Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Banned Books Week

It's easy to be righteous about banning books until you run across a book that is offensive to you personally. Last year, I was running around wearing my I Read Banned Books bracelet when the brouhaha erupted about the handbook for pedophiles being sold on Amazon. (Google it if you're curious. I'm not going to link to it.) There was no way to possibly to defend the sale of that book...except that there was no way to possibly argue for banning it without that same argument applying to other books.

It made me really think about how far I'm willing to go to defend freedom of speech. Ultimately, I didn't get caught up in the online hysteria because I just didn't believe the book was being read by anybody (I think Amazon had reported 1 or 2 sales), and pretty quickly the author idiot who wrote the book was arrested. I didn't follow if he was successfully prosecuted or not.

I attended a panel discussion this summer in which there was lots of discussion about how to "save" black books. The conversation turned to the types of authors and books that the attendees and panelists felt were hurting the industry. But here's the thing: I'd bet a lot of money that in another room somewhere this year was a similar panel and a similar discussion, only that conversation centered on the kinds of books that were written by the panelists I was listening to. I'd also bet someone, somewhere has railed against the kinds of books I write. Though, dang it, nobody has tried to ban or challenge them that I know of.

I know most of the readers of this blog don't like the street lit. And that's cool. I'm glad to have connected with people who like the kind of books I like. But as I've said before if we're really going to be all gooey-hearted about supporting banned and challenged books, it's going to include standing behind some books we don't necessarily like.

Enough lecture. The fun part about Banned Books Week is being able to read a book that you like or think you might like knowing that it's pissing somebody off. In fact, think of this week as Books That Will Piss Somebody Off If You Read Them Week.

To get you started, here's a list of the 100 most frequently banned or challenged books 2000-2009, including Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers (#11-yay Mr. Myers!), a whole lot of Morrison and Walker, and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor.

Let freedom ring. What are you reading for Banned Books Week?

The winner of No Ordinary Noel is....

'Cilla, who was chosen using Random.org.

Congratulations 'Cilla! Email me (carleen at carleenbrice dot com) your snail mail info for me to give to Pat so she can send you an autographed copy.

Everyone else: thanks for commenting! No Ordinary Noel is on sale today so if you're interested, please purchase it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Win a copy of No Ordinary Noel!

It's not too early to start thinking about Christmas and that other holiday that happens in December. Author Pat G'Orge Walker's new one is No Ordinary Noel, a book about a small-town congregation learning the real meaning of the season. It's Christian humor folks. Yes, you heard me right: Christian humor.

To gear up for December, Pat offered to give away a copy of her book to my blog readers. If you'd like to win, all you have to do is leave a comment here before midnight Eastern Daylight Time. Using a random generator, I'll pick the winner and announce it here tomorrow when No Ordinary Noel goes on sale.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Taste of Salt

Martha Southgate's new novel The Taste of Salt just got a rave review in the San Francisco Chronicle. The reviewer Meredith Maran even shouted out that Martha's website links to this blog. Please read the review and definitely check out Martha's novel. And if you're in Brooklyn, D.C., Cleveland, Miami and a few other places east of the Mississippi, check out her tour schedule. She might be coming to your neck of the woods!

Lori Tharps reviews the book here.