night, or What You Will is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written around 1601–1602 as a Twelfth Night's entertainment for the close of the Christmas season. The play centres on the twins Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck.


Banned or Challenged:


Many of Shakespeare’s plays have fallen under suspicion, but in 1996, a school in New Hampshire removed this comedy because of the cross-dressing and the allusion to same-sex romance (which actually doesn’t happen in the narrative) — which they saw as breaking the school’s rule on “prohibition of alternative lifestyle instruction.”

(spoiler show)



Le Morte d' Arthur

Le Morte d'Arthur is the tale of King Arthur. It begins with the formation of the Knights of the Round Table and follows the rise of King Arthur and his tragic fall. The story begins with Uther Pendragon, the King of England who lusts after Igraine, who happens to be the wife of the Duke of Tintagil.


Banned or Challenged:

I had a hard time finding more reasons other than what the paper in the photo says.



The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye is set around the 1950s and is narrated by a young man named Holden Caulfield. Holden is not specific about his location while he's telling the story, but he makes it clear that he is undergoing treatment in a mental hospital or sanatorium.


Banned or Challenged:



1960 - Oklahoma - Teacher was fired in Tulsa from an 11th grade English position for assigning the book. Teacher appealed and was reinstated but the book was removed from the school


1963 - Ohio - Columbus parents asked the school board to ban the novel for being "anti-white" and "obscene." The school board refused.


1975 - Pennsylvania - Removed from reading list after parents complained about the language and content. The book was reinstated after the school board vote, orginally 5-4, was deemed illegal as they required a two-thirds vote in favor to remove a text.


1977 - New Jersey - Challenged and the board ruled the book could be read in an advanced placement class with parental permission.


1978 - Washington - Issaquah school removed it from their optional reading list


1979 - Michigan - Removed from the required reading list at Middleville.


1980 - Ohio - Removed from Jackson Milton school libraries in North Jackson




Alabama - Removed from Anniston High School libraries and later reinstated


Manitoba, Canada - Removed from school libraries in Morris along with two other books as they violate committee's guidelines covering "excess vulgar language, sexual scenes, things  concerning moral issues, excessive violence, and anything dealing with the occult."




The rest of the reasons can be found here

(spoiler show)



 To Kill A Mockingbird

Scout Finch lives with her brother, Jem, and her father, Atticus, in Maycomb, Alabama, during the Great Depression. Scout spends her summers playing with Jem and their friend Dill, who visits his aunt in Maycomb each summer. The children become obsessed with Boo Radley, the reclusive neighbor rumored to have stabbed his own father in the leg with a pair of scissors.


Banned or Challenged:



After a mother complained to the superintendent that her son was uncomfortable with the N-word, the novel was removed from the 8th-grade curriculum at Biloxi (MS) Public Schools in the middle of teaching it, without following policy. After national outcry, the book is available to be taught as an optional assignments with the written permission of a parent. At Hamilton (AZ) High School, parents expressed concern over a school assignment addressing the use of the N-word in the classic novel.



Retained in the Accomack County (VA) Public Schools. A parent objected to racial slurs in the book. After being temporarily removed on Nov. 29, 2016, the book was reinstated on Dec. 6 by the school board.



Banned or challenged for offensive language and racism.



Removed from the St. Edmund Campion Secondary School classrooms in Brampton (Ontario, Canada) because a parent objected to language used in the novel, including the N-word.


The rest of the reasons can be found here.

(spoiler show)
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video 2018-10-01 19:37

The Reveal! Please excuse how awkward I am! Also I had some technical diffuculties at the end, so I am sorry that the video cuts off.

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text 2018-10-01 14:25
Blind Date With A Book, Banned Style!

My local store is really stepping it up with their banned book section.


Today when I went in they had a bunch of wrapped banned books. I know it is a gamble to take a book only based on why it was banned, but I couldn't resist. I like the mystery behind "Blind Date With A Book." I bought most of their wrapped books. Oops.


