What is this Madness?

100 Most Challenged Books 1990-2000
(partial list)

01. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz

02. Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite

03. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

04. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

05. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

06. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

07. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling

08. Forever by Judy Blume

09. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

19. Sex by Madonna

39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

42. Beloved by Toni Morrison

47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

55. Cujo by Stephen King

56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest

69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

77. Carrie by Stephen King

83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King

84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

88. \Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford

90. Little Black Sambo by Helen

Right when I thought March Madness was over…

I was watching one of my favorite movies, “Field of Dreams”, the other day and there is a scene in which Ray Kinsella’s wife stands up against the banning of books by Terrence Mann, a fictional character who replaces J.D. Salinger in the original story, Shoeless Joe, which by the way is also a good book. Anyway, Mann’s book–a reflection of the 60s lifestyle–is considered subversive because it could promote sexual promiscuity and drug use. I am amused, of course, because who in the 21st century still believes in banning books because of such things?

Well, it turns out that there are a number of people still left who would challenge any number of books. The list to the right is from the American Library Association. They are books that have been challenged for banning at public or school libraries, or have actually been banned at one point or another.

Flowers for Algernon: This is a story of a guy–Charlie Gordon–who is mentally handicapped. He is slower than most people, and the sad thing is that he knew it. He wanted to be like other, and he managed to learn to read and write simple things. A white mouse named Algernon seemed to be smarter than Charlie, as lab rats in mazes seem to be anyway. But an operation was performed on Algernon, and now he became a super mouse. Charlie undergoes the same operation and the transformation and its aftermath is a very moving story, not only about the moral ramifications of man/science, but a compassionate one about Charlie as he learns to cope with his new found intelligence and his realization of how he was viewed before.

Slaughterhouse-Five: by Kurt Vonnegut. Strictly science fiction, but a complex structure doesn’t make it for an fun summer read. But the sexual incidents and language have caused people to call for its ban.

To Kill a Mockingbird: I can’t believe that someone–anyone–would try to ban this book by Harper Lee. It does contain profanity and racial slurs, but that is the whole point of the book: Racial inequality and injustices in the South. This is a masterpiece that everyone should read. And shame on anyone who would want to ban it.

Catcher in the rye: This story traces the event that lead to a sorta nervous breakdown suffered by a teenager was a must-read for my generation (1960s-70s). A boy on a trip to self-discovery and his search for a sense of sexuality. Okay, so they use porfanity in this one too, but the sexual references were pretty mild…

Brave New World: Another classic, this one by Aldous Huxley. I guess the thought of a future where there are different races: the “chose” race and everyone else. When I read the book, I found out that I would have been one of the people left on the outside of the city wall. A smart book that portrays idiotic policies in a fictionalized future.

Anyway, these are great books. And there are more on this list. Even Hrry Potter’s on this list! I mean, is the thought of a warlock practicing witchcraft (warlock-craft?) a threat to Christian beliefs? If so, they must have a very shaky grip on their followers. If they were firm believers, how would a book life Harry Potter threaten to lead them astray? Anyway, this is simply ridiculous…

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