?

Log in

No account? Create an account
ENTRIES FRIENDS CALENDAR INFO PREVIOUS PREVIOUS NEXT NEXT
Challenging - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
Challenging
masoo has a recent entry on his "real" blog in which he lists which of the "100 Most Frequently Challenged Books" he has read. I'm doing the same:
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

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

19 Sex by Madonna
20 Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel

22 A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
23 Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

25 In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

34 Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam

39 The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

41 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
42 Beloved by Toni Morrison

51 A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

53 Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)

56 James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
57 The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell

59 Ordinary People by Judith Guest

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


69 Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
70 Lord of the Flies by William Golding
71 Native Son by Richard Wright


75 Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
76 Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle

84 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
85 Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

88 Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
I'm surprised Our Bodies, Ourselves isn't on the list. Goodness knows it has been the biggest "bad" influence on my own life. Comparing the titles I've read to the ones that masoo has, the main difference is that I've read more of the children's books on the list. The reason is clear: he was born fifteen years before I was.

What I find useful about this particular exercise is that it underscores the degree to which attempts at censorship are a problem at all levels, from pre-school to graduate school. Defending Mark Twain or Toni Morrison is great, but defending them together with Judy Blume and Katherine Patterson. To paraphrase one of the more outwardly puzzling passages in Toni Negri and Michael Hardt's Multitude, hope for a better world falls squarely on the side of those who advocate for an "open source" society.
13 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
art_thirst From: art_thirst Date: September 29th, 2005 01:24 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Okay... I've read some of the listed below:
3 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (own a copy and partially read)
5 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (read many, many years ago)
39 The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (own a copy and have not read)
57 The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell (read many, many years ago)
71 Native Son by Richard Wright (read many years ago)

Although I was inspired to write by poetry and fiction, I mostly read non-fiction. Currently reading: A New Kind of Science by Stephen Wolfram (thick enough to scare most people by sight - 1196 pgs.).
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: September 29th, 2005 02:52 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I like non-fiction too. What's that Wolfram book like? What's it about?
art_thirst From: art_thirst Date: September 30th, 2005 12:09 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
It's really a science book, a theory book, describing his computer experiments and how they apply to a variety of phenomena. His computer cell automata has been applied to music composition and you can actually create some "music" and download it to your phone as a ringtone. I don't have a celphone but, I really have had fun making music! I'm a frustrated composer anyway... ;-)

http://www.miamiartexchange.com/miami_art_articles/miami_art_articles_2005/science_and_art_fun!.html
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: September 29th, 2005 03:34 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
A New Kind of Science by Stephen Wolfram

How are you enjoying this? This is one of my current "go back to" books. I usually have at any one time one fiction book I am reading and two non-fiction (in different areas) that I am reading. The fiction usually gets read, for the most part, straight through in a matter of days but the non-fiction lingers with a chapter here and a chapter there, that I go back to and continue with as time (and more importantly, correct mindset) permits.

Complexity sciences are of interest to me and while I am so far finding Wolfram's book *interesting*, it mostly seems like a collection of previously done work and known conclusions, which he just applies to some fairly un-supportable conclusions. He seems to 'dismiss' (maybe not the exact word) years of study in specialized fields as a bunch of people who just 'didn't get it' (as opposed to him, who does). And while I'm finding that both amusing and refreshing (and enjoyable, the Ego in the book is delightful as far as I am concerned), I can't figure out whether I'm a) not far enough along in the book to have "gotten it" (only about a third of the way through), b) not bright enough (along with the people in the hundreds of pages of footnotes) to have gotten it, or c) there's nothing, really, new here to "get".

But, I've a long way to go in the book so I guess I'll see what I see.
art_thirst From: art_thirst Date: September 30th, 2005 12:16 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I haven't "gotten it" yet but, it does mirror my approach to my art practice in that it's very interdiscplinary. I see that it branches through many areas of my interests. I've only just started it but, I'm excited by what he's saying. Yes, much of it is like a compilation of older works but, I don't mind because it allows me to gather a number of years worth of his work in one text. I had another of his texts on cell automata but, returned it without reading any of it. If I can get only bits and pieces of something from this I'll be more than happy. It's not often a book like this would have me wanting to read it. It's certainly not Harry Potter. :-)
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: September 29th, 2005 04:51 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
What?!?! A Bridge to Terabithia is on that [main] list?!?!

