Friday, September 30, 2011

Library Challenges Across The Nation [fREADom!] [You're The Expert]

I thought this was mighty interesting - seeing a visual representation of documented challenges to library content across the country.  It makes me cringe.  But at the same time, reading that "Nicholas Allan's Where Willy Went was challenged at the Chandler[Arizona] Public Library... Parents requested that the book be moved to a restricted area because Willy is a sperm and the book is about sex." doesn't really surprise me, or make me angry. And I doubt it'll surprise many of you.  How and when one's child learns about sex is just as important of a parenting freedom as making sure that views of the few don't impact the access to information of many, and requesting that it be moved to a restricted section is not the same as asking it to be removed from the library entirely... or is it?  You tell me.

"This map is drawn from cases documented by ALA and the Kids' Right to Read Project, a collaboration of the National Coalition Against Censorship and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression."

View Book Bans and Challenges, 2007-2011 in a larger map

[via Shelf Awareness]

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Banned Spotlight: 1984 by George Orwell [fREADom!]

I think even though we're 27 years out from 1984, its social commentary is still extremely relevant.  Probably more so than ever.  And it's a cautionary tale that we as citizens of the world must pay heed to if we want to retain the freedoms we've fought for.  And it beautifully illustrates the anathema of censorship.

"Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime is death." --Chapter 2, Part I

"Sanity is not statistical." --Chapter 9, Part I

"The object of waging a war is always to be in a better position in which to wage another war." --Chapter 9, Part II

"The book fascinated him, or more exactly it reassured him. In a sense it told him nothing that was new, but that was part of the attraction. It said what he would have said, if it had been possible for him to set his scattered thoughts in order. It was the product of a mind similar to his own, but enormously more powerful, more systematic, less fear-ridden. The best books, he perceived, are those that tell you what you know already." --Chapter 9, Part II

"To die hating them, that was freedom." --Chapter 4, Part III

If you haven't read 1984, no matter your age, give it a chance.  You can read it online if you want to.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

fREADom! Welcome To Banned Books Week

Well, I had planned to vlog.  But my voice?  It's raspy and coughy, and I can't get out a single sentence that you can understand.   So instead, until I get a clear voice again, I'll be highlighting a banned book Sunday through Thursday of Banned Books Week.   Vlogs are TBD.

Banned Books Week is a celebration of rebellion against censorship.  Why is censorship bad?  Because someone else decides what is okay for you and what is not okay for you to put into your brain.  It's the worst kind of control.  Thought control.  Thought Police.  And guess what?  1984?  Yeah, Orwell's classic is on most banned books lists.

Which is why it's the first book I'll highlight.  Tomorrow.  Today, just take a look at this video put together by Thomas University highlighting the most challenged books thusfar in 2011.  You'll probably be surprised by some of the bestselling titles on the list.

Banned Books Week runs from 9/24 to 10/1.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ode To A Bookstore Death [You're The Expert]

There were a lot of awesome comments over on the original place I saw this posted, GalleyCat.  But the one that I connected with the most was the one that said, "Possibly why bookstores went out of fashion. Amazon, for all its faults, doesn't sneer at you for the choices you make."  They've gone kinda nuts since I first saw this post.

My own experience at checkout on the night before Borders closed here in Mesa was not a positive one.  The associate went on and on about all of the benefits he had lost since he had first started working there, all of the pay cuts he had taken, and all of the increased rules, procedures, and penalties he'd assumed.  It didn't sound like a great place to work for the last 18 months.  Borders employees were bitter, to say the least.

But since I couldn't stop thinking about this post, I had to get your take.  I mean, personally?  When I walk into a bookstore and tell them I'm looking for a book, I am looking.  Asking for help is merely a tool to help me on that mission.  Just 'cause I ask for help doesn't mean I haven't scoured the shelves of four other bookstores, yo.  Sorry to have made you do your job!  But, Nicholas "There are no authors in my genre" Sparks?  I say ditto.  Facts are facts.

So what I want to know, is what you think about the points that this associate obviously thought brought down the store and its employees.  Do you think that people using SAT books then returning them is wrong?  Ethical?  Does it matter if you do your summer reading three days before the end of summer or forty-five days before the end of summer?  How do you define looking for a book?  What's your take on good ol' Nicky Sparks?

