Vote for the Specsavers National Book Awards, Book of the Year 2013

Find the form and your chance to win book tokens here: Last years winner was 50 Shades of Grey by EL James.

Voting closes at Midnight on 19th December 2013. Terms and Conditions can be found on the page. The competition is only open to UK and ROI voters.

There are also links on the page for you to vote for Author and other Book Awards. Get involved!

Banned Books Week: Why Do We Ban Books?

I was going to do a piece on the representation of women in modern media, focusing on fictional texts, today however, after going on the Guardian newspaper website, I decided to do something about the concept of Banned Books instead. Not least because I have a feeling I will need to do a lot of research for the representation article.

I had never heard of Banned Books Week until last year but it was only this year have I actually looked into what the week was about. Though it is fairly obvious, Banned Books Week is the annual right to read celebration from the American Libraries Association. It celebrates the books that have been banned for various reasons.

For me, it has amused me finding out which books are banned and why. Some books which have been challenged, like the Captain Underpants books, are just laughable. Apparently the books are inappropriate for children of a certain age and due to the language. Other books, like E.L. James‘s 50 Shades of Grey trilogy, I can understand a bit more. I don’t think I need to go through the reasons why, though sadly none of the reasons are about the dismal writing.

Sex is a frequent reason as to why books are banned but I’m curious about why someone would want to ban a book in the first place. I agree with a quote by Isaac Asimov, an author, who said, “Any book worth banning is a book worth reading.” Now, I know there will be certain subjects and themes, like pedophilia and bestiality, that would raise objections and I understand them, but my question, why do we ban books?, comes from the fact that even in our modern age, books like And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, have been challenged due to its homosexual themes.

Now, if this had been a book released in the past, when homosexuality was viewed as anything but normal and even when it was a criminal offence, then yes, I could perhaps understand. But no, this book was released in a modern world, in countries which accept homosexuality. The book was inspired by 2 male penguins hatched and raised a chick in a New York Zoo.

Personally, I don’t understand why people would want to ban books, especially ones like the aforementioned book, especially when they are children’s books. Surely And Tango Makes Three would be a good way to introduce concepts like homosexuality to children. It is part of society and part life.

If we want to help people in general to become better people, to expand their horizons and create an even better society than what we have now, reading is a fantastic way to do it and books are brilliant ways of introducing these sorts of concepts and ideas.

Book Review: The Diary of a Submissive by Sophie Morgan

Since I am writing reviews on romance and erotica novels, I figured I might as well write a review on this memoir book. This was released to latch on to the success of 50 Shades of Grey. This will not be a long review.

In public, Sophie Morgan is an independent, hard-working journalist. In private though, she is a submissive who loves nothing better than to be dominated by a man. She eventually meets a rich man called James who loves nothing better than to dominate her and push her to her limits and beyond. But soon, it is James wondering if he can continue dominating her.

This book is not a rose-tinted view of BDSM. It is hard look, harsh and gritty and I found it tough to read and did find myself struggling to read it once she got to her relationship with James and it got to the point where I had to stop for a while and go back to it later. Even so, this book was really good, the early sexual scenes and relationships she describes are very arousing and pitched just perfect. I just found the later stuff very hard to read. Maybe it’s because the later stuff felt awkward to me and are not the type of things I would read.

This book provides an interesting take on the BDSM lifestyle and relationships from the submissive’s view. Despite how tough it was to read at times, this is far better in my opinion in comparison to 50 Shades of Grey which I attempted to read out of curiosity and could not get past the absolutely dreadful writing. This at least was written by a professional writer so she knew what she was doing.