Friday, September 30, 2011

#1: ray bradbury's fahrenheit 451
reason:  if you read my blog often, you know i'm obsessed enamored with this text and bradbury himself.  i read this for the first time in seventh grade and have read it at least once a year since.  i've spent the better part of my adult life working on projects about it.

i think it is a beautiful, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, solid story that has so very much to teach us.

don't believe me?  read it again.  i bet you learn something new.

to all the writers out there--those who have been banned/challenged and those who haven't:  thank you for doing what you do.  we hear you.  we feel you.  we understand.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

#2: john milton's aereopagitica

reason:  milton was a puritan who was embroiled in cromwell's overthrow of the english monarchy.  cromwell, one to strictly control the information relayed to his people, took to moderating the presses and suppressing anything he wanted.  enter milton's aereopagitica. 

milton was staunchly opposed to this practice and went about expressing his beliefs in the only way he knew how:  writing.

he writes:

"I deny not, but that it is of greatest concernment in the Church and Commonwealth, to have a vigilant eye how Bookes demeane themselves as well as men; and thereafter to confine, imprison, and do sharpest justice on them as malefactors: For Books are not absolutely dead things, but doe contain a potencie of life in them to be as active as that soule was whose progeny they are; nay they do preserve as in a violl the purest efficacie and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. I know they are as lively, and as vigorously productive, as those fabulous Dragons teeth; and being sown up and down, may chance to spring up armed men. And yet on the other hand, unlesse warinesse be us'd, as good almost kill a Man as kill a good Book; who kills a Man kills a reasonable creature, Gods Image; but hee who destroyes a good Booke, kills reason it selfe, kills the Image of God, as it were in the eye. Many a man lives a burden to the Earth; but a good Booke is the pretious life-blood of a master spirit, imbalm'd and treasur'd up on purpose to a life beyond life."

his tract was immediately suppressed.  but the passion and reason behind it remained.

cromwell's protectorate was, soon after, overthrown and the monarch was restored.  all the puritans involved in the initial action against the crown were tried and put to death for treason save one:  john milton.

in short, go milton!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

#3: kate chopin's the awakening
reason:  the characters make this book.  the situations they're in add to it.  the symbolism in the mundane takes it over the top.  chopin was a masterful writer whom i greatly respect.

the first time i read this text--in a post-civil war american survey course in undergrad--i was struck by the way the women were portrayed.  mme. ratignolle. mlle. reisz, and mme. pontellier are such different people--each with their own personalities, desires, and needs.  they're so distinct, yet they are each essential to the framework of the narrative.

it is perhaps easy to understand why chopin was challenged/banned and regarded as a lesser writer in her own time.  gender roles were defined differently than they are today.  but i can think of no reason why her work should be confronted with this kind of brutality today.  it is a simple book.  a lovely book.  a book that speaks volumes.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

#4: philip pullman's his dark materials trilogy
reason: i had never read fantasy or young adult before i, out of curiosity, casually picked up the golden compass.  these books have so much going for them--the imagery alone is worth the read.  add to that the fact that the narrative is interesting and beautifully written and they're all the better.

does pullman's lack of religion, the hotly debated subject that caused these poor books to be challenged/banned, come into play in the novels?  not necessarily.  as a literature student i could certainly interpret them that way, but there is more complexity to them than that.  there's rich allegory at play here; i haven't quite worked it out, but i won't stop reading and enjoying them until i do.

Monday, September 26, 2011

have you heard the rumors?

it's banned books week!

in celebration, i give you my top five favorite banned books:

#5:  harper lee's to kill a mockingbird

reason: i read this for the first time in high school--tenth grade, i think; i went to one of those progressive schools that didn't take to banning books.  i remember being floored by the descriptions in the book:

"Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when i first knew it.  In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square.  Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer's day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square.  Men's stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning.  Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o'clock naps, and by nighfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum."

they made me see.  they moved me.  they have withstood the tests of time.

i read TKAM every summer.  not because i have to but because i choose to.  ms. lee had some very profound and important things to say in the novel, and she said them very well.  i hear them. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

top five reasons i love my bestie: day five--HIS BIRTHDAY!

reason #1: he makes me smile and laugh when no one else can, and for that i'm eternally grateful
Halloween 2006

Mid-Laugh, Halloween 2006
The Hawk   ca. 2006
Proud!  May 2008

recently, i got some very disappointing news.  i cried.  my bestie knew just what to do:  give me a minute to process, hug me, and get me out of the house to get me mind off of it--in this case, for snowcones.  

that's him.  he knows when i need a laugh, and he delivers.  not a single person on earth is able to make me crack a smile when i don't want to but him. 

i just hope that he knows how much i appreciate having him in my life and how much i love him.  

happy birthday!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

top five reasons i love my bestie: day four

reason #2: he sees beauty in ordinary things

Street Light, Mesquite, Texas
from the mundane (street lights, fleece blankets, etc.) to the extraordinary (the gorgeous art he creates), he looks at the world through an entirely different lens than i do: seeing not just the function but the possibility and beauty in everything.  i wish he could bottle and sell this part of himself.  the world could use more creativity and loveliness.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

top five reasons i love my bestie: day three

reason #3: he's witty and charming and never afraid to be himself--regardless of the situation

Rocking the Bubble-Pipe, Nov. 2007

About to cut down a Christmas Tree with his bare hands (and a saw), Dec. 2009

Eli Young Band Concert, Nov. 2009

my bestie doesn't care what other people think.  he does and says what he feels is right.  his smile is infectious, and you never know what's going to come out of his mouth.  i love this quality about him.

Friday, September 2, 2011

top five reasons i love my bestie: day two

reason #4: he's always up for an adventure (or two!)

Big Rock Park, Glen Rose, Texas  ca. 2004

Dinosaur Valley State Park, Glen Rose, Texas  ca. 2004

Inner-Space Caverns, Georgetown, Texas  Sep. 2010

Hutto Hippos, Hutto, Texas  Sep. 2010

Breakfast in Bed, Austin, Texas  Sep. 2010

Dallas World Aquarium, Dallas, Texas  Nov. 2008

Eating Edison the Snow Midget, Dallas, Texas  Mar. 2010

i have a bit of wanderlust.  and i love this state and all the kooky things it has to offer.  he doesn't get to adventure with me as often as i'd like, but we have certainly had our fair share of them together: downtown forth worth, driving the entirety of beltline, glen rose, austin, tulsa, houston (more times than we can count), galveston, spring, humble, conroe, bryan/college station, navasota, the top of the galleria parking garage, cut and shoot, granbury, the snowfa, ennis....the list goes on and on...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

top five reasons i love my bestie: day one

my best friend's birthday is coming up in a few days (five to be exact), and as part of the celebration i've decided to dedicate my blog to him for five days.

that's right.  five days of bestie love.  five days to countdown why, exactly, it is that i love him so much.

beginning today!

reason #5:  he loves his pups

schnitzel and bitty are about the cutest pair of weiners i've ever seen, and my bestie loves them fiercely.  he's a great dog-pop, and that makes him a-ok in my book.