Go sign up. You can do it right here. Go ahead; I’ll wait.
I signed up to read 10 banned books during the challenge, although knowing myself I’ll read quite a few more.
If you know me at all, even a little bit, you know how much I loathe and detest censorship. I could probably find you dozens of quotations to illustrate my point, but I don’t have time. So I’m just going to do a quick meme. I don’t know if it’s already out there, or if it’s my own invention, but whichever, it’s a fun one. It’s like the 100 Books meme I did the other day, but with a twist.
Out of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000 list, which ones have you read? Bold them. Which ones are in your library? Place a + in front of them. Which ones do you want to read? Italicize them. Which ones will you read for the Banned Books Challenge? Make them large. And which ones are you just not interested in reading? Make them tiny. It’s okay if you don’t want to read a book. Just don’t try to take it away from others who do want to read it! And, because I always have to, there will be comments for some of the books.
Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. That this book gets challenged just seems ridiculous to me. She’s writing about her very painful and difficult life. “Gee, lady, your childhood just sucked. You don’t have the right to share your lessons with anyone else who might be going through them. And, sorry kids, but I don’t care how much you have in common with this woman, you may not read her book to see if you can learn anything from her. So what if she’s an allegedly great poet? Have you read her poems? Why, they’re just as immoral as they can be!”
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier. Read it, didn’t particularly like it, but found it very chilling.
+The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. This is one of those books I “should” read, and have thus refused to do so. I’m sure I’ll read it, but probably not until I’m 86.
+Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling Gosh, rereading this for the Challenge is going to suck. Seriously.
Forever by Judy Blume. I read everything I could find by Judy Blume when I was an angst-ridden teenager.
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson.
Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger I know this book was supposed to be THE book for disenchanted teenagers, but I hated it. I hated it as a teenager, and I hated it as an adult. I haven’t read it in a long time, but I would not be surprised to find that I still hate it.
+The Giver by Lois Lowry This is just a marvelous book, as are the two sequels to it that I have read. I can’t understand why this would be on a challenged/banned book list.
It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine These are silly little scary stories. Nonsensical bosh.
A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Sex by Madonna I’m not a Madonna fan.
Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
+A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle Why does this book get challenged? Some kids who have a lot of trouble fitting in manage to save the father of two of the children and, not so coincidentally, find a place for themselves. Gosh, that’s just terrible! Better get that book off the shelves, Jed!
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous A dreadful little book, but it scared the stink out of me when I was a teenager.
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers I read this for a YA Lit class in college. It’s an outstanding book!!
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
+The Witches by Roald Dahl This is a great book! What’s wrong with it? Does it promote Satanism and the occult? No, a little boy and his grandmother fight the Grand High Witch and kick her butt!
The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry Another one I just don’t get the banning of. This series is hysterical. There’s one book that’s actually about Sam, Anastasia’s little brother, and he’s trying to make a special perfume for his mother’s birthday. He collects all the smells she says she likes, and the result is so funny that I literally was rolling on the floor laughing my ass off.
The Goats by Brock Cole
Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
Blubber by Judy Blume
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
Final Exit by Derek Humphry
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
+To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee I wonder why this one gets banned and challenged so much. Is it the unflattering depictions of the whites in this small town in Alabama? Is it the perceived servile attitude of Calpurnia? Becuase if you think Calpurnia’s servile, you’ve got another think coming! This is an awesome book, with some of the greatest characters ever created.
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Outsiders by S.E. HintonThe Pigman by Paul Zindel I liked this book quite a bit when I was a teenager, and had it and all of Paul Zindel’s other books. I read them ragged. I don’t care so much for them now, but they moved me at a time in my life when I needed what they had to say. Their characters aren’t plastic dolls who move and act in a way no human would. They’re flawed. Just like we are.
Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
Deenie by Judy Blume
+Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes This is a heartbreaking work of staggering genius. When I talk to book people who haven’t read this one, I always either get it for them or encourage them to read it.
Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
+A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein That this book is banned or challenged just tells me that some people have no sense of humor whatsoever, and have never learned to laugh at themselves. That is a very sad thing.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice) I actually only read the first book in this trilogy. It was disgusting. I felt filthy, and hated it so much that instead of taking it back to Half Price Books to sell, I threw it away. I can completely understand why someone wouldn’t want their kids reading it, but no responsible librarian would place it in a school library anyway. So banning it is pointless. If you don’t want to read it, don’t read it.
Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole You’ll notice that I’ve skipped over a lot of these sex and growing up type books. Well, I know about sex. And I don’t have any kids that I need to share these kinds of things with. I’m not being a frigid person who refuses to admit that sex exists. I just don’t have any need or desire to read these.
Cujo by Stephen King There are plenty of Stephen King books I like. There are plenty I don’t. This is one that I’m just not interested in. So I’m not going to read it. If you want to, please, feel free.
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume A girl explores her identity in reference to her faith. Gosh, better get that one off the shelves!
Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
Fade by Robert Cormier
Guess What? by Mem Fox
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
+Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Native Son by Richard Wright
Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Jack by A.M. Homes
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
Carrie by Stephen King
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
Family Secrets by Norma Klein
Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
The Dead Zone by Stephen King
+The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
Private Parts by Howard Stern
Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
Sex Education by Jenny Davis
The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
The other books I plan to read for the challenge I found at some other Banned Book sites and are:
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. I’ve read this many times, and welcome the opportunity to enjoy Silverstein’s nonsense and rebel against narrow-mindedness at the same time!
Ulysses by James Joyce. I’ve never read this one. It seems that I’ve tried it once or twice, but this is as good a time as any to give it another go.
The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Another one that I completely adore.
The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel. This has been on my to-be-read list for quite some time. It’s time to get it off that list and onto the list of books I have read.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. This is another one that I’ve read and reread. It never fails to charm and delight.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I have read this one so many times it’s ridiculous. I’ve given away copies of it during Banned Book Week. This is the best! And what sublime irony that expurgated copies of it were passed out to students!
Figure in the Shadows by John Bellairs. I love John Bellairs, and have everything he published. His books scared the crap out of me when I was a kid. I find them less scary now, but they are no less enthralling.
1984 by George Orwell. When I read that this was challenged/banned due to “pro-Communist sentiments,” my first response was WTF? To the people who think that, I have this to say, “Better to say nothing and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
So what about you? What are your plans? C’mon–be a rebel!