Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association. — http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/
As it turns out, the number one challenged book (well, series, really) in 2013 was Captain Underpants, which my boys happen to love. I’m such a bad mommy.
In the event that you are as horrible as I am, and like to read things that others want to tell you you shouldn’t, I’m giving away a signed paperback copy of Love Comes Later by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar. This is a banned book with a twist. As a foreigner living in Qatar, Mohana made a special effort to make this book as unobjectionable as possible. There is no sex, no foul language, nothing that would cause the book to be banned. Except, apparently, the fact that it’s written about Qatar by a foreigner.
Book Summary: When newlywed Abdulla loses his wife and unborn child in a car accident, the world seems to crumble beneath his feet. Thrust back into living in the family compound, he goes through the motions–work, eat, sleep, repeat. Blaming himself for their deaths, he decides to never marry again but knows that culturally, this is not an option. Three years later, he’s faced with an arranged marriage to his cousin Hind, whom he hasn’t seen in years. Hard-pressed to find a way out, he consents to a yearlong engagement and tries to find a way to end it. What he doesn’t count on, and is unaware of, is Hind’s own reluctance to marry.
Longing for independence, she insists on being allowed to complete a master’s degree in England, a condition Abdulla readily accepts. When she finds an unlikely friend in Indian-American Sangita, she starts down a path
that will ultimately place her future in jeopardy.
The greatest success of Rajakumar’s novel is the emotional journey the reader takes via her rich characters. One cannot help but feel the pressure of the culturally mandated marriage set before Hind and Abdulla. He’s not a real Muslim man if he remains single, and she will never be allowed freedoms without the bondage of a potentially loveless marriage. It’s an impossible situation dictated by a culture that they still deeply respect.
Rajakumar pulls back the veil on life in Qatar to reveal a glimpse of Muslim life rarely seen by Westerners.
Love Comes Later is a 2013 Best Indie Book Award winner, a 2012 Festival of Romance New Talent Award winner, and a 2013 eFestival of Words finalist.
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