Mamma's Choice Reads

I love to read. It's like an addiction for me. I feel naked and lost without a book and pen in my hand. I specifically like to read controversial and/or banned books. I have an active mind and I like to decide for myself whether a book is "good" or "bad". "Offensive" books are all in the eye of the reader. My advice to you? There are too many books to read and just not enough time. If I read a book and find it offensive, I simply put it down and move on to the next one. Here are some books that were labeled controversial, but that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Open your mind and explore the big wide world of books!
~Mamma Sally

His Dark Materials Series:

Author: Phillip Pullman
Reader Age: Teen, Young Adult, Exploring Adults
A series of three novels including The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass 

I was first introduced to this series over the radio. The program was done just after the His Dark Materials series was completed and the final book released to the public. A priest had read the novel and was shocked by the author's "treachery against God and the Church". He was calling for the author's excommunication. All of this excitation of course lead me to want to read the series to see for myself what the controversy was over. On my way home I stopped in and bought a copy and let me tell you, reading this series became my reward for finishing my university homework each night. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this series. There was just enough adventure and excitement to keep me moving through the pages. Of course, the author does explore conventional religion, so if you are sensitive about religious issues keep your mind open. If you're working through a crisis of faith these novels might help you to explore your questions.

The Golden Compass:
"Lyra Belaqua is content to run wild among the scholars of Jordan College with her daemon familiar always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a deadly struggle--a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armored bears. And as she hurtles toward dangers in the cold far North, young Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: she alone is destined to win, or to lose, this more-than-mortal battle."
~from the back cover of The Golden Compass

"Having slipped through a newly formed astral portal, the intrepid Lyra finds herself in the beautiful, haunted world of Cittagazze--a city where soul-eating Specters walk the streets and the wingbeats of distant angels sound against the sky. But she is not without allies. For young Will Parry, in search of his father, has stumbled into this strange new realm via a magic gateway.
Together the enlightened pair forge ahead on a perilous journey between worlds teeming with witches, angels and sorcery--and uncover a deadly secret: an object of extraordinary and devastating power. But with every step, they move closer to an even greater threat--and the shattering truth of their own destiny..."
~from the back cover of The Subtle Knife

"Lyra and Will are in unspeakable danger. With help from the armoured bear, Iorek Byrnison and two tiny Gallivespian spies, they must journey to a grey-lit world where no living soul has ever gone. All the while, Dr. Mary Malone builds a magnificent amber spyglass. An assassin hunts her down. And Lord Asriel, with troops of shining angels, fights his mighty rebellion, a battle of strange allies - and shocking sacrifice.
As war rages and Dust drains from the sky, the fate of the living and the dead finally comes to depend on two children and the simple truth of one simple story."
~from the back cover of The Amber Spyglass

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

Author: Ben H. Winters, original novel by Jane Austen
Recommended Reader Age: Young Adult to Adult
A fan-fiction novel of Sense and Sensibility set to the tune of Sea Monsters!

Wow! What a fun book! When I first came across these fan fiction novels it was in the form of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (check back later for that review!). I was outraged! How dare these men mess with my Jane! I got over myself though and decided to give it a try. I knew that getting my literacy tutor students to read in general would be easier if they were interested in the content. Well, to most people, sea monsters are a bit more interesting than 19th century women's lives. Sure, enough; my students started reading, taking notes and expressing their opinions. So, I decided to keep looking into these fan fiction novels. 

Keep an eye out for this one. Just when you think it's safe to go back into the water, it's not! Just as events start to settle back into daily routine and peace, BAM! all heck breaks loose!

If you're an Austen fan like myself rest easy. The author's of these fan fiction novels stay true to Ms Austen's writing style. They merely take artistic licensing and add in sea monsters at critical moments. Besides, get people interested in the story and eventually they will want to read the original ;)

Sense and Sensibility

Author: Jane Austen
Recommended Reader Age: Adult
Of course the original will always be my favorite!

"Sense and Sensibility is the story of two sisters; pragmatic Elinor and passionate, willful Marianne. When their father, Henry Dashwood, dies, by law his estate must pass to the eldest son from his first marriage. Suddenly homeless and impoverished his current wife and daughters find themselves living in a simple country cottage. The two sisters are soon accepted into their new society. Marianne soon becomes swept up in a passionate love affair with the dashing Willoughby, while Elinor struggles to keep a tight reign on the family purse strings and to keep her feelings for Edward Ferrars, whom she left behind, hidden from her family. Despite their different personalities, they both experience great sorrows in their affairs, but they learn to mix sense with sensibility in a society that is obsessed with both financial and social status."
~from the back cover of Sense and Sensibility

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