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review 2018-10-08 10:26
The Cask of Amontillado
The Cask of Amontillado - Edgar Allan Poe

by Edgar Allen Poe

 

This story is classic Poe and fairly well known, but I'll try to avoid spoilers anyway. It's about a man who has endured constant insults by a man named Fortunado. The Horror aspect is the coldness within which he plans a premeditated murder out of revenge.

 

The two men are ostensibly friends and Fortunado is invited to enjoy a special wine, Amontillado, secretly in the dark cellar that serves as both wine cellar and catacomb. What could go wrong?

 

In a way I was disappointed by the lack of emotion put into the latter part of the story. I knew it from a song written by the Alan Parsons Project by the same title. If you're read the story but not heard the song, I strongly recommend going to YouTube to have a listen. It captured the despair of the victim in a haunting manner that was actually missing from the written story.

 

There is no supernatural aspect to this particular Poe story. It is pure human cruelty to his own species. If torture and torment are your thing, Poe can always be trusted to deliver.

 

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text 2018-10-07 14:53
Replacement
The Cask of Amontillado - Edgar Allan Poe

Ok, I'm being cheeky here. But with no Bingos and 4 non-Bingo Netgalley books to read I'm drowning! For Classic Horror I'm trading in over 400 pages for this, 21 pages.

 

Aren't I a stinker? ;)

 

One of these days I'll read The Monk.

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text 2018-10-06 19:55
Detection Club Bingo: My Progress So Far
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books - Martin Edwards
The Golden Age of Murder - Martin Edwards
The Hollow Man - John Dickson Carr
Poison In The Pen - Patricia Wentworth
File on Fenton & Farr - Q. Patrick
Mystery in the Channel (British Library Crime Classics) - Freeman Wills Crofts
The Wychford Poisoning Case - Anthony Berkeley
Penhallow - Georgette Heyer
Murder Underground - Mavis Doriel Hay
Murder at the Vicarage - Agatha Christie

 

First five bingos (bottom row, second column from right, center column, diagonal top left to bottom right, and 4 corners + central square) -- plus two more in the making (top row and diagonal top right to bottom left).  Not that it greatly matters, but still. :D  Progress!

 

The Squares / Chapters:

1. A New Era Dawns: Ernest Bramah - The Tales of Max Carrados;

Emmuska Orczy - The Old Man in the Corner

2. The Birth of the Golden Age: A.A. Milne - The Red House Mystery
3. The Great Detectives:
Margery Allingham - The Crime at Black Dudley, Mystery Mile, Look to the Lady, Police at the Funeral, Sweet Danger, Death of a Ghost, Flowers for the Judge, The Case of the Late Pig, Dancers in Mourning, The Fashion in Shrouds, Traitor's Purse, and The Tiger in the Smoke;

Anthony Berkeley - The Poisoned Chocolates Case

Patricia Wentworth - Miss Silver Intervenes, Latter End, The Watersplash, and The Traveller Returns;

Agatha Christie - Murder at the Vicarage (reread)

4. 'Play Up! Play Up! and Play the Game!': Freeman Wills Crofts - The Hog's Back Mystery;

Dennis Wheatley and J.G. Links - Murder off Miami

5. Miraculous Murders: Anthony Wynne - Murder of a Lady;

John Dickson Carr - The Hollow Man

6. Serpents in Eden: Agatha Christie - The Moving Finger (reread);

John Bude - The Lake District Murder;

Patricia Wentworth - Poison in the Pen

7. Murder at the Manor: Mavis Doriel Hay - The Santa Klaus Murder;

Ethel Lina White - The Spiral Staircase (aka Some Must Watch);

Georgette Heyer - Penhallow

8. Capital Crimes: Mavis Doriel Hay - Murder Underground

9. Resorting to Murder
10. Making Fun of Murder:
Edmund Crispin - The Moving Toyshop;

Alan Melville - Quick Curtain

11. Education, Education, Education: Mavis Doriel Hay - Death on the Cherwell
12. Playing Politics
13. Scientific Enquiries:
Christopher St. John Sprigg - Death of an Airman;

Freeman Wills Crofts - Mystery in the Channel

14. The Long Arm of the Law: Henry Wade - Lonely Magdalen
15. The Justice Game
16. Multiplying Murders
17. The Psychology of Crime
18. Inverted Mysteries:
Anne Meredith - Portrait of a Murderer

