It's Banned Books Week, and since anti-censorship and reading are two things that I can really get behind, I figure I'd do my part to promote awareness. Here are the 100 most frequently challenged books, according to the American Library Association. I've only read 26 of them! I think it's because I was never that fond of Judy Blume. I can't remember which book(s?) of hers I read, though.

1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
2. Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
8. Forever by Judy Blume
9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
15. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
19. Sex by Madonna
20. Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
27. The Witches by Roald Dahl
28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
29. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
30. The Goats by Brock Cole
31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
32. Blubber by Judy Blume
33. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
35. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
36. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
37. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
38. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
40. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
46. Deenie by Judy Blume
47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
48. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
49. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
50. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
53. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
54. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
55. Cujo by Stephen King
56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
58. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
61. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
62. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
63. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
64. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
65. Fade by Robert Cormier
66. Guess What? by Mem Fox
67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
68. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
71. Native Son by Richard Wright
72. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
73. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
74. Jack by A.M. Homes
75. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
76. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
77. Carrie by Stephen King
78. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume

79. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
80. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
81. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
82. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

86. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
87. Private Parts by Howard Stern
88. Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
90. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
92. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
93. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
94. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
95. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
96. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
97. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
98. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
99. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
100. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

I'm not sure which of these were challenged in school libraries, public libraries, or what. Of the ones I've read, I'd say that I wouldn't put the Sleeping Beauty trilogy and the Anarchist Cookbook in a school library, just like I wouldn't give a child a martini. You have to save *some* things for growing up.

I imagine that sex is the primary reason for controversy, with racist language being a close second. But (again, as far as the ones I've read), I don't think that racist language in and of itself promotes racism. Is the sentence "The evil, mean man called him a wop" racist? I guess you could argue that it might teach someone the word "wop," but I think it's better to know that words like that exist, and that they're offensive, and how times have changed, than to be ignorant.

This is coming from someone who (AS AN ILL-JUDGED JOKE!) told a bar full of Quebec engineering students to "speak white"... according to my brand of logic, that was only truly offensive if you think that being called non-white is offensive. If someone called me a redhead, I'd just be puzzled and try to see the joke, because my hair's not red. Same thing with skin tone. Apparently there's a lot more to it than that. Who knew? Well, me, now. I'm lucky to still have all my teeth. Maybe I can say that the book that would have explained the situation was banned from my elementary school library...

Looking back on the list, "promoting the occult" probably was a popular factor too. Sigh. So some kids that can't figure out what fiction is might try chanting nonsense, see it doesn't work, and find some philosophy that does make sense to them. Hm. Maybe I can see why the religious nuts are against it.

Aaaannnyway, how 'bout that local sports team?


It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Arr, and to honour that, the fine R:tAG and me set the sails of our vessel and steered to the Northern California Renaissance Faire, a'cause this were the Weekend o' the Pirate Invasion! Like at the landlubbery Garlic Festival, we were gobsmacked at the size of the fair(e) and the crowds, scupper me wi' a marlinspike else! Luckily though we've dropped anchor we still kept some fitting pirate duds, close-hauled in our many treasure chests, arr! So we blended in, paid for food at appropriate rates (piratical) and enjoyed the day. We were a trifle confused at the jousts (a plaguey daft way of settling fights, prancing around on horses... whip out yer blunderbuss and let the scurvy dog have it between the eyes, I say!) but after seeing the cove with the huge turquoise sombrero, and all the fairies with gauze wings, and the craze for putting animal ears on yer muffin cap, we decided that the whole concept of "period" was plainly as off-course as a sloop in a gale, belike.

Bugger me with a belaying pin, it's going to be hard going to stop talkin' like this. Arr!

Things I've been brooding about...

A city of half a million people, some of whom were shooting at rescuers, had to be evacuated when there was no phone service, no electricity, few roads, and most supply and support depots in the area were in serious trouble also. To say that this would have been a snap except for the eeeevil machinations of the Great Satan George Bush seems... simplistic. I'm no fan of his, but people are talking like his next step is going to be letting rich white hunters go into New Orleans to club poor black people for sport like baby seals. Sure. Right.

Poor people of all colours were affected the most by Katrina, because poor people of all colours are always affected the most, by everything. They have fewer options, fewer resources. They can't afford to move. They can't buy a plane ticket to leave temporarily. They can't even put gas in the car, if they have a car, or spare the money for emergency bottled water. They're more likely to keep their savings in cash, in their house. Even many that aren't technically "poor" still live paycheck to paycheck. Anything, a house fire, a severe illness, even car trouble, can be a heavy burden. Society manages to absorb or ignore individually ruined lives. Only a bulk deal like Katrina seems to get our attention.

It's easy with 20/20 hindsight to see what should have been done, which reports should have been heeded and which ignored. I'm sure there's plenty of room for criticism anyway. Any large group is going to screw up, never mind several large groups trying to work together. I almost envy the people for whom it's axiomatic that anything bad is Bush's fault. Their world is so much simpler. Of course, there are those who are thinking that this happened to New Orleans for roughly the same reasons that Sodom and Gomorrah encountered their difficulties. Their world is simple too.

I just wish I'd seen New Orleans before this happened. I'd always wanted to go. Now I'm thinking I'd better visit Venice when I have the chance.

So, while the weather isn't actually getting warmer, it isn't getting cooler. Trees are dropping their foliage, but it's the pine trees. Seriously, the gutters are full of long brown needles. Pansies are for sale and no-one's snickering at the thought of buying bedding plants in September. No-one is covering their tomatoes. Fall clothing styles mean less pastel, not more fabric. We're going to a company picnic... in October.

There's a new arrival in the household... yes, it's the pitter-patter of a new 150 GB hard drive. R:tAG's once state-of-the-art system is now only good enough for me to check my e-mail and play Puzzle Pirates on. This new system is sweet, though, especially the 20" flatscreen monitor. The UPS guy carried the monitor box to the house and I thought "My, what a strong man," since when I think "20-inch monitor" I automatically think "weight comparable to my own." When I went to pick the box up to move it into the computer room I nearly threw it through the ceiling. I love this monitor. And the case is this huge black-and-silver monolith... R:tAG called me in to see it with the words "The Death Star is fully operational!" There seems to be an S&M club theme happening with cases these days.

Not much else of interest... I just thought I'd post something to reassure people that I'm alive and haven't broken all my fingers or anything. The job hunt continues but I'm thinking I should start being less picky. We'll see how that goes.


Copyright 2006| Blogger Templates by GeckoandFly modified and converted to Blogger Beta by Blogcrowds.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.