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For the gossip mongers of BRC
September 25, 2014
Hi,

How have you been? I know this issue of Book Lovers Club News is reaching you after a gap of two months and I want to apologize to you for this. I have to find a way to make this issue a regular monthly feature.

We have a lot of spice in store for you in this issue of the Book Lovers Club News! It is about controversies surrounding our favorite books. Literature is known to reflect popular culture, to provoke thought and to have an impact on its readership. For these reasons many ‘now-famous’ books have been notorious and censored at the time of their publishing. History is replete with examples of books that were banned, books that caused revolutions, and even books that caused their promoters to be executed!

While it is beyond our scope to discuss all such instances of censorship and controversy, we can definitely ponder on the controversies that surrounded some of the books currently hosted on the book-review-circle.com.

Here's the Scoop

English As She Is Spoke Uncle Tom’s Cabin , by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1852), is a powerful novel that is considered to have stirred up abolitionist sentiments and triggered the American Civil War of 1861. The novel depicts lives of slaves at very close quarters and questions the tenets of slavery. Because of the strong anti-slavery sentiments this novel aroused at the time of its publishing, Stowe received much public acclaim and international popularity.

Catcher in the Rye ,by J.D.Salinger (1952), is meant for the young adult readership. But its use of curse words and its depiction of a bohemian, rebellious main character led the book to be ostracized by literary critics of the time. The protagonist suffers mental depression and a nervous breakdown. He is also sexually inquisitive. Moral issues raised by the novel were considered too rebellious for the youth of its time. It was censored in American schools. The book has also been loved by many and has been on many bestseller lists since then.

The Color Purple , by Alice Walker (1982), is about the misery and liberation of a sexually exploited black woman. The book was considered too bold for its readers because of its explicit sexual nature, racial stereotyping and transgression of gender roles. Men are depicted as unreasonable, aggressive and oppressive. Women are depicted as feeble, poor and exploited. The book unleashed a storm of heated debates about black cultural representation.

Harry Potter , by J.K.Rowling (1997), was an instant bestseller from the time that it was published. Its tales of magic, violence and gore have been well received by its target readership of young adults. The same content that has been lapped up by its readers is also the focus of a lot of religious debates. The book seems to glamorize witchcraft and is therefore considered by many to go against the tenets of Christianity.

Da Vinci Code , by Dan Brown (2003), was yet another sensational best seller which focused on some central Christian beliefs. The plot puts the Church in bad light and propagates fictitious beliefs about Christianity. It openly accuses the Church to have plotted against the successors of Jesus Christ and questions the concept of a sensitive Christian belief ‘The Holy Grail’. It is understandable why this book stoked so much controversy.

Book Review Circle gossip

As if all of the above gossip was not enough, here is some more: while researching controversies on literary books, I came across this very amusing controversy on a book called English As She Is Spoke. Published in 1883, it was supposed to be a guide book to the English language meant for non-English travelers. Unfortunately, the author, Pedro Carolino, was not a native English speaker. He used a dictionary to literally translate common English word usage- the result was hilarious. So ‘walls have ears’ is written as ‘the walls have hearsay’ and ‘he is crawling’ is written as ‘he go to four feet’!

Book Review Circle suggested read:

The Holy Bible, The Quran and The Communist Manifesto are three books that have mobilized huge communities and stoked many heated debates at the same time. They are on my reading list. Let me suggest them to you also.

Test your Literary Quotient

See if you know answers to the following:
  1. Name the book that put Helen Keller in the middle of a critical controversy
  2. Name the extremely popular religious book that depicts God as ruthless, merciless and self-righteous
  3. Name the book by Vladimir Nabokov that glamorized pedophilia

Answers

  1. The Frost King
  2. The Holy Bible (Old Testament)
  3. Lolita
Do write in to me at feedback@book-review-circle.com with your comments, updates and suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you.

Ok. I will leave you to munch on that.

Happy reading till we meet again.

Ashmita

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