There is a chance I own some of these. The reason for banning sounds familar. If I do own them, I will find them a good home. Stay tuned for a video of me upwrapping these!


Please put your guesses below!









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review 2018-08-01 09:26
Durch die Augen einer blinden Frau
The Broken Kingdoms - N.K. Jemisin

N.K. Jemisin verdankt ihre Karriere als erfolgreiche Schriftstellerin zum Teil ihrem Vater. Als sie 30 wurde, durchlebte sie eine Art Midlife-Crisis. Sie entschied, dass sie bestimmte Dinge in ihrem Leben erreichen wollte. Sie wollte herausfinden, ob das Schreiben, bisher ein Hobby, für sie eine Zukunft bereithielt. Unsicher, wie sie beginnen sollte, recherchierte sie und stieß auf den angesehenen jährlichen Schreibworkshop Viable Paradise. Ihr Vater borgte ihr das Geld für Viable Paradise. Glücklicherweise ist Noah Jemisin ein leidenschaftlicher Fan von Science-Fiction und hatte als Künstler durchaus Verständnis für die kreativen Pläne seiner Tochter. Der zweite Band ihrer „Inheritance Trilogy“, „The Broken Kingdoms“, kann als wundervolles Huldigung für ihn interpretiert werden.


Oree Shoth ist eine ungewöhnliche Künstlerin. Im Schatten des Weltenbaumes bietet sie ihre Skulpturen auf dem Markt von Shadow feil, in der Stadt, die 10 Jahre zuvor Sky hieß. Ihre Kunstwerke versetzen die Menschen in Staunen. Niemand traut ihr zu, Schönheit zu erschaffen. Oree ist blind. Ihr Augenlicht ist verloren, doch sie hütet ein delikates Geheimnis: ihr Geist nimmt Magie wahr. Die Magie der Götter und der Gotteskinder. Die Magie ihrer Gemälde. Das strahlende, wunderschöne Leuchten überzeugte sie, ein bedauernswertes Geschöpf aufzunehmen, das sie eines Morgens in der Gosse fand. Den Namen ihres schweigsamen Hausgastes kennt sie nicht, aber sie weiß, er muss ein Gotteskind sein. Oder etwas anderes. Sie nennt ihn Shiny. Gerade jetzt ist sie froh, ihm ein Heim bieten zu können, denn ein Mörder lehrt Shadow das Fürchten. Die Opfer sind Gotteskinder. Wer könnte über die Macht verfügen, ihnen die Herzen aus dem Leib zu reißen? Oree sorgt sich um ihre Freunde. Sie verschwendet keinen Gedanken daran, dass auch sie selbst in Gefahr sein könnte…


