new reading list
via ASV: Banned Books Week

I know this is old news to many, but it's new to me. I am, primarily, a book dork; more than any of my other geeky hobbies, I love to read. I still read at least one book a week, ususally more. I always have a book with me, everywhere I go, in case I get stuck having to wait for ten minutes at an appointment or something. I hate sitting and staring at walls (or, worse, reading Pimple magazine at the dentist's office) when I could be entertaining myself. Books have, at times of stress, been my refuge, my island in the storm.

And, while I understand the concern over having your eighth grader picking up a copy of Naked Lunch or a Chuck Palhunik novel, banning a book is not the way to go. The key, as usual (i.e. video games, music, movies) is keeping track of what your kid is reading. Somewhere in Jr. High, I found a copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and when I told my dad I was reading it, he said something like "Isn't that a bit...advanced for you?" Which translates from parent-speak as "Dosen't that have, like, sex jokes and stuff?" To a certain extent, it does, but he let me read it anyway, and, lo and behold, I'm not some kind of freakazoid pervert or anything. Or not so much as to be abnormal, anyway. In fact, books like that, that were probably above my reading level, were a big part of what engendered a love of books in me early on. English classes are important, but often, they don't introduce students to books they actually want to read; they make reading a task. Books like the Hitchhiker's Guide can demonstrate the fun that can be found in books, even if they aren't exactly literature.

The second key to keep in mind, when it comes to banning books, is for everybody to step back, take a deep breath, and get a friggin grip already. Huck Finn is not a racist work. Harry Potter is not satanic. Book banning is one of those fun issues that both major political parties are wrong on; they both scream when censorship is applied to something they like, while aggresively pursuing censorship on stuff they don't like. This is especially egregious, to me, when coming from the right: Who cares what the government-funded schools stock in their library? It takes a Family, right Mr. Santorum? So if your kid comes home with a copy of "Mary has Two Mommies", or, god forbid, "The half-blood Prince", maybe you need to talk to your kid. Tell them about what they're reading, explain the reality an ups and downs of the point of the book to the kid. If it's so bad, forbid your kid from reading it. But don't try to get the government to tell your kid what books they should or should not read. Everybody expects the left to call for legislation of what they think morality should be, the whole point of conservatism is that that isn't the government's job.

The craze over banning fantasy and horror books reminds me of people a decade ago that wanted to ban dungeons and dragons. R.L. Stine is not going to turn your kid into a satanist any more than Gary Gygax was.

Anyway, the top 100 banned books, with bold for ones I've read follows. As with the song poll earlier, I'm surprised just how few of these I've heard of, but in this case I plan to find out:

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

Hm. There's alot of great books on there. A few of my favorites. If I taught High School English, maybe five of them would be requried reading. And there's a few I don't get; I mean, I understand that you don't want your kid reading "Sex", by Madonna, but who's calling for the banning of "The Color Purple"? "To Kill A Mockingbird?" Who the hell is calling for the banning of that?

It's all nonsense. Like I said, there's several there that every kid should read, and several that would make for good wholesome entertainment. Any of the other ones, you should know your kid is reading, and be able to explain why they're good or bad.

That is, of course, assuming that the parents have read (and understood) the books at some point, instead of just firing off angry letters to their school districts, which I seriously doubt.


howdy, thanks for stopping by. what you're looking at is the intermittent ramblings of an iraqi vet, college student, goth-poseur, comic book reading, cheesy horror loving, punk listening, right-leaning, tech-obsessed, poorly typing, proudly self-proclaimed geek. occasionally, probably due to these odd combinations, i like to think i have some interesting things to say; this is where they wind up.

"I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us...We need the books that affect us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside of us.

ace o spades hq
bargain-basement allahpundit
a small victory
army of mom
babalu blog
beautiful atrocities
being american in t o
belmont club
blame bush!
castle argghhh!
citizen smash
the command post
common sense runs wild
curmudgeonly & skeptical, r
curmudgeonly & skeptical, pg-13
dean's world
drill sergeant rob
exit zero
enjoy every sandwich
feisty repartee
fistful of fortnights
free will
four right wing wacos
ghost of a flea
half the sins of mankind
the hatemonger's quarterly
hog on ice
house of plum
id's cage
ilyka damen
incoherant ramblings
in dc journal
the jawa report
knowledge is power
lileks bleat
the llama butchers
memento moron
the mudville gazette
naked villainy
nerf-coated world
those damned pajama people
professor chaos
professor shade
the protocols of the yuppies of zion
protein wisdom
the queen of all evil
seven inches of sense
shinobi, who is a f'n numbers ninja, yo
tall dark and mathteriouth
the nose on your face
the thearapist
this is class warfare
texas best grok
tim worstall
way off bass

other must reads: