TBIF – Thank blog it’s Friday! 10/3/08

Tuesday Thingers: Banned Books Week – The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000 (hosted by The Boston Bibliophile)

For this week’s Tuesday Thingers, I’ve copied the list of the most-challenged books of the 1990s straight from the ALA website. I’ve highlighted the ones I’ve read. Bold what you’ve read, and italicize what you have in your LT library.

  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 (Sort of…I read up through The Mammoth Hunters, and then I guess I lost interest)
  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 (No, but I read Where the Wild Things Are to my son countless times)
  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 (Never read this one, but my son did, in third or fourth grade – he loved Roald Dahl. Should I have stopped him?)
  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 the 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 (I saw the movie, though. It was not nearly as offensive as I might have expected.)
  88. Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford (WHY?)
  89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene (I may have read this, but can’t remember for certain; I do remember it was made into a TV movie with Kristy McNichol back in the late ’70’s, though)
  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’ve read 21 (or 29, if you count all 7 Harry Potter books and 3 from the “Earth’s Children” series), and there are quite a few on here that I’ve never even heard of. Considering this is a list for the 1990’s, though, I’m not all that surprised that so few of them are in my LT library; most of the ones I’ve read are long gone from my possession.

Which of these books have you “challenged” – and by that, I mean “conquered, by reading”?

TEASER TUESDAYS (hosted at Should Be Reading)

Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

Two review books showed up in my mail at the end of last week – both are memoirs.

“During those turbulent times, my aunt Sue was a teacher at one of the most troubled and overcrowded public high schools in Buffalo. A faculty meeting was called to assign teachers a riot-duty position – a place they’d head in an uprising, so as to maintain control of the agitated student body.” (page 72/ARC)
 – Buffalo Gal, by Laura Pedersen

“I looked down at the table. ‘I never understood why she didn’t stay in touch with your family,’ I said.”
 – The Pages in Between: A Holocaust Legacy of Two Families, One Home, by Erin Einhorn

Your turn (looking at you, Janet!) – what are you reading?

“Best” – Booking Through Thursday 

What, in your opinion, is the best book that you haven’t liked? Mind you, I don’t mean your most-hated book–oh, no. I mean the most accomplished, skilled, well-written, impressive book that you just simply didn’t like.
Like, for movies–I can acknowledge that Citizen Kane is a tour de force and is all sorts of wonderful, cinematically speaking, but . . . I just don’t like it. I find it impressive and quite an accomplishment, but it’s not my cup of tea.
So . . . what book (or books) is your Citizen Kane?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

I thought this was an interesting question. Basically, it’s asking you to name a book – the book – that just doesn’t do it for you, even though you can objectively recognize its literary worth .

As it happens, I really didn’t have to think too hard about this one, since it’s probably my stock answer to this sort of query. While the question specifies that it’s not asking about my “most-hated” book, this one would be way up on that list too; I really don’t like it. Neither does Jessica at The Bluestocking Society, since she named the same book, for similar reasons: Wuthering Heights. This is actually the best book I didn’t like twice – I read it a second time to see if my reaction was any better. Nope.

I think there are valid reasons for this book’s place in classic English-language literature – it’s well-written, highly dramatic, captivating, and hard to forget. It may have invented the romantic melodrama with Gothic overtones, and it features one of the all-time archetypal antiheroes. That character is the biggest reason I dislike it so much. If anyone has identified a single redeeming quality in Heathcliff, please let me know what it is. I blame an entire tradition of women trying to “save” men from their tortured souls on this book. Granted, maybe that’s just not my idea of romance, but I think it’s a dangerous mythology, and one that many of us have seen play out countless times in other novels, and probably once or twice among our real-life circles as well. Also, Cathy is just annoying.

(And to be honest, in retrospect I’ve realized that my first husband had some Heathcliff qualities, which doesn’t really help the case for either one of them.)

What really good book – accomplished, skilled, well-written, and impressive – just doesn’t do it for you?

Friday Fill-ins #92

1. October is the tenth month, not the eighth as its name would imply – AND it’s our last month in this apartment! (that’s what I couldn’t talk about last week)
2. Wingnuts of the political kind (from either end of the spectrum) scare me!
3. Leaves are falling all around, it’s very windy (we don’t really get “fall” around here).
4. My favorite horror movie is something I can’t answer because I don’t like them.
5. Good company sharing good food = good memories.
6. It was a dark and stormy night the night we had the big storm.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to goofing off with Tall Paul, tomorrow my plans include errands and chores (including a few moving-related ones, maybe) and Sunday, I want to do whatever didn’t get done on Saturday!

