Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Weeks of XVI: Banned Books and Contests and Interviews

Julia Karr is the author of the upcoming dystopian title, XVI, a novel where turning 16 has dire consequences. In order to celebrate the book's release, Julia's on a blog tour for the 16 weeks before XVI comes out--and this is week 14!

For each of the 16 weeks of the tour, Julia's going to talk about a specific aspect of her book. The kicked off on Julia's blog--for the 16th week, she discussed her 16 favorite things about Chicago (where the novel is set) and gave away the first chapter of her book to everyone. For week 15, Julia was asked 15 questions by MG author Sheela Chari on the topic of vegetarianism (her main character is a vegetarian) and gave away a copy of the Chicago Diner Cookbook. Today, the 14th week, Julia's going to discuss banned books, which feature in her novel, and give away one of her 14 favorite banned books!

So: Here's Julia!

Beth, I’m thrilled to be here today. Thanks so much for inviting me to guest blog!

1. What's your opinion on banned books?
I think banning books is wrong. Discussion about disputed books is good. Controversy provides a learning experience and should be taken advantage of. Books should be read and discussed, not banned.

2. Do banned books play a role in XVI?
They do. In my future world, there are certain books that have become self-fulfilling prophecies and the government doesn't necessarily want people noticing that.

3. Which books in your story are banned? Why?

  • 1984 by George Orwell - Because in XVI, government surveillance is the norm.
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley - It is not so far from certain aspects of society in XVI.
  • Mars Rising (a fictional book that I just might have to write!) It’s about a revolt of the miners
  • on Mars.

4. Why did you decide to feature banned books in your story?
In any future society where the government wants to control the general population, it must
make them stop thinking for themselves. Reading books is a key to unlocking critical thought
processes - therefore, any totalitarian government would need to control what reading materials
their citizens would have access to.

5. What are your favorite banned books?

  • Harry Potter - all seven!
  • Gone With The Wind (hard to believe this book was ever banned!)
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Call of the Wild
  • Brideshead, Revisited

Because this is Week 14 of the 16 Weeks to XVI, we’re got 14 children's books that have, at
some point, been challenged/banned. For this week's contest, (open from Thursday morning to
next Thursday at midnight) commenters (either here or on Julia’s blogwill be offered their choice of one of these fabulous books as a prize!

  1. ttyl by Lauren Myracle
  2. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
  3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
  4. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  5. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  6. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
  7. My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
  8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
  9. The Color Purple, Alice Walker
  10. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
  11. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  12. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  13. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  14. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Beth - thanks so much for having me here today on the countdown to the release of my book.
But, mostly, I’m glad to be here and to be able to talk a little bit about book banning, why it’s
wrong and why people need to read banned books and write books that will be challenged.
Because as writers, I think we have been given an internal charge to be truth-tellers and not to be
queasy about laying out the hard stuff! Thanks again!

There you have it, guys! Now, go forth and comment--and be like the cool kids: Read Banned Books!
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