Discussion and Link-Up: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Prisoner

Since it’s Banned Books Week, I’d like to take a break from the usual discussion to share with you some of the many challenges, bannings, and burnings of the Harry Potter books.  Before we get to that, though, this month’s featured post is about how Shaina @ Shaina Reads almost didn’t read the series.  Check it out to find out why and then add your own Harry Potter related posts to the link-up for your chance to be featured in next month’s discussion post.

 

1999
  • Douglas County, Colorado; Moorpark, California; and Buffalo, New York – Formal complaints against Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone were filed by parents in the school districts.  In 2000, another parent in Moorpark, CA stated, “It was a horrible book…It talked about death and killing.  It talks about drinking animal blood.  That is witchcraft, and as a religion it doesn’t belong in school.”
  • South Carolina – Parents requested Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone be banned from all South Carolina schools, stating it had “a serious tone of death, hate, lack of respect, and sheer evil,” and it was “trying to disguise things as fun and easy that are really evil.”
  • Simi Valley, California – A parent stated that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was “violent, antifamily, had a religious theme, and lacked educational value.”
  • Saginaw, Michigan – Bruckner Elementary School became the first school in the United States to remove Harry Potter from the classroom.  A parent complained, “the books are based on sorcery, which is an abomination to the Lord…I read a couple of chapters and felt like God didn’t want me reading it.” The school’s principal decided to ban the books from being read in class.
  • Zeeland, Michigan – School Superintendent Gary L. Feenstra directed school librarians to remove Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone from the shelves.  Later, he decided not to ban the book but restricted it by requiring students to have parental permission to check it out.
2000
  • Bend, Oregon – Parents asked school officials to ban the series from the district’s schools, stating the books referred to witchcraft and divination and would lead children to hatred and rebellion.  The school superintendent rejected the request and stated the parents couldn’t determine the reading materials for all of the students.
  • Band-La Pine, Oregon –  Parents requested that the school board ban the series, stating it “threatened the fundamental morality of students.”  The school board voted to keep the books.
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa – Parents asked that the books be removed from school libraries because of its “romantic characterization of witches, warlocks, wizards, goblins, and sorcerers.” and, “These things by their very nature erode the morality of our children, and therefore ultimately our society.”
  • Salamanca, New York – The school board voted to keep the series in the elementary school libraries after parents complained about the dark themes in the books.
  • Whittier, California – A petition signed by 53 parents said the series “exposes our young children’s minds to black magic and…horrible experiences that our children don’t need to hear or read about.”  The review committee stated, “if books were to be banned from schools due to violence depicted, then stories such as Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, and the Three Little Pigs would need to be added to the list.”
  • Jacksonville, Florida –  The Public Library received complaints and was threatened with a lawsuit after passing out “Hogwarts’ Certificates of Accomplishment” to children who read all the books in the series at that time.  One parent stated, “We don’t want our children to be exposed to witchcraft. If they are going to pass out witchcraft certificates, they should promote the Bible and pass out certificates of righteousness.”
  • Pace, Florida – A resident requested that the series be removed from the school libraries on the grounds of glorifying witchcraft and the occult and opposing Biblical teachings. He stated, “I know a lot of parents and teachers love it because the kids are excited about reading.  But there’s excitement in drugs, there’s excitement in fornication, there’s excitement in crime, but that doesn’t mean they’re good for a person.”
  • Santa Fe, Texas – School principles voted to require written permission from parents before students were allowed to check out any of the books in the series.
  • Arab, Alabama – A parent requested the Board of Education remove the series from school libraries and stated she was speaking on behalf of other Christians.  She also stated that J. K. Rowling was a member of the occult, and the books encourage children to practice witchcraft.  “It was a mistake years ago to take prayer out of the schools because it let Satan in.  We need to put God back in the schools and throw the Harry Potter books out.”  The school board voted to keep the books in the schools.
2001
  • Rural, Pennsylvania – A burning of the Harry Potter books was conducted by a church.
  • Chester County, Pennsylvania – A former substitute teacher registered a formal complaint and stated, “Harry Potter teaches you it’s OK to get back at people.”
  • Oskaloosa, Kansas  – The Public Library canceled a Summer storytelling event after residents became concerned about their children being taught witchcraft.
  • Alamogordo, New Mexico – a church burned copies of the books.
2002
  • Cedarville, Arkansas – Angie Haney filed a formal complaint with the Cedarville School District in June of 2002.  In her complaint, she stated the books were objectionable because they teach children “parents/teachers/rules are stupid or are something to be ignored. That magic will solve your problems. That there are ‘good witches’ and ‘good magic.’”  The books were restricted and could only be checked out by students with parental permission.  The district court later overturned the school board’s decision, noting that the school board couldn’t restrict students’ right to read a book on the grounds of disagreeing with its contents.
  • Lewiston, Maine – A ceremonial shredding of copies of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was conducted the night before the film adaptation was released. The group had already done a book shredding in 2001 before the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was released. The group originally wanted to burn the books, but city officials refused to grant the necessary burning permit.
2005 – 2007
  • Gwinnett County, Georgia – A parent claimed the novels were an evil attempt to “indoctrinate children in pagan religion” and should be removed from the schools. Despite not having read the books, she also stated the books were full of “evil themes, witchcraft, demonic activity, murder, evil blood sacrifice, spells.” and, “I don’t agree with what’s in them. I don’t have to read an entire pornographic magazine to know it’s obscene.”  She told the school board that she wanted “to protect children from evil, not fill their minds with it. The ‘Harry Potter’ books teach children and adults that witchcraft is OK for children.”  She also suggested the books be replaced by C. S. Lewis’s “Chronicles of Narnia” or Tim LaHaye’s “Left Behind: The Kids” series.  She appealed to the Georgia state Board of Education after the school board rejected her request.  After the Board of Education upheld the school board’s decision, she took the case to a state court, which also upheld the decision. She then threatened to take the case to federal court.

#FitReaders #39

Geeky Bloggers Book Blog
  • This check-in is for September 21st – 27th.  Once again, I’m struggling to find the time between studying and paper writing to get my steps in.  After this week, I will likely be stepping back on the amount of blogging I’ve been attempting to keep up with because I’m beginning to feel over-tasked, and I’m not sleeping well.  Once I’m able to get back to a balance of school work, job searching, and personal/rest time, I’ll figure out a way of working in exercise.
  • Somehow, I still managed to get more steps than I did during the previous week.
  • If you’d like to add me as a friend on FitBit, you can find me HERE.
  • Yoga Workouts: 0/5
  • Steps: 39,791/63,000
  • Miles: 16.34/21
  • Flights of stairs: 73/70
  • Active Minutes: 203/210
  • Total Money Donated: $24.91

Monday’s Minutes #39

“Monday’s Minutes” is a weekly post in which I track my bookish life.  All book covers are linked to Goodreads unless otherwise noted.

  • The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan – for the read-along.
  • The Portable Dorothy Parker
  • Human Cargo by Caroline Moorehead
  • The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

 Portable Joy Human Cargo Witching

Finished: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling.  The discussion post and link-up will be up on the 30th.

Prisoner

DNF: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness.  I gave it 120 pages before I gave up, which is far more than I usually give a book, so I feel like I gave it more than a fair chance.  All I will say is that if I wanted to read a story about a woman willingly giving up her agency to a domineering, “alpha male” vampire, I’d re-read Twilight.  At least Bella had the excuse of being a teenager instead of a grown extremely well-educated woman.

Night

Challenges:

S&S Bingo2update13

Total pages read: 704

Total # of books for the year: 64.  I still haven’t found the next audiobook to keep me company on my commute to and from school.  Either the story doesn’t appeal to me, or the narration is horrible for every audiobook I’ve tried.  I’ve been listening to music and podcasts, one of which is Drabblecast.  I highly recommend it if you love weird tales, and it’s perfect if you’re participating in RIP X.

What are you reading this week?

New Orleans: Part 2

If you didn’t already know, the Boyfriend and I went on a long weekend trip to New Orleans.  I wasn’t able to fit everything we saw and did into one post, so if you missed it, check out Part 1 to find out what happened on Friday night and Saturday.

Sunday:

We woke up a bit earlyish after crashing Saturday evening, so we decided Sunday had to be the day we fit in as much as possible before leaving after breakfast on Monday.  However, we also chose to do whatever we wanted when we wanted, with only a couple exceptions.  When we weren’t shopping or eating, we were stopping at locations that I wrote about in my Vampire Tour of New Orleans post.

First, we went out to find breakfast.  Since Café du Monde is ridiculously crowded during the day, especially in the morning, we headed out to another cafe that supposedly had excellent beignets, Cafe Beignet.  There was a long line there as well, but not nearly as bad as at Café du Monde.

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While we waited, I happened to see a display of poison rings in the window of a jewelry store.  If you know anything about French history, poison rings, also known as pillbox rings or funeral rings, were popular during the 16th and 17th centuries.  They were used to kill unsuspecting victims for a variety of reasons, usually political, as well as to hold keepsakes, especially for loved ones who passed away.  My first thought was of a certain scene in Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon involving the apothecary.  I knew I had to have one for myself, so I stepped into the store while the Boyfriend stayed in line.

 

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After that, we got through the line and were lucky enough to get a table so we could eat all the food we ordered.  If you’re ever in the French Quarter, and you have a craving for beignets or a crawfish omelet, you can’t go wrong with Cafe Beignet.

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Not everything there made me nervous.

 

 

With our breakfast eaten, we decided it was time to shop.  We went into every store we thought looked interesting as we wandered around, including Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo.  The Boyfriend wanted to find a decent book on Voodoo for something he’s writing, and I was a bit curious.  My curiosity turned into a feeling of foreboding once we got further into the store, and I became even more uncomfortable the longer we were in there.  Then the Boyfriend pointed out that I was standing directly beneath a hand carved wooden Ouija board.  Normally I’m not superstitious or put much stock in potions, spells, and other things like that.  I do believe in magic but only within the confines of the fictional worlds I read about in my books.  However, that store was legit.  It wasn’t anything like the touristy wannabe Voodoo store we saw later.  While not everything made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, all I wanted to do was buy the tarot cards I found and get out of there.

2015-09-06 15.09.50

 

We decided to head back to the hotel to give our feet a break, so we stopped at the Central Grocery to pick up a muffuletta on the way.  While eating it, I discovered that I had never had Italian bread that was made correctly before.  I can now say that real Italian bread rivals French bread, and I want to learn how to make it.

 

 

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Random Scot near Jackson Square.

 

 

Once we had eaten our lunch and cooled off, we headed out again, but this time to the French Market.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed with the wares.  It was like every other flea market I’ve been to and full of cheaply made goods from China.  The food section, however, was excellent.  We took a short break to sit down and drink the fruit smoothies we bought at the Organic Banana and then we finally found jars of Mayhaw Jelly at French Market Produce (we had been looking everywhere).

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My favorite color AND Shakespeare? Sold!

 

 

 

 

From there, we went looking for a shop that sold socks because, by that point, I had a spot on my ankle that had been rubbed raw by my shoes.  When I packed for the trip, I remembered to pack my running shoes in case my other shoes didn’t cut it, but I forgot to pack the right socks to wear with them.  Of course, I switched to my running shoes almost immediately after getting to New Orleans.  When I realized my mistake, the Boyfriend sweetly gave me the spare pair of socks he packed, but I wore those on Saturday.  I thought I’d be ok with the little “footies” I packed, but I was wrong.

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We hadn’t planned on eating dinner so early, but shortly after we found my new socks, we came across a little restaurant called Cafe Amelie.  We remembered that Cafe Amelie had been one of the listings when we searched for places that had shrimp and grits.  We were starting to get tired, so we thought it must be fate.  We chose to sit outside in their little courtyard.  Well, the weather suddenly changed and it began to rain.  The wait staff quickly set up large table umbrellas, but even then, we found ourselves getting very cozy with the two couples at the table next to us.  They were in New Orleans for Southern Decadence, and I think chatting and laughing while helping keep all of us and our food out of the downpour turned a potential disaster into a hilariously good time.

2015-09-27 11.16.52

 

After the rain had stopped and we were full of yummy food, we waddled back to the hotel.  We decided to rest for the remainder of our last evening so we could get up early on Monday.  Also, the Boyfriend surprised me with a 20th anniversary limited autographed edition of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire.  I don’t know where or how he managed to find it, considering the 20th anniversary was 19 years ago, and it’s never been opened, but he once again gets the Best Boyfriend Ever award.

Monday Morning:

We decided to go to the other cafe that had been recommended by the hotel desk clerk, Cafe Envie.  We quickly figured out that Cafe Envie is where the locals go.  We definitely stuck out as we stood there staring at the menu trying to decide what to order.  While I was eating one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in my life, I overheard customer after customer get asked something along the lines of, “The usual, [insert name here]?”  I have yet to find a cafe like Cafe Envie in Austin.

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Eggs Envie with hash browns. Not pictured is the amazing almond croissant I also devoured.

While our trip to New Orleans wasn’t perfect, it’s one I’ll never forget, and I will go back again one of these days.  There’s still so much to see and do, and I wish we had had a week.

The Book-it Brigade!

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On Wednesday, I got up earlier than usual, so I could get to campus from Austin to participate in the Book-it Brigade.  What is the Book-it Brigade?  The Book-it Brigade was a human chain to pass six books from Old Main, where Texas State University first housed its library, all the way to the Alkek Library, which opened in 1990.  This particular Book-it Brigade was to celebrate those 25 years as well as reenact the first Book-it Brigade that was done when the Alkek Library first opened.

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For the 1st time ever, you get to see my non-five-year-old face.

While I wasn’t even living in Texas when I was ten years old, this celebration is extremely important to me for three reasons.  First of all, the Alkek library is where I discovered that I want to go to grad school for Library Science and Information Technology.  Secondly, this is my final semester at TSU.  I will be graduating in December, so getting the chance to be a part of this huge, wonderful event to celebrate my all-time favorite library is a big deal for me.  I still get a little choked up thinking about it.  Getting emotional is also due to my third, but most important, reason: the Alkek Library is why I chose to attend TSU.

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The 6th book was a Kindle to represent how the library has grown over the years.
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It just wouldn’t be a celebration without cupcakes!

 

There are lots of reasons to apply to a university, and a few of them were secondary reasons, after the fact, for why I was glad I chose TSU.  However, how many people do you know who went to their university for the sole reason of wanting to have access to the library?  Well, when I found out the Alkek Library was seven football field sized floors stacked on top of each other, and it housed over 2 million books, my jaw dropped, and my decision made.  I have not once regretted that choice.

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Here’s to 25 more years of the Alkek Library!

The Joy Luck Club Read-Along: Week 3 Recap

Joy

Welcome to the 3rd weekly recap of The Joy Luck Club read-along!  Below is the schedule.  Each Saturday I’ll post a recap (with clearly marked spoilers for those who get a little behind).  The final review of the book will be on Saturday, October 24th.

This week, we read three chapters, each about one of the daughters.  I think I should have looked a little more closely at the way the book is organized before I wrote up the schedule since the four daughters’ chapters are split up between this week and next.  Oh well.  Once again, I found myself marking quite a few pages that I felt were key to understanding these women’s lives.  It’s interesting to get the daughters’ perspectives.

[Spoilers] This week’s chapters weren’t nearly as emotionally devastating as the last two weeks, except for “Half and Half”.  Guilt over the death of her younger brother, Bing, is a heavy burden to carry around, and I can see how it could eventually lead to Rose not making any decisions.  Her mother’s loss of faith was what got me, though, and I think it shows the difference in how the Chinese view religious worship.  What hit me so hard was An-mei’s lack of anger or feeling betrayed.  It was as if, even though she never really accepted her son’s death, she resigned herself to the idea of beings beyond her control or power deciding not to give him back.  “The Voice from the Wall” was disturbing, though, and I’m still not sure I know what happened to Ying-ying, Lena St. Clair’s mom.  What I do know is that if my mom had told me what she tells Lena about the basement, I would have had nightmares too!  I was happy for Waverly Jong and the empowerment she discovered through learning, and then excelling at, the game of chess.  I loved how part of her learning came from books she checked out from the local library.  I also appreciate that her desire to learn was spurred on and encouraged by her mom, Lindo.  If you remember from last week, Lindo was the one who cleverly figured a way out of her marriage without bringing shame to herself or her family.  I have a lot of respect for her, and I’m beginning to understand some of the comments she made towards her daughter, even though I still disagree with her some of her parenting.  [End Spoilers]

What do you think of the story so far?  Comment away!  Just be sure to mark clearly any spoilers 🙂

The Tolkien Blog Party of Special Magnificence

Party Button Door

There’s a party going on over at The Edge of the Precipice, and it’s all Tolkien, all the time!  How could I not participate?!  Below are the questions that everyone at the party has been asked to answer.

1.  What draws you to Tolkien’s stories?  For me, it’s all about the hobbits.
2.  What was the first Middle Earth book you read or movie you saw?  What did you think of it?  My 1st Middle Earth book was a picture book based on the cartoon adaptation of The Hobbit.  I was ten or eleven, came across it in the public library, and remembered that when I was five or so, I had seen the cartoon and loved it.  Coincidentally, that was my first Middle Earth movie, but no one had told me it was a book!  I immediately went to the card catalogue (yeah, I know, I’m OLD) and looked up The Hobbit.
3.  Name three of your favorite characters and tell us why you like them.  Bilbo Baggins because if he hadn’t decided to go on an adventure and subsequently forget his handkerchief I wouldn’t have been able to read about it, Gandalf because he arrives precisely when he means to, and Samwise Gamgee because without him, Frodo would have never gotten the ring to Mordor.
4.  Are there any secondary characters you think deserve more attention? In the movies, yes, but not in the books.
5.  What Middle Earth character do you relate to the most? I relate the most to Bilbo Baggins.  Like him, I went on an adventure that required me to leave just about everything I took comfort in, and then I quietly “retired” back into my quiet world of books, tea, and cardigans.  I do have the occasional crazy party, figuratively speaking, but, for the most part, I still feel world-weary from my time in the Army.
6.  If you could ask Professor Tolkien one Middle Earth-related question, what would you like to ask him? I would ask him if he would please write another hobbit story or book of short stories about the hobbits.
7.  Are there any pieces of Middle Earth merchandise you would particularly like to own, but don’t? The Hobbit Shop can just take my money.  Also, this hardcover edition of The Hobbit and everything listed here and here.
8.  What battle would you absolutely not want to be part of? I wouldn’t want to be a part of any of them!
9.  Would you rather eat a meal at Rivendell or Bag End?  Bag End, of course!  Tea is at four 🙂
10.  List up to ten of your favorite lines/quotes from the books or movies. I did a whole post about my favorite quotes from The Hobbit.

Review: Armada

Armada

  • Author: Ernest Cline
  • ISBN: 9780804137256
  • Genre: Science Fiction

The above ISBN is for the hardcover edition, but I listened to the audiobook I purchased.

Armada is an excellent second book by Ernest Cline, the author of Ready Player One.  I enjoyed it from start to finish and was a little surprised at how quickly I got through the book.  With Ready Player One, I felt that it took a while to get into the story due to the somewhat lengthy exposition at the beginning.  However, that wasn’t the case with Armada.  Instead, the backstory was given in little snippets when it was needed, so the pace of the story felt considerably faster.  There was also a lot of action, and the story takes place over a very short amount of time.  I can easily see the book being adapted to film.

As much as I loved it, though, I should have waited a bit longer to read it.  I finished Ready Player One not too long ago, and the main characters in the two books seem to be a lot alike.  Maybe they’re more different than I think.  Maybe the characters seem too similar because Wil Wheaton narrated both of the audiobooks.  Or maybe it’s because Ernest Cline is doing what every author should do and simply writing what he knows.  Either way, I picked up Armada too soon after Ready Player One.  That only goes for the characters, though.  While both books center around gaming, they are completely different stories.

If you loved Ready Player One, or for that matter, if you’ve read and loved Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card or other books along that vein of Science Fiction, you’ll love Armada.  This book is also an excellent choice if you’re a gamer.  I don’t know if Ernest Cline has a sequel in mind, but if he does, I will definitely read it, along with any other books he writes in the future.

The Never-Ending Anne Rice Reading Challenge

I recently found out about the Never-Ending Anne Rice Reading Challenge and decided to join in.  However, I’m only challenging myself to re-read the “Vampire Chronicles”, including Anne Rice’s latest book, Prince Lestat, and “The Lives of the Mayfair Witches” trilogy.  I’ve already finished Interview with the Vampire, but the Boyfriend is currently reading The Vampire Lestat.  So, I’ll have to wait until he’s done.  He takes awhile to finish the books I loan him, mostly because he’s busy reading other books, and that’s ok.  I just won’t be able to set a time goal, but while I wait, I’ll be reading The Witching Hour.  I’ll update this post as I finish each book, and link the titles to my reviews.

The Vampire Chronicles

  • Interview with the Vampire
  • The Vampire Lestat
  • Queen of the Damned
  • The Tale of the Body Thief
  • Memnock the Devil
  • The Vampire Armand
  • Merrick
  • Blood and Gold
  • Blackwood Farm
  • Blood Canticle
  • Prince Lestat

The Lives of the Mayfair Witches

#FitReaders Check-In #38

Geeky Bloggers Book Blog
  • This check-in is for September 14th – 20th.  My back is still bothering me, and I feel like I’m just now getting back into the swing of things with school.  So, even though I did better than last week, I didn’t meet my step goal of averaging 9K steps a day.
  • 10-Week Mindful Diet Plan for Healthy Eating? Still a “No”, but I’m eating a lot healthier than I had been.
  • If you’d like to add me as a friend on FitBit, you can find me HERE.
  • Yoga Workouts: 0/5
  • Steps: 38,603/63,000
  • Miles: 15.84/21
  • Flights of stairs: 70/70
  • Active Minutes: 202/210
  • Total Money Donated: $23.64