Halloween, Historical Fiction, Reader's Rights, Reviews

Sometimes You Just Need to Give Up

The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow

Maybe it is the years of reading for school that drill into us this compulsion to finish every book even when we aren’t enjoying it.  I am only now, nearly twenty years past my last Summer Reading assignment, able to simply put a book aside or give up reading it altogether when I’m not enjoying it.  I still feel a little guilty but then I just start another – hopefully, more enjoyable – book and the guilt fades.  Other times circumstances help make the decision for you.

The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow by Alyssa Palombo

When NetGalley gave me the opportunity to read The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel, I was thrilled because I’d been intrigued when I saw it on Goodreads and because I love Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I quickly got over my excitement. The narrative is slow, the main character, Katrina, is spoiled and annoying, and the language which is supposed to read as historical just feels stilted and unnatural. But I read some reviews that said that it got better so I forged ahead. The first half of the novel, at least, is a cloying romance between Ichabod and Katrina. And then it was repetitive. I just could not get into it when there were so many other books to be read so I was considering abandoning this one when the lending period ended. So…maybe it does eventually get better, which would explain all of the great reviews The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel has received, but I’ll probably never know because I wasn’t even interested in finding out what happens.

I don’t have a recommendation but I am reading another historical fiction from NetGalley.  V.A. Shannon’s When Winter Comes is based on an actual historical event  – the journey of the Donner party of all things! – rather than a work of fiction but so far it is a much more exciting and interesting read.

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Quotes, Reader's Rights

Quote of the Week

“Censorship and the suppression of reading materials are rarely about family values and almost always about control, about who is snapping the whip, who is saying no, and who is saying go. Censorship’s bottom line is this: if the novel Christine offends me, I don’t want just to make sure it’s kept from my kid; I want to make sure it’s kept from your kid, as well, and all the kids. This bit of intellectual arrogance, undemocratic and as old as time, is best expressed this way: “If it’s bad for me and my family, it’s bad for everyone’s family.”

Yet when books are run out of school classrooms and even out
of school libraries as a result of this idea, I’m never much disturbed not as a citizen, not as a writer, not even as a schoolteacher . . . which I used to be. What I tell kids is, Don’t get mad, get even. Don’t spend time waving signs or carrying petitions around the neighborhood. Instead, run, don’t walk, to the nearest nonschool library or to the local bookstore and get whatever it was that they banned. Read whatever they’re trying to keep out of your eyes and your brain, because that’s exactly what you need to know.”

– Stephen King

Honestly, I could post a quote a day for every day of Banned Books Week (September 24 – September 30) and still have plenty to say.  Censorship isn’t about protection; it is about repression.  READ BANNED BOOKS!