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Monday, October 1, 2012

My Thoughts on Banned Books Week, Review of The Great Gatsby, and Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Sunday kicked off Banned Books Week, which runs from Sept 30 to Oct 6. Many of you will take the time to read some banned books this week as did I. I chose to read The Great Gatsby and my copy of the Bible as I do on a regular basis. Some of you may know that the Bible was banned throughout the centuries and many faithful people burned at the stake for reading it!

Bibles were also burned in huge bonfires as a display of fierce disapproval from the clergy who deemed the common folk not worthy of reading it. Most common people couldn't read Latin, but desired to read the Holy Scriptures, and so some courageous men such as William Tyndale and John Wycliffe translated the Bible so that even a farmer boy could read God's Word. Today, the Bible and Bible-based literature is still banned in some countries, and those who choose to share its teachings are even imprisoned.

On my blog I choose to read clean books, but that doesn't mean that I ban books with content I would rather not read. I believe we are born with free will and that includes the freedom to choose what we read. I rate the books on this blog simply to aid others who are sensitive to certain content and to inform the reader. I still think it's important for parents to teach their children to read appropriate material for their age and choose books with content according to the moral standards they are taught.

Now let's move to my review of The Great Gatsby, which will be followed by a giveaway of a $10 Amazon gift card. I'm not sure why this book was banned so I did some research. After reading it, I think that the profanity (little in comparison to today) and the infidelity (although there are no sex scenes at all) as well as the fact that there is much alcohol drinking in this novel and it was written during the Prohibition may be what led this book to be banned.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Published April 10, 1925 (first edition)
Hardcover, 218 page

Nick Carraway is the narrator who tells the story of the time he spent in New York as a bond salesman after returning from WWI. He lived in a small modest house next to the luxurious mansion that belonged to Mr.Jay Gatsby, his neighbour. Gatsby was a mysterious man who was in love with Daisy, a rich young socialite whom he'd met five years previous when he was a poor young man about to go to war. After the war, Gatsby became a rich man through illegal means so as to once again win the heart of Daisy, although she was now a married woman and mother to a 3 year-old child.

The setting takes place during the Roaring Twenties, and we see the decadence, the superficiality and the loose morals that pervaded the scenes of Gatsby's parties. Through Nick's eyes we see Gatsby's obsession with Daisy, her unhappy life, and the pain and sad consequences of adultery. Ultimately, this is a sad portrayal of a time when moral restraint was abandoned and when social status was still powerful.

I didn't feel close to any of the characters, most of whom were not that likable, even though they were at times fascinating. Gatsby bettered himself (albeit through unscrupulous means) simply to win the heart of a woman who did not merit it, rather than for himself. His love was true, for he was willing to make a great sacrifice for her, but it was also obsessive, and I felt sorry for him. Nick was honest, but his life was unfulfilled. Daisy was a coward, in my opinion, and she and her philandering husband deserved each other.

I can see how this novel would make an interesting study into that time period. I had been meaning to read it for a long time, and I'm glad I did, if only to see what all the fuss was about regarding this book, which has been made into a movie five times, with the sixth one coming out in 2013 starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The book cover is actually the original one, which I think is great and really suits the book.

Note: This book is rated P = for religious profanity. Although there is infidelity in this book there are no sex scenes whatsoever.

Reviewed by Laura 

Disclosure: I own a copy of this book and was not told how to rate or review this product.

And now for the giveaway!

I will be giving a $10 Amazon Gift card to one winner. Just leave a comment answering this question: 

What was the last banned book you read?

Extra entry:
MUST be a separate comment or it will not count.
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*Buttons for following found on top left-hand corner of blog.
*Giveaway ends October 7, 2012. 
*Open to Canada and US. 
*Please read my Giveaway Policy before entering my giveaways.

Thanks for reading my blog!
Laura

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