blogbutton2014I won’t be posting next Monday, so today’s post is a double helping, a bloghop PLUS Banned Books Week.


Do you have a favorite undiscovered movie, band, artist, and/or TV show? This blog hop is for you! There’s still time to sign on. Visit Captain Alex here.



Greatest garage band in the world. ‘Nuff said! (sorry the vid wouldn’t post without the annoying ad)



Zachary Richard is far from unknown. In fact, he’s a legend in the Cajun/Zydeco world, but for decades I was forced to buy his CDs as imports because he had no US distribution. This, despite the fact most of his CDs were recorded in exotic Scott, Louisiana. This suggests underrated to me. WAY underrated.

Zach was born in Scott and still lives there. He’s a musician, a published poet, the author of several children’s books, and writes some of the most beautiful melodies I’ve ever heard.  I’ve yet to see him live. He plays primarily in Quebec and France. One day I WILL catch him at Jazz Fest in New Orleans.

This is an older video. I chose it because Au bord du Lac Bijou (On the shore of Lake Jewel) is a favorite of mine.



Very simple premise: an enigmatic man (God? Satan?) sits in a booth in a diner. People approach the man to make deals. In exchange for their heart’s desire, the mysterious man gives these folks a task. They can then choose to complete the task or walk away from the booth at the end. The show is only on Hulu, but it’s absolutely riveting. Catch it if you can.



Read It! Sacred HungerSacred Hunger won the Booker Prize in 1992, but I’ve yet to run across across anyone else who has ever read it. When someone asks about my favorite book, this is the one that always comes to mind.

[excerpted from an earlier post]
Sacred Hunger follows the history of an 18th century slave-trading ship from construction to the conveyance and sale of its human cargo. It is a story of choices, ends above means, profit at any cost—just one of many sacred hungers explored—and what these costs mean in both monetary and human terms.

The writing is lush, the subject important and well-researched, the story is epic and thrilling. The juxtaposition of the two main characters, one who profits from slaving and the other subjugated by it, is brilliant. The close-up view of the machinations of the slave trade and life aboard a slaver are riveting. The horrors of disease, the mercenary bartering between ship captains and African kings, the use and abuse of sailors and the human cargo aboard the ship is both awful and fascinating to read about.

Sacred Hunger is sensitive to it’s time period. It’s easy for us to moralize today and see the true evil of the slave trade, but two-hundred years ago, perceptions were different. Unsworth does a sublime job of giving us a glimpse of this world not through the eyes of a 21st century observer, but through the eyes of someone who lived through it. It is precisely because Unsworth doesn’t impose morality on his characters that this is such an important work. The book helps us to understand a ‘why’ that most of us can’t comprehend today. Is it painful to read? Absolutely, because we are put in touch with, and forced to empathize with, the basest of human instincts. This book will teach you, make you think, and astound you with the beauty of its language.





September 21−September 27, 2014


Celebrating the the Freedom to Read


“Banning Books gives us silence when we need speech. It closes our ears when we need to listen. It makes us blind when we need sight.”
Stephen Chbosky

“The books the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame.”
Oscar Wilde

“Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance.”
Laurie Halse Anderson


Robert Dumas/Flickrcc

Robert Dumas/Flickrcc


For a list of the Top Ten Challenged Books
by Year: 2001-2013
go here.


The list for 2013***

(Out of 307 challenges as reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom)

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
  2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
    Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  9. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
    Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

***Courtesy of the American Library Association


It’s banned books week, and you know what that means: time to read a banned book. There are several excellent choices on the list above,  well maybe not Fifty Shades (unsuited to age group?????), but The Bluest Eye, The Hunger Games, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower are all wonderful reads.

Has anyone read Looking for Alaska? Think that will be my choice for this year.

Have a favorite banned book
or plan to read a banned book this week? Share!