Sunday, September 25, 2011

Banned Books Week: Thanks, Knuckle-Draggers!

"The problem of [people who ban books], as I see it, is that they are extremely unskilled readers.  They may know, superficially, the meaning of each word on a page, but they are incapable of perceiving what is really happening, what is being expressed, and what all the words add up to." 
                  -Margaret Laurence-

On one hand, I hate that we have such a thing as banned or challenged books.  When I think of those who would restrict reading usually for the most brain-dead of reasons, I can barely speak.  Only jaggedly broken cursing comes out.  Sometimes froth as well.  Of course these wretched creatures serve a purpose; they insure that a book will be read widely since they've plastered it with their clumsily misspelled 'forbidden fruit' label.

On the other hand, I can't help but get a thrill at these lists that give me new ideas for my TBR.  I like to refer these lists because there's such a strong representation of YA, an area in which I could really use a boost.  Although I'm hoping that book banning ends, I'm not a fool.  There will always be knuckle-draggers amongst us.  So I'll console myself by wondering what gems will be on the list for 2010 and 2011.

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling.  I've read 1-5.

2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.  Looks promising.

3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier.  I read this.  

4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell.  I wonder about this book.

5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck.  I read this.  It cheers me to think that somewhere, Steinbeck is smiling about being banned.

6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou.  I read this one.  Such powerful imagery.  

7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz.

8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman.

9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Myracle, Lauren.  This makes me think of another chat/text acronym:  wtf?

10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky.  This one's been on my radar for a while.  I didn't know it was banned.  Now I must have it.

11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers

12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris.  Whatever it is, the knuckle-draggers don't want their kids knowing anything about it.

13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey.  Oh, please. [eye rolling]

14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain.  I read this.   I'm a little surprised that it's not nestling up there in the #1 spot.

15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison.  I read this one.

16. Forever, by Judy Blume.  I read this when I was a teenager.  Gotta say, there was a lot of useful information there.

17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker.  I read this.

18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous. I read this one.   I think the knuckle-draggers are missing the point.  This book was created to scare young teens away from drug use.

19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger.  I read this.  There will always be goddam crumby phonies who want to banish Holden.

20. King and King, by Linda de Haan.  Hmm, don't know this one.

21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.  I read this one in 9th grade.  Twice.  It's on my Pulitzer shelf.

22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar.  I can only imagine.

23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry.  I read this.  Must be the "stirrings" that rile up some readers, although calling a knuckle-dragger a reader is too much of a compliment.

24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak.  I read this.

25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan.  Interesting title.  

26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison.  I read this.

27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier.  I want to read this one.

28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson.  I read this.  Sometimes, when I see a book on the list, I just want to give out an anguished cry of "Why?"  But then, I probably don't want to hear the stupid reason.

29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney.

30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier.

31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones.  Just the title is enough to make waves in the knuckle-dragger's tiny little brain.

32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya.  Oh, guilt.  I keep meaning to read this book.  Since it's banned...

33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson.  I read this.  It sticks out in my mind because the autopsy scene was so graphic I had to put the book down, run to the bathroom and vomit.  That's vivid writing.  Maybe that's what happened to some knuckle-draggers and inclusion on the list is their revenge.

34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler.  I love the title.  I wish I had a YA connection that I could borrow books from.

35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison.  Again, the title is enough to make a K-D go all Tipper Gore on an author's ass.

36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley.  I must get to this someday.

37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris.  What?  What's amazing?

38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles.  What?

39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane.  I want to read this one.

40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank.  I noticed that this author has a couple of books on this list.  

41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher.

42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi.

43. Blubber, by Judy Blume.  I read this.

44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher.  Wow, Chris Crutcher -- you've got 'em stirred up.  I must investigate.

45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly.  Sounds interesting.

46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut.  It's on my TBR.

47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, by George Beard.  If this is like Captain Underpants, I am so there.

48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez.

49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey.  I must read this.

50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.  I read this.

51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan.  

52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson.  I want to read this one.

53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco

54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole

55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Greene.  I read this in 9th grade.  Over and over.  You could barely pry it from my hands.

56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester.  Wow!  Way to get it right out there with the title.  K-Ds aren't known for their appreciation of subtlety.

57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause.  I'm so glad that there's internet where I can read plot synopses all week long.

58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going.

59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes

60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson.  I read this.

61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle.  Eric Carle?

62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard.

63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney.

64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park.

65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien.  I have to read this.  I'm ashamed that I haven't already.

66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor.  It's on my wishlist. 

67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham.  I read this.

68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez.

69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury.  On the TBR. Heh. Irony.

70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen.  I haven't read this, but if it's Gary Paulsen, it's OK by me.

71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park.  I haven't read this, but I heard that Junie is considered to be too mouthy and stubborn -- in other words a normal child.

72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison.  Wow, Toni Morrison.  You might as well bring your furniture and books and move in.

