Archive | December 2012

2012: A Blog Odyssey

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Stocking Stuffers

He’s making a list. Checking it twice. Ah, if only I were as efficient an editor/proof-reader as Kris Kringle. I’ve edited my novel at least a dozen times. ::lesigh::

Anyway, it’s Friday and that means it’s time for FridayReads. I thought since the holiday season is drawing to a close I might mix it up a bit. Did you get any books for Christmas, Chanukah, Yule, Festivus, etc? Tell me what you got! And/or, as always, tell me what you’re reading (novel, biography, play, comic book, takeout menu, I don’t judge).

Wizard People, Dear Readers

God Jul and Merry Christmas, my dear readers! I hope you all had lovely holidays with friends, family, or just some time to yourself to read a book and smoke some pipeweed. I do apologize for not posting a review of Strega Nona on time, but the Sandy Hook tragedy affected me more than I had anticipated and then Christmas plans and preparations stole me away. It seems you all didn’t mind too much as my commentary on the tragedy put up in lieu of Strega Nona is now one of my most viewed posts.

I would like to thank you all for being patient with my sometimes irregular postings and for making December the best month so far (Over 600 views, woot!). 2012 marked the beginning of Bound and Gagged and I hope we’re just getting started.

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In Darkest Night

As you may have noticed, this is not a review. I hope that this is not viewed as insensitive or in any way capitalizing on tragedy; that is not at all my intention and I would deeply regret if anything I say here today was misconstrued as such. However, this blog was started shortly after the Dark Knight Massacre and I would like to say something now about the recent tragedy in Connecticut. There was also a similar tragedy in China today. I do not know the details of it, so I will talk about the tragedy in my New England backyard, but my heart goes out to those affected by either tragedy.

This is a dark day. People all over the nation (and world) are trying to come to grips with what has happened, why it happened, and the way forward after what is for some a reality-shattering event and for others an all too common occurrence.

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The Perks of Being Ezra Miller

REPEAT OFFENDER: The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

THE REVIEW: I saw The Perks of Being a Wallflower before I read the book, so I had different expectations than fans of the book may have. I really had no idea what I was going into, but I like Emma Watson and the movie was getting good reviews. Despite trimming much of the book’s less vital traumatic content, this movie is not the teen romp I was expecting. And I loved it.

To start off, this movie is extremely well cast. Logan Lerman’s unassuming portrayal of Charlie is what allows the audience to care about him, and, thus, the web of drama around him. However, like Shanghai Noon, this movie was stolen by the supporting actor. Ezra Miller, who plays Patrick, quickly steals the show. And rightly so. His humor keeps the movie from being too much of a melodrama and his charm and exuberance are a perfect foil for the titular wallflower, Charlie. Emma Watson breathes life into the book’s somewhat bland Sam, making her seem like an integral, fleshed out character, rather than a catalyst for the plot. Bill, Mary Elizabeth, Helen, Charlie’s sister, and all of the other supporting characters hold their own in this quirky yet poignant character-driven story.

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And The Banned Played On

Bienvenidos, readers. I’ll have the movie review of The Perks of Being a Wallflower up sometime this weekend, rest assured. However, I worry the ‘defense’ part of my reviews have become somewhat similar. Given that the reasons for banning the books have been similar, I’m not quite sure what to do about that.

In an attempt to break up the monotony of books banned for sex, drugs, and rock and roll, I’ll try to steer clear of teen lit for a while. I’m planning on doing the beloved children’s book Strega Nona next Friday and then perhaps dip into more classic literature (although those tend to be banned due to fornication, vices, and bawdy tavern songs, so maybe not quite the departure I’m hoping for). We’ll see.

Anyway, if there’s a book or type of book that you’d like me to review, I am open to suggestions, coercion, and demands. The Lovely Bones, The Canterbury Tales, Watchmen, All Quiet on the Western Front, Tom Sawyer, Mastering Multiple Position Sex, The Golden Compass, A Farewell to Arms, Twelfth Night, Herland, there’s a lot of directions to go in here, so let me know what strikes your forbidden fancy.

The Books We Think We Deserve

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I was definitely a wallflower in high school. Unless you got me on stage…

THE DEFENDANT: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

THE VERDICT: Banned in numerous US schools. The Perks of Being a Wallflower has come under constant fire since its publication in 1999 and the firestorm it sparked has not let up. The cult classic came in at #10 of the ALA’s Most Frequently Challenged Books List for 2000-2009. It ranked in the top ten five times in the last ten years, according to the readers’ guide in the book itself, including #3 in 2009 and #5 in 2004. The media spotlight that a movie adaptation brings will likely do nothing to temper the fervor with which this book is purged from library shelves.

THE CHARGES: According to the ALA, the reasons for banning the book include “anti-family, drugs, homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited to age group.”

THE REVIEW: The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the coming of age story of a young, deeply traumatized boy named Charlie. The story is told in a series of letters from Charlie that chronicle his first year of high school, and all the drama that ensues, as he finds friends, discovers more than one inconvenient truth, and tries to start participating in life rather than merely observing it.

We’re not talking about your run of the mill teenage drama here. No, this book has everything: teen sex, abortion, copious drug use, alcoholism, mental illness, suicide, rape, gay bashing, child molestation, child abuse, abusive relationships, domestic violence, more child molestation, and just about everything else. Charlie is dysfunctional and deeply troubled, but, frankly, the fact that anyone in this book can function at all is a triumph.

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