banned books

Beloved

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Novel Ideas wraps up Banned Book Month with Beloved by Toni Morrison, a story of escaping the past against the background of slavery. This book is a rather difficult read, as it written non-traditionally, shifting points of view and tenses and using some modern literary techniques that don’t get used often in popular fiction. In this episode we talk about some of those challenges, as well as gender and publishing, slavery, the context of infanticide, and the difficulty of escaping the past. We also discuss “enlightened” slave owners, weird sex, whitepeople, and our need of a professor to help us decipher the text. This book was a rich topic for discussion, we hope you find this episode interesting.

The music bump is “Freedom” by Charles Mingus.

Beloved – Not A Dead White Guy

Recommendations:

Gabs: 6/10 as an enjoyable book, 8/10 as something you should read.

Ben: I might not go as high as 6/10 for enjoyability, but it was a pretty powerful book. I’m also going to say 8/10 as something you should read.

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

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Novel Ideas returns after a week off with The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. This is the first book we’ve read for the podcast written by a Native American and it definitely grants some insights into the culture and conditions on an Indian reservation. This selection also continues banned book month, though it’s hard to find real reasons to challenge this particular book. In our discussion, we talk about alcoholism, race, illustrations complementing the text, and the significance of community. We also cover whether “Junior” is a weird name, trains, bro relationships, and boners. Lots of boners.

This week’s header was taken from a larger piece of fan art by Kristina Wayte. You can check out the original here.

The music bump is “Spokane” by Ho Lan, which is not traditional Spokane Indian music, but is a newly composed piece with traditional elements in it.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – Boner Time

Recommendations:

Read this one. The narrator has an interesting voice and there are cultural details about reservation life that you may not have been exposed to before. Warning: may not contain plot.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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Bestseller Month concludes with… No, wait, I mean Banned Book Month begins with… Oh, right. BOTH of things happen this week on the Novel Ideas podcast with The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. This is a YA book that has been frequently banned or challenged due mostly to the content of the whole book. Holy smokes, there are some issues in this one. In this episode we cover: child molestation, autism, bad cycles, and teen sex. We also talk about Charlie’s similarity to Martians, pothead humor, essay writing, and the lack of sexual tension between step-siblings.

The music bump is “Asleep” by The Smiths. Read the book if you want to know why.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower – A Well Known Phenomenon

Recommendations:

Gabs – 7.5/10. An interesting read with a few minor flaws.

Ben – 9/10. Possibly my favorite podcast book of year 2.

The Golden Compass

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Welcome back to Novel Ideas, where banned book week lasts a month. This week’s episode is The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, a book frequently challenged for having/being “religious content, violence, and age inappropriate” according to the American Library Association. We certainly have some opinions on whether this book is religious (sort of), violent (yes), and age inappropriate (if you’re a prude). Check out the podcast for the more in depth version of those opinions, in addition to discussions about daemons, witches, bears, and the country of Texas. Special appearance this week by Callie the cat, who had many opinions about this book and whether it should prevent podcast hosts from paying attention to her. (Hint: no.)

This week’s music bump is “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas, because I LOVE IT. Oh, also because there’s a lot of discussion about Dust in this book. So look for that. Enjoy!

25 – The Golden Compass – Bears and Witches and Texans, Oh My!