19. The Ironists: Anthony Rolls - Family Matters;

Anthony Berkeley - The Wychford Poisoning Case

20. Fiction from Fact: Josephine Tey - The Franchise Affair

21. Singletons
22. Across the Atlantic: Patricia Highsmith - The Talented Mr. Ripley (reread);

Q. Patrick (Richard Wilson Webb and Hugh Wheeler) - File on Fenton and Farr;

Mary Roberts Rinehart - Locked Doors

23. Cosmopolitan Crimes: Georges Simenon - Pietr le Letton (Pietr the Latvian)
24. The Way Ahead

 

Free Square / Eric the Skull: Martin Edwards - The Golden Age of Murder

 

The book that started it all:

Martin Edwards - The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books

 

The Detection Club Reading Lists:
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: The "100 Books" Presented
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 1-5

The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 6 & 7
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 8-10
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 11-15
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 16-20
The story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 21-24

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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

1977

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"

1980

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

1988

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."

 

Source

(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

 

1982

 

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:

 

 
2018

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.

 

2017

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.

 

2012

Banned or challenged for offensive language and racism.

 

2010

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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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-09-23 13:18
The End of Narcissus
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde,Camille Cauti

I have never read this one before now. I knew the bare bones of the story due to my high school English class having excerpts of the story. I guess I never wanted to read about a murdering guy who was too beautiful to live. Though I found parts of the story compelling, I found myself getting bored here and there. Probably because we would go some chapters and just read about what Dorian was up to. The book was much better when there was dialogue between characters. I also don't even get why Dorian killed Basil besides him just becoming unhinged. And him demanding another former friend help him just seemed stupid. So for most of the book I was waiting for him to get caught. Wilde ends things on an ironic note with how Dorian eventually ends up dying. 

 

"Dorian Gray" has the title character not coming into the story right away. Instead he is a discussion between Basil Hallward (who is a painter) and Lord Henry. Basil has become obsessed with painting someone and goes on about how perfectly beautiful he is. Basil doesn't want Lord Henry to meet Dorian since he foreshadows that somehow Lord Henry will ruin him. So before we even meet Dorian, we have two men battling over his soul. Lord Henry of course wants to meet Dorian since he likes beautiful people as long as they are not boring. 

When Dorian comes across Lord Henry he is flattered as his attention and almost instantly wishes to be more like him. While sitting for the painting Dorian wishes that he can stay young and beautiful before and that somehow the painting off him will age instead. Dorian is brought down by listening to Lord Henry and his long butt dialogues about what really matters in this world is enjoying everything though it may be wrong.

 

We fast forward a bit to Dorian being happy and telling Basil and Lord Henry that he met the woman he is going to marry. The woman is named Sibyl and she's an actress. It seemed at first that maybe Dorian could be good and lose Lord Henry's influence, but unfortunately things get really bad when Dorian takes his friends to see Sibyl and her acting as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet is awful. I mean you want to throw pies at her awful. Due to Dorian hating imperfect things he is quite ready to throw Sibyl away. Dorian doesn't feel bad about the way he has treated her until he comes upon the painting and sees that his mouth has now turned cruel. Wanting to make sure that his soul stays pure, Dorian decides he will stand by and still marry Sibyl, too bad he finds out that she killed herself over his rejection of her. From there the book just follows Dorian as he sets about ruining himself and others over 18 years. 

 

I did find myself getting quite bored at times. And weirdly enough I did agree with Dorian when he rejected Basil when he came to tell him that his reputation was being ruined in London. Dorian called his accusers hypocrites for doing the same things as he was, he was just not hiding it. Also I wonder at these men and women who let themselves be seduced by him. It sees as if only Basil and Lord Henry didn't sit around and do what Dorian wanted.


The book goes into a free fall after Basil is murdered with Dorian getting more scared that he will be found out and then scared that Sibyl's brother who has been hunting him for years will find him and kill him. 

 

In the end, Dorian dies after plunging a knife into the painting that he blames for all of his troubles. He is found by his servants and they are shocked at finding an old man in their master's chambers. Wilde heavily implies that no one will miss Dorian besides his servants. 

 

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