For those of you not familiar with You're The Expert here at I Heart Monster, it's a type of post where we share some information with you, then ask you what you think about that information.  We encourage you to leave your opinion or answers in the comments section, and even write your own post as an answer if you are so inclined.  See, we're all different, and we all have different experiences, and that's part of what makes the blogosphere such a fun place - we're all experts about what we think and how we feel and our particular view on the world.  This is just a forum for you to share those with the rest of us.  If you do write a post, we'd love it if you share the link with us.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Calling All Phoenix-Area Zombies [Local]

Have you always wanted to dress up like a zombie and be part of a movie? I know you have. And if you're in the Phoenix area (or want to drive from further away) this Saturday, you'll get your chance. Jim Politano and Pete Ghandour are looking for your help. They need a zombie hoard! They're filming a movie on the Gila River Reservation and will be meeting at Albertsons on Riggs & Gilbert.

 You should be dressed and ready to leave at 10:30am sharp. If you participate, you'll be invited to attend a screening at the Phoenix Art Museum as part of the zombie mob. How cool is that?

 If you're interested, more details are below. And for some added fun, I've included footage from this year's Zombie Walk at Phoenix Comicon.

 Arrrhah *gurgle* aahhharehahh *gurgle* Start practicing!

Zombie Movie Filming 

Where: Meeting @ Albertsons Riggs and Gibert Rd in Chandler (dressed and ready) Filming @ Gila River Reservation (15 minutes south of Albertsons) Group will be escorted and supervised by a Gila River Representative (We will carpool / caravan).

 When: We will LEAVE Albertsons at 10:30am (sharp) on Saturday September 24th. (We will be done by Noon)

Note: Participants will be unpaid volunteers at their own risk. Zombies must be able and willing to simulate being shot and collapsing on rugged desert terrain. Some zombies (based on appearance) will be offered the opportunity to shoot some closeup / green screen shots.

Film Info: The movie will be screened at the Phoenix Art Museum upon completion. Participating Zombies will receive an email with screening time and date. We will be attending the screening as a zombie mob. Music& food are provided at the screening. Drinks will be available for purchase. The Film will also be shown at a number of Regional Film Festivals. Come help us out and see yourself on the big screen!

Please contact film maker Jim Politano ( to confirm or with questions.


Everlasting by Angie Frazier [Book Inspection] [YA]

Plot Sketch: Camille is a sailor's daughter. Her father has always been in the shipping business and she has always accompanied him on his voyages. He protected her from sea tales and superstitions and kept her in comfort when they were on land. She never wanted for fashionable shoes or anything she wanted at all, really. And then, her father arranged a marriage for her to Randall Jackson. She wanted to love the handsome, rich, and intelligent man, she really did. But she never felt that fire. Unless Oscar Kildare, the first mate on her dad's ship was the one close to her. But that was improper and scandalous. She couldn't even consider it. So, setting out on one last voyage before she marries Randall, she ends up on an adventure, to find Umandu, a mother she thought she had lost when she was born, and true love.

Verdict: I loved the story. I thought it was fun and flirty and held a lot of suspense without being scary. BUT, I also found a lot of the happenings extremely convenient. Like how she runs into Samuel, and how they just so happen to find shelter any time they need it. But, that's nothing when you have a hard time not thinking about the story while you're away from the book, right? The writing was good. The characters were well-researched and well-plotted. The plot was swift, which we all know keeps me happy. The cover though. The cover does not accurately portray the story. Not one bit. So, please please please, don't judge it by its cover.

Location: San Francisco and Australia
Favorite Character: Oscar. Oh. My. Gosh. Oscar. Hands down. What's not to love about a sexy first mate who saves lives left and right? *swoon*
Would Change: some of the more convenient and contrived plot points as referenced in the Verdict.
Favorite Line: "This time, I must have needed to row to you." pg. 321, hardcover
Good for Monster? Nope. Too romancey for his tastes.
People Who Will Like This: pirates and their wenches, tomboys, hikers, and people who appreciate a strong female lead
People Who Won't Like This: straight up adventure fans who don't like their girls to think too much, girly girls who sit in townhouses and attend balls, Navy Wives.
Chapters: 24
Author's Website:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Please Read (if at all possible): The Girl Project by Kate Engelbrecht [Nonfiction Inspection]