I need, when I'm done with this case and have more time, to read more on the ALA site about what a "challenged" book really means. I mean, I can see the Judy Bloom because I remember that was a whole 'lotta controversy back when I was younger and reading them, because it said *penis* in it. But Bridge to Terabithia?!?!

That is still one of my favorite books of all time and I still read it about 3 times a year -- crying my eyes out every single time. I actually shudder for the day when Jet is able to read it and it settles hauntingly on his soul forever after. I even still purchase that book for adults who have never read it. One of those most simple and beautiful children's books ever written in my opinion.

Hmph. Maybe challenged because of the whole 'crying my eyes out every time' bit?
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: September 29th, 2005 05:00 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I think it gets challenged for being possibly occult and definitely not Christian. When you realize that Halloween ABCs is on the list. . .

Thanks for the Satori comment. I'm really busy right now but want to respond somehow, if not in a comment. I have mixed feelings about the whole gifted thing. But it sounds like they do many things I approve of there. Having been schooled on the basketball court by brilliant boys who did terribly in school, I'm all for the multiple intelligences approach.

_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: September 29th, 2005 05:09 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I have mixed feelings about the whole gifted thing.

Without a doubt "gifted" is a loaded word, right at the get go, even before any conversations that accept "gifted children" as an okay terminology/reality and the debate about 'what to do with them.'

Be happy to talk about such things whenever; we tabled that education conversation back in the summer. I'm super busy myself for the next little while. But respond at your convenience; I'm not always a big practicer of email conversations following a real-time flow and things often sit unresponded to until I get back to them as time or mindset allows. So, I'm fine with that happening to stuff I write as well. I guess one of the best things about written correspondence is that it makes it alright for someone to talk even if not everyone has time to 'talk'. :)
jakemacalister From: jakemacalister Date: September 29th, 2005 08:14 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Bridge is challenged for two reasons 1) The awaking of sexuality for the male character and 2) the non-Xian beliefs//afterlife of the female character
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: September 29th, 2005 11:04 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Oh for goodness' sake!! I must have blocked out the awakening sexuality bit because I can't remember it being all that racey (although, for that matter, I can't remember anything specific that I'd attribute to awakening sexuality in the first place, really). And as for the second reason... it wouldn't have even been a *book* were it not for her beliefs (or lack thereof). The fact that they had no television, etc. etc. was what made the friendship such an unlikely one in the first place. Ah, but I suppose it was because he *did* befriend her, instead of casting her off, and carried on that heathenish wild and unruly *imagination* thing with his little sister once she has passed on.

Brother. Thanks SO MUCH for the info. I've yet to get back to that site today. I dunno if you've ever read the book, but I cannot express how startled I was to see it on the list.

jakemacalister From: jakemacalister Date: September 30th, 2005 12:58 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I have read, loved, and taught the book. I taught it remedial (terrible word) students from a Xian school who flunked out of English. They loved it and it was so flipping short that they devoured it. It was one of the first time they really "got" that reading was about self-discovery combined some empathy. I got into a little trouble for teaching it because parents heard/knew it was banned and didn't know why. The pastor who was also the principal read it and loved the book. I also addressed those aspects and excepted them to act like 9th graders. They discussed it very well.
jakemacalister From: jakemacalister Date: September 29th, 2005 08:21 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
My one shot at teaching comp involved a unit on censorship. That was the meat of the course (11-12 pages of writing) after the whole Peter Elbow feelings/experience paper. I acutally had the student start with start with a how to paper and make a joke about how hard it is to "write this crap." At least, I told them why I asked them to write it (2 pages max). The papers then took them closer to self-disclosure writing and then we were able to discuss the difference between personal and academic writing. These are still your ideas/observations back them up, etc. Long story short, they had to choose a banned book out of the five I selected: Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, Wrinkle in Time, The Giver, Man Without A Face and Glass Menagerie. They loved it. Mind you, it's a Xian University so there were all about fighting the system. I had them do assignments like think like a censor, I brought banned books from my home and had them going throught them WITHOUT reading them looking for bad words or phrases or scenes. Then we talked about why this is not the best way to critique something. They were great. Read banned books, because we have the right to think for ourselves.
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: September 29th, 2005 11:07 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I had them do assignments like think like a censor, I brought banned books from my home and had them going throught them WITHOUT reading them looking for bad words or phrases or scenes.

This is really great.
13 comments or Leave a comment