„The Broken Kingdoms“ ist ein Kunstwerk in Schrift. Es gleicht einem Gemälde: leidenschaftlich, farbenreich und intensiv. Unwiderstehlich. Verführerisch wie bereits der erste Band „The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms“, aber ausgereifter. Die Weiterentwicklung, die N.K. Jemisin in dieser Fortsetzung zeigt, ist beeindruckend. Ihre sprachliche Ästhetik weckt zielgerichtet künstlerisch anmutende Bilder, die stark von der speziellen Wahrnehmung ihrer Protagonistin geprägt sind. Sie lässt ihre Leser_innen durch die Augen einer blinden Frau sehen, einer Künstlerin, die die Schönheit verschlungener, komplexer Muster zu würdigen weiß. Ich mochte Oree sehr, obwohl ich mich anfangs an die Perspektivverschiebung gewöhnen musste. Im letzten Band stand Yeine im Fokus, in „The Broken Kingdoms“ taucht sie nur am Rande auf. Ich fand jedoch schnell heraus, dass mir Oree leichter ans Herz wuchs. Sie ist nahbarer, greifbarer und bodenständiger, nimmt aktiver an ihrer eigenen Geschichte teil. Da sie nicht aus einem Elfenbeinturm heraus agiert, sondern in den Straßen von Shadow zu Hause ist, zwischen ganz normalen Menschen, ist auch ihre Beziehung zu den Göttern und Gotteskindern nachvollziehbarer. Sie dient als sympathischer Bezugspunkt, um zu verstehen, wie tief die Verbindung zwischen Göttlichen und Sterblichen in Shadow ist. Das ganze Universum ist bis in den kleinsten Winkel von göttlicher Macht durchdrungen, untrennbar vom Irdischen. Ein wunderbares, eindrucksvolles Beispiel für diese organische Wechselwirkung ist der Weltenbaum, den Yeine 10 Jahre zuvor aus der Himmelsfestung Sky wachsen ließ. Die Ausmaße des Baums zwangen die Bevölkerung der Stadt Sky, sich eine Existenz um ihn herum aufzubauen. Sie mussten sich anpassen. Der vergleichsweise große Zeitsprung erlaubte N.K. Jemisin, in Sky authentische, weitreichende Veränderungen umzusetzen. Nicht nur erhielt die Stadt einen inoffiziellen Namen, der dem Schatten des Weltenbaums Tribut zollt, zwischen seinen Wurzeln entstanden ganz neue Viertel. Die Erlösung von Itempas zog eine revolutionäre Glaubensfreiheit nach sich, die die Menschen mit Freuden nutzen, seit die Gotteskinder zurückkehrten. Nichtsdestotrotz ist Orees Verhältnis zu den Gotteskindern selbst innerhalb dieser Atmosphäre religiöser Offenheit außergewöhnlich und ihre Vertrautheit mit ihrem Hausgast Shiny ist es erst recht. Ihre erblühende Freundschaft ist meiner Ansicht nach der Kern von „The Broken Kingdoms“. Shiny ähnelt Prometheus: ein Gott, der seiner Bestrafung nicht entkommen kann. Er leidet. Er empfindet Schmerz. Er kann nicht sterben. Doch Oree überwindet sein Leid. Sie lehrt ihn Demut, Mitgefühl und Selbstlosigkeit. Sie taut seine eisige Distanz zum Leben, weckt in ihm Emotionen, die er lange, lange Zeit erfolgreich verdrängte und erinnert ihn daran, wer er einst war. Sie hingegen lernt durch ihn, wie sehr die menschliche Vorstellung der Götter von sterblichen Sehnsüchten und Bedürfnissen bestimmt ist. Sie sind zwei Seiten derselben Münze. Anhand ihrer Beziehung illustriert N.K. Jemisin subtil, dass das Machtgefüge zwischen Göttern und Sterblichen keineswegs eindeutig ist. Omnipotenz ist keine Einbahnstraße.


N.K. Jemisin beweist in „The Broken Kingdoms“, dass eine Geschichte nicht nur packend, sondern auch ästhetisch ansprechend sein kann. Es gefällt mir, wie sie die High Fantasy interpretiert, die mittlerweile ja gern mit Kraftausdrücken und Brutalität um sich wirft. Der Wert sprachlicher Eleganz und eines reichen, üppigen Schreibstils sollte nicht unterschätzt werden. Jemisin malt ein Bild mit Worten, eine filigrane Szenerie, die von Macht, Pein und Liebe handelt. Ich bewundere, wie anmutig sie philosophische Themen verarbeitet, ohne ihre Leser_innen zu verlieren. Literatur ist eine einzigartige Kunstform, weil sie alle unsere Sinne auf einmal anzusprechen vermag. Was wir lesen, stellen wir uns vor. Ich glaube, N.K. Jemisin ist sich dieser Magie bewusst und spielt mit ihren Grenzen. Deshalb ist „The Broken Kingdoms“ ein Kunstwerk: es ist ein Fest für alle Sinne.

Source: wortmagieblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/31/n-k-jemisin-the-broken-kingdoms
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