73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras. Heh.

74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold.  I read this.

75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry.  I don't know this series.  Must go see why K-Ds object to Anastasia.  Probably because they can't spell or pronounce her name.

76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving.  It's on my TBR.

77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert.

78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein.  The K-Ds probably brought lighted torches for this one.

79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss.  On my wishlist.

80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck.  I read this.  Can't figure out which part upset the poor little K-Ds, so I'll start a whole new category:  If I like it, it must be a 'bad' book!

81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright.  I've read excepts from this.  Richard Wright is terrifyingly intelligent and tells it exactly as it was for him.  I can see why that would scare the shit out of a K-D.

82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill.  Deal with what?

83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds.  I'm sure the detour is what caused it to end up on this list.

84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins.  Hmmm...gotta know more about this one.

85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher.  Wishlist.

86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick.  I have a copy of Sold on my TBR.  I can almost guess what this one is about.  

87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume.  I read this, but I'm not sure...I think they just see Judy Blume's name and toss her onto the pile.

88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood.  Oh, come on, knuckle-draggers!  You'd love it like crazy if the United States was just like this!

89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger.  I have wanted to read this one for a while.  I'm puzzled by its inclusion on the list.  I'm guessing that football players don't always talk like they're in Sunday school.

90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle.  Oh, I feel so guilty that I haven't read this book yet.

91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George.  On my wishlist.

92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar.  I loved Holes, so I know I want to read this one.

93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard

94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine.  Oh, come on, now.

95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix

96. Grendel, by John Gardner.  I read this.

97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende.  On my wishlist.

98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte.  Sounds interesting.

99. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume.  I read this.  Not one of my favorites, but I love that she broke new ground. Unfortunately, she's had those damn K-Ds riled up ever since.

100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank. Must investigate.


A Library Girl said...

Let's see... I've read 1, 8, 13, 14, 20, 23, 32 (required for an English assignment, so I will always have bad memories of it), 35, 36, 57, 69, 91, 94 (so very many of them), possibly 95, and 97.

jenclair said...

OK, I've read 1, 3, 5, 6, 14, 15, 18, 19, 21, 25, 26, 33, 36, 46, 49, 50, 55, 67, 69, 72, 80, 89, 96.

I've never read any Judy Blume, but I read a lot of Robert Cormier that have appeared on other banned book lists. May have read some of the other YA books in a library science course on YA, but they began to run together.

I'm always surprised at some of the books that appear on banned book lists!

Care said...

I was just curious about what books on my shelves are of the banned variety and YAY! I have Go Ask Alice! So I will read that one next. Thank you.

Kathleen said...

I'm usually appalled when I look at the banned book lists and realize how small the minds of the people who banned the books must be. I'm glad to say that I've read many of these and hope to read many more!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

SO many great reads listed here...

Tami said...

Always cracks me up that Farenheit 451 - THE book about banning books is on the banned book list. (say that 5 times fast) There are a lot of familiar names on your list, but I can't say I've read alot of them - not because I object to them, just haven't gotten to it, or they aren't my "thing". But A Time to Kill???? If that's an example of what gets banned, it makes you wonder if the objecters actually READ the books or just do google searches for objectionable words like Klu Klux Klan?

Bookfool said...

That was fun! I had the same reaction when I saw Eric Carle on the list. Say, what? What could possibly be offensive in an Eric Carle book?

I do think I can guess that it's probably the graphic rape scene, not the KKK, that put A Time to Kill on that list, though. That still haunts me.

Alexander said...

Interesting list you made here! Thanks for all the information!

Unruly Reader said...

OK, your post just completely cracked me up. Repeatedly.

I once got to talk with Lois Lowry (amazing!) and she said they tried to ban "Anastasia Again" because Anastasia says she's going to throw herself out the window. (It's a ground-floor window, so it's a family joke that she says that.) I was appalled, because as a kid, I thought that scene was so *funny.* (still do)

I loved "Summer of My German Soldier," too. The height of adolescent romantic longing for the Forbidden!

Jenny said...

Lots of these books don't ever get banned, just "challenged," because some parent or other thinks they are not age-appropriate, either for the curriculum or for the elem. school library. My five-year-old's teacher was having them read Gary Paulsen's Hatchet before they went camping. I adore Gary Paulsen. I want everyone, including my daughter, to read Gary Paulsen. Hatchet is a great book. But at five, just before going camping, it was scaring the bejeesus out of her and her classmates. Not to mention the themes she couldn't grasp at that age, like the adultery and the depression. So does that count as "banning" it, if I think it's not appropriate for her age? Am I a knuckle-dragger? I just think these discussions are more complicated than they're sometimes painted.

Bybee said...

I would NEVER call you a knuckle-dragger.

Citizen Reader said...

Loved your comments on this list. Woe to the knuckle dragger who comes between you and any of these books.

I also don't understand why anyone would ban "A Day no Pigs Would Die." A great book.