Title: Please Read (if at all possible)
Author: Kate Engelbrecht
Topic: Girl Power
Format: Softcover

Precis: One hundred and sixty-four teenaged girls are credited as contributing to this book.  They took pictures of their lives with disposable cameras and filled out a thirteen-question survey about what it's like to be them.  The pictures and surveys are reproduced here in this anthology, literally illustrating what it's like to be a teenaged girl in 2011.  (The surveys were due January 31st)  You'll find pictures of girls, of flowers, of stuffed animals, and of boys.  You'll find copies of their answers to those thirteen questions, a poem, and entire surveys reproduced so that you can see the girls.  You never see a name with a picture or a name with a survey.

Verdict:  As someone who spends at least ten hours a week mentoring teenage girls, I found this empowering.  This was important work.  Not only does it prove that teens know more than society gives them credit for, but it proves that they do not enter adulthood jaded with broken spirits.  We do that to them. 

It highlights their strengths, their insecurities, their fears and the things they're proud of.  It made me cry.  There is one particular set of photos in the book, one on the left where a girl is pinching her stomach, showing her extra skin.  On the right, there is a girl, the same size as the girl on the left, who is showing the same amount of stomach, who has written "I Love My Body," on it.  It was the most powerful part of the whole experience for me.
This book is important for teens and adults alike.  Adults, so you can see where teens stand, and teens, so that you can know that you are not alone.  No matter what you're experiencing, as a parent, as a teenager, you are not alone.  There is someone else out there that sees the world similarly to you and you will find strength in knowing that there are dreams, fears, and goals the same as yours.  No matter your age. This is a book to be turned and flipped.  It's changing orientations done on purpose to illustrate a shift in point of view and paradigm.  This is poignant.  This is powerful.  This is girl power at its apex.  Put it on your to-acquire list.  I promise you won't be sorry.

Pub Date: August 30, 2011
Format: Trade Paperback
Publisher: Universe
ISBN: 978-0-7893-2260-9

Order It:
Book Depo
Changing Hands

Saturday, September 17, 2011

This Might Pinterest You - Spetember 16, '11 [Pinteresting]

My favorites from my Bookish board at Pinterest for the work week ending 9/16/11:

Instructions on how to make your own Pallet Bookshelves.  Holy upcycle, batman!

I'm positively in love with these bookends.  If anyone knows where I can buy them, please let me know.  I'm bordering desperate.

Dr. Seuss bookish treats.  Great for a kid party.,. or an adult one too!  

Loving this necklace.  Added it to my Xmas list.  And the etsy seller has a whole inventory of fun bookish necklaces.  Check it out!

And to finish up, here's a fun recipe for Harry Potter Butterbeer!  

As always, if you want to link up a Pinteresting post of your own, please feel free to do so!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead [Just Not For Me]

Title:  Bloodlines
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill
Total Pages: 432
Pages Read: 50

Why I stopped:  Here's the thing.  If you read the Vampire Academy novels, you'll probably like this one.  I just felt so behind the whole time I was reading.  I don't know the setting well enough to just dive right in.  I understand that the author couldn't cram a whole series of knowledge into the first fifty pages of a book, but I needed to be less bombarded with details of the world, and needed to understand the characters better.   Bloodlines is definitely a spin-off of Vampire Academy - on the Alchemist vein.   I just read fifty pages and had no idea what an Alchemist really did.  I had no idea why Sydney Sage wanted to keep her sister away from the life, only that she wanted to desperately.  And I couldn't help but feel that if I had read the Vampire Academy books, I wouldn't feel like I was struggling to keep up.  There was too much history for me to just dive right in.  I kept using Monster as a reference tool, asking him to explain stuff, and that got annoying.

What I did like:  It was an interesting and intriguing concept. The characters and their relationships seemed really complex and well-developed.  I liked the conflict that arose from Sydney not being able to say goodbye to her mother.  I liked that she was so protective of her sister, and eager to redeem herself for past actions (which I didn't read far enough to understand what she did).  I liked the prose, and the concise language.

Would I reccommend?  Only if you've read Vampire Academy.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Farewell Borders [Letter]

Dear Borders,

Farewell, friend.  I much preferred you to Barnes & Noble.  You were a great bookish friend.  I pre-ordered Harry Potters from you and spent hours, check that, probably the equivalent of weeks of my life, browsing your shelves.  I stood in line for great books, found fantastic deals, bought birthday cards and countless birthday and Christmas gifts from you dating back to the first Christmas I actually made my own money to buy gifts for those I love.

