Banning book led to new books which led to…

Coincidences happened this week.

#speakloudly and banned books and lots of reading started it all off.

I’d already read SPEAK. Loved it. Had no problems with it.

I wanted to read a banned book I hadn’t heard about yet. One I probably wouldn’t want my 12 year old daughter to read. Yet. I stumbled upon CRANK by Ellen Hopkins. An incredible free verse novel following the path of a girl getting high on crank (meth) and the downward spiral of her life. Incredible. Moving. Poetic. Heartfelt. Loved it.

And it does happen. In high school, I had a friend. A nice boy. No reason to think otherwise. In fact, I had a crush on him.

I came to school one day to learn he was in a drug rehab. He snuck out his window at night and was probably high on drugs when he was in school, sitting in front of me in British Lit.

It happens.

So after reading Crank and loving the free-verse novel, I decided to enter Caroline Starr Rose’s free verse novel challenge. Read 5 free verse novel before the end of 2010. I could do that. I read three this week. I’m waiting for one on library loan. And another one from Amazon. Oh and I read I Heart You, You Haunt Me earlier in the year. Done.

And there are benefits to reading and writing poetry that will help your prose.

The flow of language.
              Word choice.
                          Use of visual imagery.

White space.

Less is more.
Writing tight.
                  Word economy.
                            Getting to the point fast.

And the last coincidence? My daughter signed out SPEAK from the library this week. I think it was a test. Am I totally comfortable with her reading it at twelve? Not really. (But, hey, after reading Mockingjay, SPEAK is a walk in the park.)

Did you read any banned books? Do you write poetry to help your prose? Up for the free verse novel challenge?

, , , , ,

18 Responses to Banning book led to new books which led to…

  1. Quinn October 1, 2010 at 6:38 am #

    I haven’t read any banned books this week; I suppose I should.

    I haven’t read or written any poetry to help with my prose, but I used to write a lot of poetry.

  2. Misha October 1, 2010 at 7:22 am #

    Poetry definitely helps to get your brain to think in terms of better words for a given idea…

    I don’t write poetry just for that, though.

  3. Carole Anne Carr October 1, 2010 at 9:54 am #

    You make me very envious, poetry is my first love, used to write a great deal, wish I could just devote more time to it. Good luck with the reading or those banned books. Hugs..

    • Laura October 1, 2010 at 10:33 am #

      Carole – Writing poetry is fun and it’s not until I dabbled in it that I discovered I really like it.

      Misha – Poetry def. makes me think of that stronger more visual word which I think would carry over to my writing.

      Quinn – Don’t feel guilty about not reading any banned books. I’ve read a lot in my life without even knowing it!

  4. T. Anne October 1, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    I haven’t read speak yet. I need to get a hold of it. I love me a good banned book. 😉

  5. Stina Lindenblatt October 1, 2010 at 2:26 pm #

    Did you know Crank is based on Ellen’s daughter? So it’s definitely real life.

    I’ve read Speak and Twenty Boy Summer (own them both). I’m not sure what other banned books I’ve read lately. I usually don’t pay attention to what’s being banned. I’m sure I’ve got several (including Ellen’s) which are on someone’s hit list. 😉

  6. Laura Marcella October 1, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

    Free verse novels are pretty cool. I haven’t read any adult ones yet, just middle-grade free verse. I think that’d be cool to try and write!

    I have lots of banned books on my shelves! Whoa, am I rebel or what?! 😉

  7. Creepy Query Girl October 1, 2010 at 2:42 pm #

    I’ve never read ‘speak’ and I don’t know if I’ve ever read any banned books. I remember in high school though my teacher once told me that most of the books we read as part of our curriculum (Mark Twain, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, etc..) were once banned books. I don’t have a lot of experience with free verse books but I’ll have to try one out and see!

    • Laura October 1, 2010 at 2:56 pm #

      Katie – When I saw some books that had been banned I was suprised at how many I’d read like Bridge to Terabithia, some of Roald Dahl’s work, Harry Potter…

      Laura – You are a total rebel! 🙂

      STina – Yes I did know that which made the story all the more powerful to me.

      T.Anne – You’ll enjoy Speak. I promise.

  8. Susan R. Mills October 1, 2010 at 4:49 pm #

    I used to write poetry all the time. I haven’t done it in a while, but you’ve inspired me to take it back up.

  9. Sherrie Petersen October 1, 2010 at 5:56 pm #

    I signed up for the same challenge a while back. I’m no poet, but I do love the sparse language and use of words in verse novels. I haven’t read any banned books this week. I guess I’ll need to pick from one of the hundreds on my shelves. I must have a radar for buying banned books 🙂

  10. Laura Pauling October 1, 2010 at 6:28 pm #

    Susan – I think it does help to hone certain skills.

    Sherrie – I think banned books are always good. The authors were brave enough to explore certain topics without worrying about readership. They were truthful.

  11. Len October 1, 2010 at 6:33 pm #

    A month ago, I saw Speak on the shelves while browsing and looking for new books to read in a second hand bookshop and I didn’t bother getting it, only to regret it later! Now I must really have a copy of this and read it from start to finish.

    I’ve heard that To Kill A Mockingbird was banned in 2009 but can’t understand why. I’ve read it and loved it. I love the characters, esp. Scout. I’d love to know more banned books so I can read all of them, Laura!

    About poetry, you know what? Once I got stuck and couldn’t finish a chapter of my story. A very very good friend of mine told me to read poetry to get my mind working again….for some reason, it worked! Don’t know why…I guess there’s magic in poetry? 🙂

    BTW, I have an award for you on my blog 🙂

  12. Karen Lange October 1, 2010 at 7:02 pm #

    I read poetry sometimes to inspire my writing. Haven’t tried writing any in a while. Except for a limerick with one of my tutoring students…
    Have a great weekend!

  13. patti October 2, 2010 at 10:56 pm #

    Would LOVE to read a book this week–but am snowed under with my own writing.

    A thought-provoking post!
    I would like to read Crank.
    Plan to read Crank.
    Will read Crank.

  14. Jemi Fraser October 3, 2010 at 1:23 am #

    I have a copy of Speak in my class – along with about 30 more books from these ridiculous banned/threatened book lists! I try to read at least one aloud each year – this year I think it’ll be A Wrinkle in Time! 🙂

  15. Talli Roland October 3, 2010 at 11:23 am #

    That sounds like an amazing book.

    I’m not sure I’d have the patience to write a book in free verse, though!

  16. Erin October 4, 2010 at 1:43 am #

    Hi Laura! I rarely (if ever) write poetry but I like what you said about that… it makes total sense that writing poetry would help my prose skills.

Leave a Reply