Thursday, September 28, 2006

Something That Actually Scares Me

Ok, I was going to talk about the second originator of slasher films, and I will (maybe you'll get two posts today, exciting, yeah?), but first something important.

Apparently this week is Banned Books Week, and I didn't know it. And the Something That Actually Scares Me? Censorship. The American Library Association has compiled a list of the 100 most frequently challenged books of the last decade (1990-2000). They define a "challenge" as a "formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness." And they go on to state that, "According to Judith F. Krug, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom, the number of challenges reflects only incidents reported, and for each reported, four or five remain unreported." So no, the ALA's list isn't completely accurate--it's actually a very conservative estimate!

Some of these books shouldn't be read by small children and certain immature people, but does that mean that they should be removed from the shelves of the local library? No. It means that parents should be regulating what their children are reading right up until the point you know they are mature enough to handle such themes appropriately. This might mean that the library should (and I believe most do) separate their stacks into age appropriate sections, but the ultimate responsibility for what their children read should still fall to the parents. Your 13 year old is not going to find Madonna's Sex in the teen section of your local library.

In my admittedly limited knowledge of the books on this list, I only know of one that might actually be dangerous. The Anarchist Cookbook actually contains recipies for drugs and explosives. In the wrong hands, this book could be dangerous. In the hands of a political science major, however, it could be intriguing, since it was written in response to the Vietnam War and represents a political view that violence is an acceptable means to a political end--a view which the author no longer holds. In fact, the copyright is not held by the author, but rather the publisher, and remains in print and circulated despite the author's requests that it be taken out of print. Again, your 13 year old shouldn't be reading this book, and it's not going to be found in the teen section of your local library!

The Anarchist Cookbook aside, there are many books on the most challenged list that have every right to sit unrestricted on the shelves of your local or school library. Several of them were required reading when I was in school, and rightly so. Some of them I simply do not understand at all why they are on the list. Maybe it's just been so long since I read How To Eat Fried Worms that I've forgotten the recipies for explosives hidden in there... I'm sure that there are books on this list that have been challenged on the basis that they're popular pieces from the Fantasy genre, or display some aspect of the fantastic. (And we all know how I feel about that.) But honestly, there are some that I would encourage anyone with the comprehension abilities to understand what they're reading to pick up right this instant. Everyone should read A Wrinkle In Time. Everyone should read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Books like Bridge to Terabithia deeply influenced me when I was but a boy...

Ok, I've said my piece. Here's the list. Read it and be scared.

Be good to each other
Rev. Josh

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

No comments: