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100 Banned Books Series: The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank

    100 Banned Books Series: The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank

 Diary of Anne Frank

The Holocaust left a deep scar on the world’s recorded history. The enormity of what happened is overwhelming when teachers tell you in history class. The Diary of Anne Frank helps middle school students to understand how exactly the holocaust happened. This book details how different people were forced into concentration camps, as well as demonstrates how people looked out for one another in a time of great danger and turmoil.

 

The Diary of Anne Frank is a diary of a young girl who hid in an attic for two years during the holocaust. The book starts with Anne as a normal Jewish girl who has friends, goes to school, and has boy troubles. The main point comes when the Franks, Anne and her family, were forced to go into hiding. Anne remains in hiding for two years. The Diary of Anne Frank is a firsthand look at what it was like to be a teenage girl in hiding during the holocaust. This book is literally a diary. It talks about Anne’s problems with her mother and her feelings of isolation. Because this is non-fiction, the Nazi forces that found the Franks determined the ending. There is not an author hiding in the background with symbolism and foreshadowing, it is simply a personal account of a tragic time in a family and a country’s history.

 

This particular book is one of those books read in schools, so by default, it has been challenged. Parents considered this thirteen-year-old girl’s diary to mature for their thirteen-year-old children to read. Some of the chapters of this girl’s DIARY consist of her growing knowledge of puberty and sex. Parents say they want their children to be exposed to such themes at home. I, personally, think this is ridiculous. KIDS TALK. I first learned about sex and what it entails from a public school system and the talk of my classmates. Parents should talk to their kids about these things, yes, BUT a parent should be aware that they should start young if they want to ingrain their notions of sex and such on their child. So, this is an inadequate reason for the book to be banned or censored.

 

This book is historically significant. Something so historically significant should not be banned for a reason so trivial as parents fighting over who gets to tell their kid that sex is a thing. It is about the HOLOCAUST. IT DOES NOT HAVE A HAPPY ENDING. The Diary of Anne Frank forces children to look at the fact that this tragedy happened to PEOPLE. I personally have gained a better understanding of what exactly the holocaust was and the many ways it impacted people’s lives. The Diary of Anne Frank has a way of impacting people with its raw realism. It puts you in the holocaust in a way only rivaled by the museums dedicated to the deceased. The diary of a girl hiding from murderers of her race is a book everyone should read.

 

Rating: on a scale of this is my for fun for fun reading TO this book will change your life I give it about a 7. I think everyone should read it to be an educated human being.

 

 

(Also: There have actually been some adaptations of The Diary of Anne Frank: a stage adaptation and two movie adaptations.  However, these versions tried their best to make Anne seem more innocent and less worldy as she does in her actual diary. Because of that, we do not recommend watching the adaptations in place of reading the book.

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Animal Farm by George Orwell

animal farm  Animal Farm by George Orwell

 

This is not the first time I’ve had to read Animal Farm by George Orwell. It’s actually like the third, and I enjoyed it just as much this time as I did the other two times. Which is, to be completely honest, a good MEH. It’s not fantastic, it’s not horrendous. I didn’t have to force myself to finish it or anything because it does pull the reader in and keeps the reader there.

(Although, if I were reading it during the Communist scare, that might be completely different.)

So, yes, Animal Farm is really a tale about Communism and it was actually banned because of that. No, Animal Farm does not paint Communism in a good light. In fact, it paints it in a decidedly negative –some might say a realistic – light. It goes down in a bad way. In a real bad way.

And, to be completely honest, as I write this review, I don’t really remember a bunch of details. I mean, I can tell you what happens, but I’d be hard pressed to tell you exactly where it happens. There’s a list of major events in my head but I’m not sure I can actually put them in order for a decent review. So to save time – also, Emily is breathing down my neck for this review – I have SparkNotes up to spark my memory and make sure that I’m not typing something that’s completely and utterly wrong.

As I stated above, Orwell wrote this book during the Red Scare and it is really about the horrors of Communism. There is not really a deeper meaning than that. Like if you were to draw the flag mentioned in Animal Farm, it’s a dead ringer for the U.S.S.R flag. However, don’t let that stop you from reading it. It’s not a bad book as I said, but it’s not something that I’m going to rant and rave sideways and upways about.

There will be spoiler below this point so if you don’t want spoilers STOP HERE and read the book if you want, or don’t if you don’t. Whatever you want to do, my friend.

The story starts with life on the Manor Farm where Old Major, a prize winning boar, calls all the other animals to say that he’s had a dream where they’re their own masters and that they make their own decisions. Three of the other pigs in attendance – Napoleon, Snowball, and Squealer – take his words to heart and make the rules of Animalism. Later, Old Major dies. Without going into too much detail, the animals do break free of their farmer, Mr. Jones, and run him off the farm.

At first, everything is going pretty good. They’re more efficient together this way and they all have a day off work and they’re always fed right. Snowball – who is supposed to be Karl Marx – teaches the other animals while Napoleon – Stalin – takes some puppies and stores them in the barn loft for something that is surely not nefarious.

Some things go down that’s not exactly good. Jones comes back, Napoleon and Snowball get into a fight over the idea behind a windmill. Eventually Napoleon comes back with those puppies that he surely had a good plan for and he had totally trained them to be attack dogs and they ran Snowball off the farm. Napoleon therefore is the leader and he and the other pigs are now in charge of everything.

Yeah, I trust you.

Pretty soon all the animals are worse than they were before because everything was so slowly taken away that no one save Benjamin the donkey noticed (he was my favorite character, I’m not going to lie.) though he didn’t try to stop it. Squealer, who is supposed to be propaganda, has such a way with words that he simply convinces the other animals that what’s going on really for the good.

Oh, your food rations are being cut because the pigs have to use brain power which means they need more food than you. Good job, Squealer, I hate you.

Also, the rules that the original trio of pigs slowly changes.

No animal shall sleep in a bed edit: with sheets.

No animal shall drink alcohol edit: to excess.

And some animals notice that the rules are different but they can’t tell where because, to be honest, they’re animals and are therefore a bit stupid. Though Benjamin totally knows what’s what. Because no one ever sees a dead donkey so he knows when to keep his hee-hawing mouth shut. He does.

Eventually it gets to the point where all the rules are out the window and the pigs are pretty much doing whatever they want. The pigs even erase all of the other rules and change it all to All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others because the pigs are more important than everyone else. That line is quoted a lot in school and things – at least, it was in my school.

But damn, that one line is powerful because we can all relate to it somehow, even if you’re in that group that’s more equal than others.

Don’t think I’m bashing this book. I’m not. I like this book, but I’m not one for big allegory like stories. I like my fiction straight and to the point with some humor. As much as this is not the book for me, I still like it. Pick it up sometime and read it.

(Like seriously.)

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The Top Five Worst Books I’ve Read This Year (2012)

The Top Five Worst Books I’ve Read This Year (2012)

So, last week I made a post on the ten best books I read this year.  To balance it out, and because I’ve found that people really like it when people like me talk about how bad things are on the internet, I’ve decided to write about the top ten worst books I read this year.

The problem is, I don’t knowingly read bad books.  Like many people, I don’t expect a book to be bad, it just kind of happens. That’s one of the differences between movies and books; many times you can tell when a movie is going to be bad from the trailer: it may have stilted dialogue, the effects may not look good, it’ll have a ridiculous name, etc. With books, you have to go on the plot summery on the back of the book. There are some signs, like its by an author you don’t really like or you read the premise and think it’s absolutely ridiculous, but I usually find that bad books are usually a surprise.

The point is, I couldn’t come up with a full Top Ten list, so here’s the Top Five Worst Books I read this year. Like the Top Ten Best Books list, these aren’t books that came out this year, I just read them this year. Also, keep in mind that you may not think these book are bad. That’s ok, this is just my opinion.

Without further ado, here’s my picks for the Top Five Worst Books I Read This Year.

a feast for crows 5.  A Song of Ice and Fire: A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin

Part of me feels bad for putting this on the list, but I had to put something for my fifth entry.  Don’t get me wrong, I really like this series, I even put the third book as my entry for the best book I read this year.  I just feel like this is may be the least-good one.

See, the third book, A Storm of Swords, was filled with action and suspense.  It literally changed all expectations for the series. So, when I got to this one, I was excited for this one because I wanted to find out what happened after the events of the last one.  And I get that this book was slow for a reason: the reader probably needed to take a break considering everything that just happened.  That being said, it was almost too slow.  Yes, it was nice to see attention being brought on characters that hadn’t yet had their day in the limelight, but as I said earlier, it was almost too slow.  It honestly felt like the action was brought to a complete halt in some places.

That’s why this is number five, I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t particularly like it either.

 

a living nightmare 4.  Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare by Darren Shan

I don’t think I realized how not-good this one was until I was comprising this list, but looking back on it, I realized that there were quite a few flaws in this book.  There were a few two-dimensional side characters, the plotline was a little flimsy at some points, among other things.  Sure, the series got better (after a few bumps along the way), but as a first in the series, it wasn’t a good indicator of things to come.

 

393848_090620202427_Wuthering-Heights-Book 3.  Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I know this is a classic, but I just couldn’t get into it.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, in this book is unpleasant.  Maybe that’s the point, but eventually I found myself just not caring what happens to these people. Really, what this book was saying is that life sucks, the end, and that’s just not my cup of tea.

However, I do find it funny that this “romance” books frequently mentioned in Twilight. It fits, but I don’t think the way Stephanie Meyer intended.

the vampire prince 2.  Cirque du Freak: The Vampire Prince by Darren Shan

Really, with this one it was the ending that ruined it for me.  I think what happened is that the plot got written into a hole and Shan had to do something to get the protagonist out of the situation. So, he relied on a Dues ex Machina.  Frankly, a pretty hackneyed one.

Yea, like I said in the review, I am not fond of the ending of this book. I didn’t think it was a good way to get the protagonist out of the situation he was in.  Eventually, I got why it happened, but at the time I just very meh about the whole thing.

 

Vampire Mountain1.  Cirque du Freak: Vampire Mountain by Darren Shan

I made excuses for the other ones, but this one was just bad.  It didn’t feel like the a whole novel, it felt like the first few chapters of one.  Really, Vampire Mountain and the two books after it could have just been one novel.  It’s just frustrating to read all this build up for no real payoff. Because of that, I’m putting this at the bottom of the list.

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Cirque du Freak: Trials of Death by Darren Shan

Spoiler Alert: Not much happens here either Cirque du Freak: Trials of Death by Darren Shan

Cirque du Freak: Trails of Death is the fifth book in the Cirque du Freak series by Darren Shan. It is also the second book in the Vampire Rites Trilogy.

Ok, so this book begins where the last one left off, with Darren about to undergo the Trials of Initiation (otherwise known as the Trials of Death, hence the title). The Trials of Initiation are the tests vampires must go through to become a Vampire General, and Darren must do them to prove that he was a worthy addition to the vampire clan and Mr. Crepsley didn’t make a horrible mistake when blooding him.

That’s right. Darren, the little half-vampire with the mindset of a fourteen year old has to prove himself to the Prince guys to fix Crepsley’s, the bazillion year -old vampire, mistake. I didn’t get to say anything about this in the last post, since I make it a rule not to spoil the endings of what I review. But seriously, vampires? How is that fair?

Granted, they do give him some slack by getting rid of the trials that he wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell in getting through. But still, book. I’m on to you.

 

ON TO YOU.

On. to. you.

Anyway, so he has to do the tests. And they are really, really, hard. As in, if you mess up, there’s a very good chance you’ll die. And if you fail, the other vampires would execute you in shame. No pressure.

So after a few weeks of training with the game master, Vanez Blaze (you know, this may be a minor complaint, but the names given to the characters are becoming more and more ridiculous), Darren goes through the first trial: he has to make it out a cave before it completely fills up with water, while carrying a rock that’s half his weight.

In the second trial, Darren must make it through the Path of Needles, which is a giant cavern filled with sharp rocks and stalactites, while barefoot. Woohoo.

At the end of the second Trial comes the Festival of the Undead, which is a big, three day vampire party in which all business comes to a halt while the vampires party. So, yay, break time before the last super hard trial!

I should mention the passage during the Festival of the Undead in which Darren talks to Kurda Smalht (the pacifist soon-to-be Vampire Prince), See, Kurda feels that the vampires are way too concerned over impressed each other with their unique badassitude, claiming that it will be the thing that destroys the vampire clan.

Foreshadowing? We shall see.

Oh, and this is also when we meet the Guardians, which are humans that live in Vampire Mountain and trade their blood for the bodies of dead vampires. Which they then eat.

 

 I cannot express how much I love this picture.

And they’re not really mentioned again. So, it’s just a random creepy thing that was mentioned and not followed up on. Completely necessary.

But Alas! the Festival of the Undead ends and Darren begins preparing for the hardest of the trials, the Hall of Flames (because, no matter what, when the protagonist of the series when put in this kind of situation will always have to do the toughest challenge of all challenges that can be pulled from a random drawing. NO MATTER WHAT).

The Hall of Flames challenge is when a vampire has to stay in a room for fifteen minutes as flames jut out of the walls. Which brings up the question: why does this room exist? My theory is that it was supposed to be an execution method that didn’t quite work, so they decided to turn it into a trial.

And it’s here that things turn for the worst for our hero.

 

Though this was a lot better than Vampire Mountain, it was still pretty… not… good. I don’t want to say it’s bad… ’cause it’s not… it’s just not… good. At least, that’s just my opinion. In fact, that’s how I would describe this whole part of the series. It’s not good, but it’s not bad. It’s as if the last two didn’t have the same vibe as the first three books.

And again, I have the same complaint as I did for Vampire Mountain, in that it didn’t seem like a whole book. Instead, it seemed like the middle part, with the reader being dropped right into the story after Darren gets his sentence, with somewhat minimal amount of back story.

Because of that, I wouldn’t recommend reading this book without reading Vampire Mountain. Then again, I don’t really recommend reading Vampire Mountain, as it is, by far, the worst book of the series, so take that as you will.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

 

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Mozart’s Wife, By Juliet Waldron.

It’s time for a guest review! This is by Bonzodoodajsteele, a good friend of mine in real life, not just on the internet, and is one cool chick. I’ve never read this book myself, but I just want to start this post off with a quick story:

One day Bonzodoodajsteele comes up to me very seriously and says, “Emily Geek, I need to talk literature with you.”

I’m always up for a good literature discussion, so then she tells me two things about Mozart’s Wife.

1. “I think this lady has a boner for Mozart.”

2. Then she made me read the part about the period. (WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME.)

But anyway, I’ll let her tell you about it.

Mozart’s Wife, By Juliet Waldron.

Ok. First book review ever. What better way to break the ice than to review a Kindle Freebie!

First and foremost, I am a book racist. I am a sucker for an interesting cover, title, or promising “free” price range. So when I saw Mozart’s wife on the top 100, it was an obvious yes. The title was cool, the cover looked relatively not porn-esque.( which we would later find to be untrue…oy)

I began to read this book. And doubt washed over me. It read like a teen fiction book, you jive? But I stuck through, because it was plucky, and was, despite the angstiness, not badly written. The way it describes Constanze’s childhood, and growth into a young women (and the object of Mozart’s affection) was tender, and descriptive without turning into a Dicken’s novel (EG: Dude got paid by the word. To say his books were lengthy would be an understatement). Before I go any further,
I need to make it clear…..I Like this book. But there was a point, after Constanze and Mozart realized they were crazy for one another, till just after they get married that it got…weird. It felt like the author had a boner for Mozart. Which is very.very.weird. To put it Mildly….Constanze calls him Wolfi, and describes him feeling up her Vag as if she was an instrument. “He played us both to Happiness.” She describes the horror of having to tie her “raggin” it rags, and the devastating fear the he just wouldn’t get it. He pats her Vag.

Let me repeat.

He. PATS.her cloth swaddled. Blood oozing.VAGINA.

Mozart.

Wolfgang. Amadeus.

But after that point, the book becomes strangely enthralling, and hard to put down. I was very impressed by Ms. Waldons ability to sway into what I like to call the Historical Fiction format.

Historical Fiction Format

Leading Lady( it is always a lady) is waifish, and vulnerable, virginal but with a kinky side.
Love interest-dashing.tall.sexy. The sex. So much sex oozing from him. Probably a soldier of some sort
Setting: Lush. Weather predicts the mood (when the sex happens, because the sex always happens, its swelteringly hot outside. When there is sickness, death, or fighting…it rains, ectera, ectera)
Descriptions: Lush to the point of ridiculous. From the stays, to the food, to the hair, to the houses, to the dogs, to the sex, when one word would suffice, paragraphs would do better. Everything described in painstaking detail.

Sex: Frequent, and graphic, and usually coupled with the overflowing description. This is disconcerting when the historical novel is about a real life famous person. ( I like Ben Franklin as much as the next chick, but I REALLY do not want nitty gritty details on what whore he ate like an ice cream cone. )

Dialogue: “Oh really Mr. Fancyhorsemcsoldierson….how quaint”

“ Ms. Tightcorsetnodrawers, I must take you here, and now!”

Ms. Waldon doesn’t do this. The descriptions are accurate, and plentiful, the leading lady is strong, the dialogue, while a touch silly, smacks of realism. But the real reason that this book stands out, is that its leading man isn’t a tall dashing soldier. It’s Mozart, a short man, with wild hair, a somewhat plain angelic face, and almost no money to his name. It’s a good book, with a misleading start. Read it, you won’t regret it. Its 4 dollars on kindle, and it is the perfect addition to your poolside reading stack. If you like unique historical fiction, music, or a good, heartwarming love story that isn’t cloying, or predictable, you will like Mozart’s Wife.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FROM EMILY GEEK:

Guess what? 😀

As of Monday, this blog has had 100 views!

Consider this blog is, as of this post, a little over a month old, this is HUGE.

For those of you reading this, whether you have been following for a good while or just happened to stumble on this whether surfing the web, thank you for all your support.

Special thanks to Linkara, (of Atop the Fourth Wall) for being a cool enough person to retweet EVERYONE that asks him for one, including me. I’m convinced he’s the only reason I’ve gotten half the reviews I got.

Also, thanks to my Facebook friends and my Twitter followers for being ok with the fact that half my statuses and tweets are me just begging for them to read my silly blog.

Here’s to a hundred more views!

-Emily Geek

 

YOU GUYS. TODAY I’VE HAD THE MOST VIEWS YET.

😀

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