What’s on your calendar this weekend?

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  • Yippee, I have my book with me today and it’s brand spanking new!

    Silas had brought Bod food, true, and left it in the crypt each night for him to eat, but this was, as far as Bod was concerned, the least of the things that Silas did for him. He gave advice, cool, sensible, and unfailingly correct; he knew more than the graveyard folk did, for his nightly excursions into the world outside meant that he was able to describe a world that was current, not hundreds of years out of date; he was unflappable and dependable, had been there every night of Bod’s life, so the idea of the little chapel without its only inhabitant was one that Bod found difficult to conceive of; most of all, he made Bod feel safe.” (page 68)
    – The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman

    The best book that I haven’t liked would be Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. I SO wanted to like it and just didn’t.

    Good luck with your move, Florida! Have a great weekend and thanks for playing!

  • Janet – I haven’t read any Gaiman, but maybe one of these days.

    I didn’t hate Wicked (the book), although it’s definitely in the Top 5 Most Disliked selections of my book club. But even those who couldn’t stand the book loved the musical :-).

  • I liked Wuthering Heights for the same reason you dislike it. She wrote about an anti-hero at a time when it unthinkable. That’s what appeals to me about this book.

    My BTT post!

    Kill word Verification

  • I have read 37 of those books, and I am fine, ha ha.

  • I’ve read 8, maybe 9 depending on which “Where’s Waldo” book they are talking about. I’m surprised they don’t have “The Far Side” collections from Gray Larson. Who comes up with these lists?!

    Hope you have enough people to help with the move!

  • Gautami – I have removed the word verification for comments, thanks to your campaign against it. But I’m afraid you’re not going to convince me to like Wuthering Heights :-). I’m OK with the antihero concept, but Heathcliff is just a prick, if you’ll pardon the expression.

    Kori – Clearly, you are not fazed by controversy. I was a little surprised I hadn’t read more, but there were a lot I’d never even heard of.

    Mike – I’d LOVE to know why Where’s Waldo? was even on this list.

    Will you be in town that weekend to help with the move :-D? No, seriously, we’ll hire movers. We’re too old for the “borrow a friend’s truck and pay everyone in beer” type of move anymore.

  • Pillars of the Earth? Really?

    Anyway, I must really be out of it. I’ve only read 13.

    (from Working Girl)

  • Working Girl – That’s one that I haven’t read.

  • Your response to the BTT question this week especially caught my eye. You read Wuthering Heights twice despite not liking it! Brave woman. 🙂 My first thought in response to this question was One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. I really didn’t care for that one but I felt like I should. I can see the draw to it and even understand why it’s considered a modern classic. I am glad I took the time to read it, but sad that I didn’t get out of it what so many others did.

    You’re moving! What great news! Good luck with the move. I’m still waiting to hear whether I’ll have to move. The way the economy is, I’m pretty sure it won’t happen soon. The city government is saying it will happen–but whether it happens like they hope–in two years–or in ten, no one knows. I just want to know so I can plan, you know?

    I don’t especially like horror movies either. That was a hard one. I asked my husband for help with that one; hence my strange answer. 🙂

    I hope you have a great weekend.

  • Literary Feline – Well, you know, it IS a classic, and I wanted to give it a fair chance :-). But there will NOT be a third time. I haven’t been up to attempting One Hundred Years of Solitude yet.

    I totally know what you mean about wanting to know so you can plan. I hope you’re not in limbo much longer, but you’re probably right about the economic uncertainty affecting what happens. This whole moving thing has happened pretty quickly for us, so we’ve been lucky in that respect – but we don’t have a lot of time to get everything done, so that’s not so good :-).

  • I still want to try to read Wuthering Heights someday. It’s one of the those books that people seem to love or hate, so I’m curious.
    I really didn’t get on with Love in the Time of Cholera. I have a copy of 100 Years of Solitude but who know when I’ll attempt it.

    Good luck with the move. Are you staying near where you are now?

  • Tanabata – I haven’t read any Garcia Marquez at all. That’s just a little ambitious for me these days :-).

    Yes, we’re actually just moving across town. It will mean a longer work commute for me, but a shorter one for my husband, and it’s closer to my stepkids’ mother’s house, which helps the shared-custody thing. And it’s a nicer house :-).

  • I really really dislike Walt Whitman. I know, it’s some sort of a crime, but I just don’t like him.

  • April – I’m not a huge fan of poetry, period, so I’ve pretty much avoided Whitman.