How Stupid Do You Have To Be…

…to try to ban a book the DAY before Banned Books Week starts?


A district official in my very own old school district in California decided last Friday that Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series was not appropriate for junior high and ordered all copies of her books in any of the 12 junior highs in the district be sent to the district offices.  

You can read the whole story here.

Thank you ma’am.  I’m glad you’ve decided that not a single middle school student is capable of reading and processing “Twilight.”  Where on earth would these children be without you?  Who else could parent them in such a capable manner.  Oh.  Right.  They have actual parents that aren’t you.

Don’t think that Twilight should be in junior high libraries?  Look into it a little bit before you purchase the damn thing.  I’ve heard there’s this thing called the ‘internet’ where people talk about books, including often their content.

NPR Spotlights Banned Books Week

Evidently I timed my drive into work this morning JUST right, because the last full story I heard on NPR (via Chicago Public Radio, WBEZ – woohoo!) was about Banned Books Week.

The whole thing was fascinating, but what really caught my ears was a statement made by Judith Krug of the American Library Association:

“They’re not afraid of the book; they’re afraid of the ideas,” says Krug. “The materials that are challenged and banned say something about the human condition.”

That coincided very nicely with what I was wondering while I was creating some of my spotlight posts.  For some of the books I am featuring this week, at least, I wondered how much of the negative reaction towards the book was caused by specific instances of racism, sex, violence, language, or witchcraft, and how much is because some of these books challenege worldviews and highlight serious injustices.  What do you think?  Are most books banned because they are dirty or innappropriate, or because the idea in them scare people?  Are those ‘won’t somebody please think of the children!?!’ passages what jump out at people, or do they go looking for those portions of the book, to find an excuse for hating it?

Anyway, enough of that tangent (although I’m very interested to hear people’s thoughts about those questions in the comments).  The story went on to talk about how and why “Grapes of Wrath” was banned, particularly in Kern Country, California, when it first came out, using part of Rick Wartzman’s new book “Obscene in the Extreme” to discuss the situation in Kern County (Mr. Wartzman or Mr. Wartzman’s publishers/publicists, if you happen to be reading this, I REALLY want to read and review “Obscene in the Extreme”).

Overall, fascination story.  You can read the whole thing PLUS an excerpt of “Obscene in the Extreme” here.

In case you missed it, here is my spotlight on “Grapes of Wrath” for Banned Books Week.  You can find all of my Banned Books Week posts by clicking here.

Tuesday Thingers: Reading Banned Books

From Marie at 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 bolded the ones I’ve read. Bold what you’ve read, and italicize what you have in your LT library.

I will also be starring the books I’m featuring this week.

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 am spotlighting a different banned book that I have own and have read everyday of Banned Books Week at 2:00 Central.  If you would like to see all of my posts about Banned Books Week, click here.

How are you celebrating Banned Books Week?

TSS 2: Banned Books Week Spotlight – The Grapes of Wrath


The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Original publication date: 1939

This week is banned books week in the United States.  All week I will be highlighting banned, challenged, and censored books I own and have read.

Publisher description:

One of the greatest and most socially significant novels of the twentieth century, Steinbeck’s controversial masterpiece indelibly captured America during the Great Depression through the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads. Intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, tragic but ultimately stirring in its insistence on human dignity, The Grapes of Wrath (1939) is not only a landmark American novel, but it is as well an extraordinary moment in the history of our national conscience.

Status: Challenged in the U.S., including being burned by the East St. Louis, IL public library (1939) and barred from the Buffalo, NY public library (1939); publishers put on trial in Turkey for spreading propaganda (citation).

Reason for challenge in the U.S.: Reasons cited include profanity, taking the Lord’s name in vain, inappropriate sexual references, and the fact that an ex-minister recounts his sexual conquests (citation).

My thoughts: “The Grapes of Wrath” is one of my favorite books (.doc) of all time.  I have loved it ever since reading it in high school in what was my introduction to John Steinbeck.  Like “Kaffir Boy,” this is the story of a downtrodden and economically depressed people.  Although the ‘Okies’ didn’t suffer the same systemic abuse and racism as did Mark Mathabane and his family, they were definitely an economically and politically oppressed people.

Your Turn: Have you read “The Grapes of Wrath”?  What did you think about it?  Did the profanity make an impact on you (positive or negative)?  Did it work within the conext of the book or was it gratuitous?  Can you imagine having to pack up your entire life in a car and move half-way across the country to start over from scratch?

Buy this book on Amazon.

Check out my Banned Books Week Spotlights all week, every day at 2 pm Central through Saturday, Octobter 4th.

Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth’s Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa

Rebecca of The Book Lady’s Blog is doing Banned Books Week Spotlights as well, every morning at 9 am.  Check her out as well!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower — And Tango Makes Three

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TSS: Banned Books and My 100th Review

Banned Books Week started yesterday in the United States and runs through next Saturday.

To celebrate my freedom to read banned and challenged books, I am posting a spotlight of a book that has been banned or challenged in the United States every day of Banned Books Week at 2 pm.  Each is a book that I own and have read.  Here’s the list you can look forward to:


  • Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Native Son by Richard Wright
  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
I’m also hoping to re-read “A Wrinkle in Time” this week and get a real review up for it.
Actually, I’m hoping to put up one book review per day next week, if possible.  Why?
Because tomorrow I am going to be posting my 100th book review since I started this blog!
Immediately after my 100th review posts, you will see another post announcing a really, really awesome contest.  I just went out last night and got some of what I needed for this contest.  My husband wasn’t super excited about it, but I am!
So, you may want to get me in your Google Reader this week, or you may miss something!