I have been saddened to see you liquidate your shelves.  The bareness of the store today brought to light a harsh reality about the business of tangible books. 

But honestly?  I was less saddened when I heard from the employees at checkout about how you've treated them and cheated them of late.  Regardless, we've had great times together, and your presence will be missed.  Mostly because I was foolish and invested in Rewards Plus in January and now don't get to reap the rewards for my entire year.  Isn't that a breach of contract or something?  I mean, I paid in advance for twelve months.  I wonder if I can dispute that purchase.

I meant for this to be a farewell letter, a pleasant one, really.  But the more I think about it, and the longer I write, the more I see you not only cheated your employees (I mean who takes away 401ks?),  you cheated me.  Harumph.  

To that epiphany, I must admit, I kinda don't feel bad about the $171 worth of books I got for $29.09.  I feel like my investment was a little returned.  Oh.  No.  Wait.  I would have gotten that deal with or without Rewards Plus.  Lame.

Farewell, Borders.  

I Heart Monster

Borders closes tomorrow. For good. Go take some books or furnishings off of their hands, and help them pay back at least some percentage of what they owe the publishers.

Friday, September 9, 2011

This Might Pinterest You - Spetember 9, '11 [Pinteresting]

My favorites from my Bookish board at Pinterest for the work week ending 9/9/11:

The holidays are coming!  Make a fun, leafy fallish wreath out of an unloved, rescued, or battered book.

I loved this bookish ring, by Jeanine Payer, with the Whitman verse,  "I am the poet of the body, And I am the poet of the soul."

You know, I'm already married to Monster and all, and I'm not wanting a second wedding, ever, but how fun would it be to do a Pride & Prejudice themed weddding?  While Pinteresting, I found this post over at Style Me Pretty that I fell in love with.  Make sure you click the "full gallery of gorgeous".  My head is already churning with fun ideas for a P&P tea party.

... a new kind of British Invasion, for sure.  Sad, but too often true!

And, the quotes of the week:

Find anything fun yourself?  Link up here:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Is Texting Poetry? [You're The Expert]

"The poem is a form of texting ... it's the original text.  It's a perfecting of a feeling in language – it's a way of saying more with less, just as texting is. We've got to realise that the Facebook generation is the future – and, oddly enough, poetry is the perfect form for them. It's a kind of time capsule – it allows feelings and ideas to travel big distances in a very condensed form." --Carol Ann Duffy, UK Poet Laureate

I've milled this around a little, and thought about it a lot.  I mean, classic poetry is rife with words like "'twas?"  or "ere," and aren't those really just older contractions of  "'s" and "wherevs"?  Duffy's perspective has jarred my disdain for text speak into a more tolerant spectrum.  I'm not gonna lie.  Reading her thoughts on the subject didn't make me immediately tolerant of "ur" (which to me is an ancient Sumerian city) or "gr8" which literally grates my nerves (pun intended).  But, it is helping me not judge those who text me so harshly.

And then I got to thinking about how "IDK," "BTW," "WTF," "OMG," and "BRB" have made the transition from IMing into my every day vocabulary, and I thought, "I'm a total hypocrite."

Really, it takes creativity to come up with ways to condense the words you're trying to say... even if creativity is not the motive behind the effort.  So, I'm resolved to try to look at texting as poetry.  How 'bout you?  Are you willing to entertain the idea?  or are you adamantly against corrupting the language in such a way?  Tell us in the comments section.  'Cause after all, you're the expert on what you think.

For those of you not familiar with You're The Expert here at I Heart Monster, it's a type of post where we share some information with you, then ask you what you think about that information.  We encourage you to leave your opinion or answers in the comments section, and even write your own post as an answer if you are so inclined.  See, we're all different, and we all have different experiences, and that's part of what makes the blogosphere such a fun place - we're all experts about what we think and how we feel and our particular view on the world.  This is just a forum for you to share those with the rest of us.  If you do write a post, we'd love it if you share the link with us.

