Thursday, September 11, 2008

Recommended Reading

There's been some news lately about banned books. There is even a list of banned books circulating on the internet, erroneously claimed to be a list of books Sarah Palin asked to be banned from her local library. While that is inaccurate (after all, she couldn't have asked to ban any of the Harry Potter books back in 1996, before they were written) the list itself is taken from a compilation list of books that have been banned in different places at different times. It's a compelling list--some of the best books I've ever read are on it.

So I'm reprinting the list here, and I'd love to encourage all my friends and family, and anyone else with a blog who comes across this, to do the same thing I'm doing. Print the list, and in some way mark which of the books on it you've read. I'd love to know what you thought of them, individually or in general. I know a lot of my fiber friends love novels, as do college pals, theater friends, family, and everyone else I know who checks on my blog. Drum up some readership in the comments with a link to your post, I'd love to see it!

Here's the list. Books I've read are in green.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Blubber by Judy Blume
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
Carrie by Stephen King
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Christine by Stephen King
Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Cujo by Stephen King
Curses, Hexes, and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Decameron by Boccaccio
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Fallen Angels by Walter Myers
Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure) by John Cleland
Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Forever by Judy Blume
Grendel by John Champlin Gardner
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Have to Go by Robert Munsch
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Impressions edited by Jack Booth
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
It's Okay if You Don't Love Me by Norma Klein
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Little Red Riding Hood by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Love is One of the Choices by Norma Klein
Lysistrata by Aristophanes s
More Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
My House by Nikki Giovanni
My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara
Night Chills by Dean Koontz
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women's Health Collective*
Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl
Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz
Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
Separate Peace by John Knowles
Silas Marner by George Eliot
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Bastard by John Jakes
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Devil's Alternative by Frederick Forsyth
The Figure in the Shadows by John Bellairs
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Snyder
The Learning Tree by Gordon Parks
The Living Bible by William C. Bower**
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
The New Teenage Body Book by Kathy McCoy and Charles Wibbelsman
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
The Seduction of Peter S. by Lawrence Sanders
The Shining by Stephen King
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Snyder
Then Again, Maybe I Won't by Judy Blume
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary by the Merriam-Webster Editorial Staff
Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts: The Story of the Halloween Symbols by Edna Barth
*I never read all of "Our Bodies, Ourselves," but I did read the chapter on lesbians in my aunt's copy when I was a teenager, so that has to count for something.

**I've read the Bible a few times now, but I haven't read this particular translation.

My best criteria for whether something is a good book is whether it changes me, and many of the books I've highlighted here did just that. They're intelligent, they're challenging, not one of them is gratuitous or immoral. Interesting that only worthwhile books get banned. For instance, there isn't a single vapid romance novel on this list. I think I'll start reading the rest of the list.


Agatha56 said...

I posted the banned book list on my blog, and highlighted in red the ones I have read. Some I only read because I had to, of course, but others I loved. To kill a Mockingbird is probably my all-time favorite book.

Adele Michelsen said...

Wow! So many of those books are classics, and like you said mold people into who they are.

I also don't understand why some of the books are on there.
"Mickey in the Night Kitchen" is a great children's book by Maurice Sendak. The only reason I can think that it's on that list is there's one or two illustrations where you see Mickey's bare behind.

knitica said...

In the Night Kitchen originally included illustrations where you could see Mickey's bare little boy penis, too. I think there are later printings without those pictures, or with them somehow altered. I have the earlier version with all the pictures, but as I recall there is a warning on the front about the nudity. Sheesh.