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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Celebrate the Holidays with Books!

Have you ever finished a book and immediately thought- "Who else has read this?"- because it got you feeling all sorts of emotions and you just need to discuss it with someone?

With the holiday season quickly approaching, try creating a new family tradition by selecting a book for everyone to read in advance and discuss at dinner. This is a great way to encourage your family and friends to read more and share the experience with them.

A great selection would be Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. You can read more about this book here:

Books can have the power to unite us by opening our minds and hearts to new and different ways of thinking, a perfect way to celebrate the holidays and the joy of reading!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Reading Anna Karenina

I wanted to check in because I haven't had a new post in little while. I'm still reading Anna Karenina. I am nearing the half-way point. I am thoroughly enjoying the book but life has been interfering with my reading schedule as of late. This novel is much easier to read than I was anticipating and the storyline is incredible. I am excited to finish it and see the new film adaptation.

What are you currently reading?


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Banned Book Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Laurel-Rain from Story Corner for winning The Grapes of Wrath, my giveaway during the Banned Books Week Celebration!
Keep reading banned books and celebrating your freedom to read!
Stay tuned to The Key to the Gate for more giveaways soon!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Ever Growing TBR Pile

I am excited to read these two books that I recently purchased from my local library's book sale: "The Devil in the the White City" by Erik Larson and "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien.

Have you read either of these? If so, what did you think?

Too many books and not enough time.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Celebraring the Freedom to Read Banned Books with The Grapes of Wrath

In celebration of Banned Books Week, I am jumping on the Banned Wagon and participating in a promotion hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. Visit her blog at to check out featured posts from bloggers all around the country celebrating the freedom to read books of their choosing!

According to the ALA (American Library Association): A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.

This year marks the 30th Anniversary of Banned Books Week. Click here,, for a list of Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books from 2000-2009.

I don't know about you, but if someone tells me not to read a certain book because its content is politically incorrect, too graphic or falsely exaggerated, my curiosity is instantly piqued. What is it that they don't want me to learn, understand, or experience?

This year for Banned Books Week, I chose to re-read my favorite book of all time, The Grapes of Wrath. I read this book the summer before my junior year of college and it has never left me. I think often of the Joad family that Steinbeck created with such depth of emotion and grace, especially during the struggling economy our nation is currently facing.

** I am giving away a new copy of The Grapes of Wrath to one, lucky commenter! Comment on this post and let me know what your favorite banned book is to be entered into the giveaway. The deadline to enter will be Friday, Oct. 12.

The Grapes of Wrath
by John Steinbeck

"In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage."
                                                            ~ Chapter Twenty-Five

     To me, there is no book that deserves to be read and cherished more than John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. Since its publication in 1939, the book has been challenged and/or banned for a variety of citations including: exaggeration of situation, communist sympathies, and obscene language and sexual references.
     The story follows the Joad family as they migrate west in search of work after being turned off the land they farmed in Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl. It is a story about the strength of family, the will to survive, both the kindness and cruelty of others, and the unbreakable American spirit. It is a story that takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of emotions.
     It will make you angry and sad. It will make you reevaluate what is important in your life. It will make you question how strong you could be under the worst of circumstances. Lastly, it will leave you hopeful, comforted that the human heart is ultimately good.
     If you haven't read The Grapes of Wrath, I greatly encourage you to do so. Stop whatever you are currently reading and head to your local library or bookstore. Read this book, share this book. It is the Great American Novel.

"Ever'thing we do- seems to me is aimed right at goin' on, Seems that way to me. Even gettin' hungry- even bein' sick; some die but the rest is tougher. Jus' try to live the day, 'jus the day."  
                                                                                      ~ Ma Joad

Book Description (from the Penguin cover): The Grapes of Wrath summed up its era in the way that Uncle Tom's Cabin had summed up the years of slavery before the Civil War. At once naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck's fictional chronicle of the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s is perhaps the most American of American classics. Although it follows the movement of thousands of men and women and the transformation of an entire nation, The Grapes of Wrath is also the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, who are driven off their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided of Haves and Have-Nots, Steinbeck created a drama that is intensively human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its insistence on human dignity.

Keep Reading Banned Books and Celebrate Your Freedom to Read!


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