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Topic: Controversial Books

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Subject: Controversial Books
Date Posted: 5/22/2008 9:34 AM ET
Member Since: 11/29/2005
Posts: 953
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I'm reading Brothel: Mustang Ranch and It's Women by Alexia Albert and really enjoying it. I've noticed that I get mixed looks and remarks when people have noticed me reading it so I would put it as a controversial book. Prostitution is obviously a taboo topic but this book really give another side of their story and an insight into their world. 

 I was just curious as to what other books fall in this category and have been read around here.

Lynn S. (lsuth) - ,
Date Posted: 5/22/2008 10:13 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2008
Posts: 48
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I got a similar reaction during GW Bush's first term in office when I was reding Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President by James Hatfield.

I know at one point the book was pulled from the marketplace.

Date Posted: 5/22/2008 10:17 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 150
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i was reading "Candy Girl: a year in the life of an unlikely stripper" while waiting to pick up my daughter from Kindergarten and it certainly generated some odd looks...as well as a really fun conversation with the two other moms who were brave enough to ask me about it.   i think "controversial" titles are good conversation starters!

Date Posted: 5/22/2008 4:38 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2006
Posts: 296
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For me, Sperm Wars, definitely. Ordinarily, sperm's not my favorite ice-breaker, but it does leads to interesting conversation.

Date Posted: 5/22/2008 6:15 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2008
Posts: 79
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Kate Bornstein's My Gender Workbook and 101 Alternatives to Teen Suicide will definately get you some odd stares.  I'm glad to see both have quite a few people wishing for them as she is not so well known.

Date Posted: 5/22/2008 6:20 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2006
Posts: 2,246
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Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I thought people in my book club were going to come to blows over the subject matter, and we did have one person quit the club over it, which was a shame. Nothing on the cover, however, to give you away unless the onlooker has read the book, too.

Date Posted: 5/23/2008 9:18 AM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 6,069
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Hmmm...I recall when Never Let Me Go came out and the rave reviews.  I read it with true bafflement.  I was forcing myself to continue at times, so very bored yet realizing the potential, sure it would improve.  I was wrong.  I'd forgotten about this book, but now that you've reminded me, Les, I'd say that for me, it was one of the biggest disappointments I've yet to read.  It annoyed me.

(Hey, Les, had really hoped to see you over in the Memoirs thread.  You must have so very much to contribute.)

Date Posted: 5/24/2008 3:05 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2006
Posts: 2,246
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Bonnie, I was very much taken aback by the book. I'm not much for dystopian novels - present reality is dystopia enough for me, thanks - and if I'd known, I probably would not have read it. I started out mildly interested, and then I couldn't leave it alone, like a sore tooth. He places clues here and there so gently, and I began to get an idea of where it was going, and kept reading, thinking "Nah, that's not what this is about." But truly, people at my otherwise very quiet and civilized book club were shouting at one another over it. One member was shaking his cane at another member and broke a lamp. Rowdy times for us old folks.

Dragging this back on topic, but taking it back 40 years, my wife recalls having someone on a bus rip The Population Bomb by Paul Ehrlich right out of her hands and start tearing it up and stomping on it. The book discusses overpopulation of the earth. Not likely to occasion such wrath nowadays, but at the time, it was rather like Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.

PS, Bonnie, found the memoir thread, thanks to a PM from L.

Date Posted: 5/24/2008 9:09 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 6,069
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Oh, goodness.  I can't imagine what I would do if someone ripped a book out of my hands and destroyed it.  Of course, the times are very different, and Marilyn is a lady.

What an image I have of some geezer shaking his cane and smashing a lamp!

But you know, I wasn't crazy about the author's voice, his style.  It was the first, and last time, I read him.  I am somewhat familiar with who he is.  Is he British, and didn't he write The Remains of the Day?  I cannot get much into books with that British tone and voice.  I shudder.  But, at first, like you I was fascinated, and saw the potential for a heckuva great controversial story.  It just fizzled right out for me.

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 5/25/2008 4:06 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Les/Bonnie - Dang, now I want to read it just to see what it was about!  But I'll take your word for it, that it was a stinker.

If someone ripped a book out of my hands, they'd better be ready for a couple missing teeth! ;)

ETA:  Just discovered I have it on my reminder list, and had at one time, sent it to someone here.  Hummm....I wonder what made me send it out rather than keep it...?   I'm sure it's a book I bought at a FOL sale.

Last Edited on: 5/25/08 4:10 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/25/2008 9:02 AM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2006
Posts: 2,246
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L, if you want to know the plot, PM me and I'll give you the 5 cent tour. I enjoyed Remains of the Day, and if you read that and liked the style and tone, you'll be fine with the style of Never Let Me Go. The subject matter is another thing entirely.

Re: Marilyn and the guy on the bus: I asked her what she did, and she blushed and said she does not remember. That means one of two things - either she burst into tears or she kneed the man in the crotch. She does remember that the bus driver kicked the man off the bus, so I'm voting for tears. Money was hard to hang on to in those days of college loans to pay and children to help raise, and she would have gone without lunch a few days in order to buy a paperback book.

Date Posted: 5/26/2008 11:04 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 422
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Ok, now we all want to put a hit out on the biblio-abuser on the bus!

I'm with L, I would have left him gasping... You can PM me the plot of NLMG too, Les.

Date Posted: 5/26/2008 5:12 PM ET
Member Since: 5/9/2006
Posts: 1,760
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Les, would you PM me the plot of NLNG also? I just have to know now.  Thanks

Date Posted: 5/27/2008 10:30 AM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
Posts: 1,366
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I can't imagine anyone ripping LIF OF PI out of my hands, (!) but my book club found it controversial.  Half of it loved it and thought it was brilliant.  The other half thought it was stupid ( I'm putting it kindly)  I loved it, but only after reading again.

Date Posted: 5/27/2008 10:36 AM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 5,052
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A while back I read Ann Fessler's The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade.  I found it very enlightening, but very sad.