Friday, September 2, 2011

This Might Pinterest You - September 2, '11 [Pinteresting]

New feature.  I show you bookish things I found on Pinterest during the week and thought worthy of sharing with you!  Did you write a Pinterest post?  If you did, link up at the bottom.  If you didn't, whatcha waiting for?

I especially loved the USA bookshelf.  It's not often that you find something that represents America that isn't kinda lame.  This shelf lets you be patriotic without hanging a flag or screaming "Of thee I sing."

Pottery Barn Teen's Read Books bookends are pretty darned cute, and probably a welcome addition to anyone's library.  I mean, they go with almost any decor, really.  Well, maybe not in pink, but you know what I mean.

Entertainment Weekly's cover featuring The Hunger Games movie. I sincerely hope the movies are better than the books.  They've definitely got potential.  Please screw it up like Jackson screwed up LOTR, please. *fingers crossed*

A dress made from pages of a book and sheet music, which is pretty sincerely incredible if you ask me.

A book exchange phone booth in Somerset, England, UK.  I think this is a fantastic idea, and I'm already trying to brainstorm somewhere in my area that I could initiate a similar project.  I think things like this bring real value to a community and would love to see more of them accessible to more people.  If you have any ideas on how/where to start one in Mesa, let me know.

This is a tutorial on how to make a really fun bookish necklace that's pretty darned stylish too:

Check out this super-great library wallpaper!  If you're short on books, you can combine this with what you've got to make it look like you've got a more impressive library!

And... last but not least, here are some great bookish sayings/quotes I've seen on Pinterest this week:

So those are my top bookish pins for this week.  Come back next week and see what else I have found!  ♥  And check out other lovelies who have posted stuff they've pinned:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Local Bookish Events in September - Arizona [Local]

Here are your local* YA-relevant bookish events for September!

 Join award-winning author Ilsa J. Bick for the launch of Ashes, her new dystopian zombie novel for teens. An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions. Alex hiked into the woods to say goodbye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse, Alex meets up with a young soldier and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP. For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted ... and who is no longer human. James Dashner, New York Times bestselling author of the Maze Runner series, says: “Ashes gripped me from beginning to end—dark, creepy, suspenseful. I loved it.”
(James Dashner will be at Barnes & Noble in October... more dets to come!)

AND, To help celebrate the release of Ilsa J. Bick’s new teen zombie novel Ashes, makeup artists from the Cactus Canyon Jr. High Drama Department will help you express your inner zombie! Donation requested.

Monday, September 12:  Teen Writing Workshop, Changing Hands, Tempe, 5pm.  Join us for a four-week workshop for girls in grades 7-12 with author Plynn Gutman, former director for ASU’s summer young adult writing program. Participants will write fiction and non-fiction based on a variety of exercises, then discuss and edit each other’s work in a creative, supportive environment. Cost: $40 for 4 sessions. Registration and pre-payment required: 480.730.0205. Please note: This workshop meets four times on Mondays—September 12, 19, and 26, and October 3.

Shut OutMonday Septempber 12: Kody Keplinger, Changing Hands, Tempe, 7pm. Kody Keplinger, author of The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend, presents her new novel, Shut Out, a reimagining of the classic Greek play Lysistrata. Lissa’s quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend’s attention. Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all. She and the other players’ girlfriends go on a “hookup strike” until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don’t count on is an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave in to their libidos first.

PerfectThursday, September 22: Ellen Hopkins, B&N, Desert Ridge, Phoenix, 7pm: Ellen Hopkins, New York Times bestselling author of Crank, Burned, Impulse, Glass, Identical, Tricks and Fallout, follows the lives of four 12th graders in pursuit of perfection.  Note: Backlist books will be signed with purchase of the new book, Perfect. Books need to be purchased at any Barnes & Noble or BN.COM.

Wednesday, September 28:  Sherrilyn Kenyon, B&N Chandler Fashion Mall, Chandler, 7pm:  Bestselling authors Sherrily Kenyon and Dianna Love have teamed up to bring you the second book in the 'Belador' series. You are invited to join us and meet this talented duo in person. If you love romance, you don't want to miss this!

Since she's also done some YA,I thought you guys might be interested.

*Local events are defined as being within 100 miles of my home in Mesa, Arizona.  Occasionally, I'll sneak in something I'm willing to drive a little further for ;o)  If you hear of something I've missed, please let me know.