Saturday, February 21

Monday, January 26

5 Quiller Books I Read in the Past Five Years

Why hello there, quillers! Today I am participating in blog hop, run by Living Several Lives, where I share the best books I read from 2010 through 2014. So, sit back, enjoy, and be in to win an ebook of one of the five. Also, don't forget to head over to Living Several Lives for more participating blogs, their top fives, and even more chances to win great books.


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Saturday, October 11

Fiction Doesn't Give You STIs

Today's post includes sexual content, so if that makes you uncomfortable, click here to read about Hedgehogs in Literature.

I was never much interested in reading romance/erotic novels. They just seemed like a lot of bare chests and bosom thrusting. Lately, however, I've started reading more of them. They're like my guilty pleasure...without the guilty part.

Yes, some of these books are bare-chested bosom-thrusters, but others are excellent reads with good plot and character development, and tension that exceeds the sexual. The sex scenes are sensual...but there is one thing that continues to pull me away from the throes of fictitious passion. That is characters who are adamant about using prophylactics...except when they're engaging in oral sex.

It seems to me that if you are going to go to the length of using protection, you shouldn't half-ass the situation. The chances of getting an STI is considerably lower than that of infection being transmitted through vaginal or anal sex, but that doesn't diminish the risk. It's like when you see a product in a store with a shiny new label announcing, '"Now with 25% less fat!" That doesn't translate to "This is healthy!" It doesn't even give you an actual statistic.

Readers don't turn to fiction for education. Authors, understandably, don't want to be seen as shoving sex ed down their readers'- they don't want to write down to their audience. Some might argue that it even subtracts from the sensuality of the moment to clarify that "Remember, kiddos - no glove, no love!" Except that in the novels I read, characters all-too-often make a big deal about having safe sex. It just so happens that their caution doesn't cover all the bases.

It is one thing for fictional characters to be ignorant of the likelihood of getting an STI from oral sex. In fact, I might just write it off as an author's intentional reflection of reality. Only, it happens all the time. I can only think of two titles off the top of my head where the characters either get tested or use a condom before performing fellatio. Which leads me to wonder if it is in fact the characters who are ignorant, or the authors themselves.

There are several things that make me balk when I read romance novels. They often evoke my cynical side, but this is more disconcerting than humorous. Of course, I still enjoy these books. You can't get an STI from reading a novel...but it kind of bothers me that you apparently can't get one from being a fictional character in one either.

If you read or write about sexy times between fictitious personas, what do you think about this "only sometimes" rule when it comes to safe sex?

Wednesday, September 24

I Dream of Banned Books

"I wish my book would be banned."

"I've always wanted to write a banned book..."

"I just had my first book banned! I'm so excited!"

This week is Banned Books Week. It is when we celebrate, not the status of being banned, but the books themselves. Yet, while I wish I could file the above quotes under the title 'Things Writers Would Never Say,' I cannot.

Throughout history and across the globe, people have fought to silence the voices of authors and breed ignorance. Even now, all over the world, censorship and the banning of books is still rife.

So we strive. We band together and stand up against those who would seek to ban books. We embrace and share stories. We celebrate them. However, there are still many writers - both published and aspiring - who yearn to have one of their own books reach banned status. They hope to join the ranks of numerous great authors and novels who have graced the ever-growing list of banned books.

To desire your own book to be banned is to inadvertently ask for the increase of censorship. It is to place your own validation in the hands of people who would keep your writing from those you most want to reach. Yes, many prodigious authors have had their books banned, but a banned book is not a ticket to the cool kids' table. There is no exclusive club you need a VIP pass for. We are a collective, celebrating and promoting the power and unification of literature.

Authors today who have their books banned are uninvited from speaking at schools and events. Their work is actively kept from reaching people - of all ages - who need to read them most. Teenagers who feel alienated. Children who don't see themselves represented in mainstream media. People of all genders, sexualities, and denominations, who are oppressed, assaulted, imprisoned, and killed because of who they are and what they believe in. These authors don't revel in the status of having a banned book. They stand up against censorship so that their words might make it into the hands of someone who will feel connected, empowered and inspired because of them.

Banned Books Week does not exist to promote books in order to turn a profit or create a string of "controversial best-sellers." It is vital because we are elevating literature and fighting against censorship.

Embrace banned books - read them, support them, share them - but don't make a banned book your dream. Make it your goal to write a book that can be accessed by anyone, and do everything in your power to make that possible.

What are your thoughts? Is having a book banned something to aspire to?

Monday, September 22

Newbs and Trolls: A Hobbit's Tale

In accordance with the FTC, Quill Café would like to disclose that the reviewer’s father purchased this book at an airport, even though he already owned a copy. The opinions expressed are hers alone and no monetary compensation was offered to her by the author or publisher.

I finished reading The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein - after twelve years or so - just before the second film adaptation was released at the end of 2013. Since then, I have kept my feelings about the novel mostly to myself. Today, on Hobbit Day, that changes.