Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Modern Library List - How Much Shall I Ashame Myself Today?

Before even looking over this list, I had the creeping feeling that I just may be ashamed at how few of them I had actually read. Well, with a grand total of 9, yes I am. These are ones I've crossed out....

On top of it, I honestly didn't even love all 9 of them! Catch-22 just didn't "catch" me, Slaughterhouse Five was a bit too much, and I never have been able to get into really anything Kerouac.

The most shameful, and unexpected, fact of all though? I can honestly say that I have never even heard of 43 of these books. Really? Am I that sheltered? Do I really know soooooo much less about the world of literature than I thought? Oi vay!

And no, I don't feel like telling which 43 I haven't heard of....I've shamed myself enough for the day.

#1 ULYSSES (1922) by James Joyce
#2 THE GREAT GATSBY (1925) by F. Scott Fitzgerald
#4 LOLITA (1955) by Vladimir Nabokov
#5 BRAVE NEW WORLD (1932) by Aldous Huxley
#6 THE SOUND AND THE FURY (1929) by William Faulkner
#7 CATCH-22 (1961) by Joseph Heller
#8 DARKNESS AT NOON (1940, 1941 in English) by Arthur Koestler
#9 SONS AND LOVERS (1913) by D.H. Lawrence
#10 THE GRAPES OF WRATH (1939) by John Steinbeck
#11 UNDER THE VOLCANO (1947) by Malcolm Lowry
#12 THE WAY OF ALL FLESH (1903) by Samuel Butler
#13 1984 (1949) by George Orwell
#14 I, CLAUDIUS (1934) by Robert Graves
#15 TO THE LIGHTHOUSE (1927) by Virginia Woolf
#16 AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY (1925) by Theodore Dreiser
#17 THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER (1940) by Carson McCullers
#18 SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE (1969) by Kurt Vonnegut
#19 INVISIBLE MAN (1952) by Ralph Ellison
#20 NATIVE SON (1940) by Richard Wright
#21 HENDERSON THE RAIN KING (1959) by Saul Bellow
#22 APPOINTMENT IN SAMARRA (1934) by John O'Hara
#23 U.S.A. (trilogy) (1930, 1932, 1936) by John Dos Passos
#24 WINESBURG, OHIO (1919) by Sherwood Anderson
#25 A PASSAGE TO INDIA (1924) by E.M. Forster
#26 THE WINGS OF THE DOVE (1902) by Henry James
#27 THE AMBASSADORS (1903) by Henry James
#28 TENDER IS THE NIGHT (1934) by F. Scott Fitzgerald
#29 THE STUDS LONIGAN TRILOGY (1932, 1934, 1935) by James T. Farrell
#30 THE GOOD SOLDIER (1915) by Ford Madox Ford
#31 ANIMAL FARM (1945) by George Orwell
#32 THE GOLDEN BOWL (1904) by Henry James
#33 SISTER CARRIE (1900) by Theodore Dreiser
#34 A HANDFUL OF DUST (1934) by Evelyn Waugh
#35 AS I LAY DYING (1930) by William Faulkner
#36 ALL THE KING'S MEN (1946) by Robert Penn Warren
#37 THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY (1927) by Thornton Wilder
#38 HOWARDS END (1910) by E.M. Forster
#39 GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN (1953) by James Baldwin
#40 THE HEART OF THE MATTER (1948) by Graham Greene
#41 LORD OF THE FLIES (1954) by William Golding
#42 DELIVERANCE (1970) by James Dickey
#43 A DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME (series) (1951-1975) by Anthony Powell
#44 POINT COUNTER POINT (1928) by Aldous Huxley
#45 THE SUN ALSO RISES (1926) by Ernest Hemingway
#46 THE SECRET AGENT (1907) by Joseph Conrad
#47 NOSTROMO (1904) by Joseph Conrad
#48 THE RAINBOW (1915) by D.H. Lawrence
#49 WOMEN IN LOVE (1920: sequel to #48) by D.H. Lawrence
#50 TROPIC OF CANCER (1934) by Henry Miller
#51 THE NAKED AND THE DEAD (1948) by Norman Mailer
#52 PORTNOY'S COMPLAINT (1969) by Philip Roth
#53 PALE FIRE (1962) by Vladimir Nabokov
#54 LIGHT IN AUGUST (1932) by William Faulkner
#55 ON THE ROAD (1957) by Jack Kerouac
#56 THE MALTESE FALCON (1930) by Dashiell Hammett
#57 PARADE'S END (1924, 1925, 1926, 1928) by Ford Madox Ford
#58 THE AGE OF INNOCENCE (1920) by Edith Wharton
#59 ZULEIKA DOBSON (1911) by Max Beerbohm
#60 THE MOVIEGOER (1961) by Walker Percy
#61 DEATH COMES FOR THE ARCHBISHOP (1927) by Willa Cather
#62 FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1951) by James Jones
#63 THE WAPSHOT CHRONICLES (1957) by John Cheever
#64 THE CATCHER IN THE RYE (1951) by J.D. Salinger
#65 A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1962) by Anthony Burgess
#66 OF HUMAN BONDAGE (1915) by W. Somerset Maugham
#67 HEART OF DARKNESS (1902) by Joseph Conrad
#68 MAIN STREET (1920) by Sinclair Lewis
#69 THE HOUSE OF MIRTH (1905) by Edith Wharton
#70 THE ALEXANDRIA QUARTET (1957, 1958, 1958, 1960) by Lawrence Durell
#71 A HIGH WIND IN JAMAICA (1929) by Richard Hughes
#72 A HOUSE FOR MR BISWAS (1961) by V.S. Naipaul
#73 THE DAY OF THE LOCUST (1939) by Nathanael West
#74 A FAREWELL TO ARMS (1929) by Ernest Hemingway
#75 SCOOP (1938) by Evelyn Waugh
#76 THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE (1961) by Muriel Spark
#77 FINNEGANS WAKE (1939) by James Joyce
#78 KIM (1901) by Rudyard Kipling
#79 A ROOM WITH A VIEW (1908) by E.M. Forster
#80 BRIDESHEAD REVISITED (1945) by Evelyn Waugh
#81 THE ADVENTURES OF AUGIE MARCH (1953) by Saul Bellow
#82 ANGLE OF REPOSE (1971) by Wallace Stegner
#83 A BEND IN THE RIVER (1979) by V.S. Naipaul
#84 THE DEATH OF THE HEART (1938) by Elizabeth Bowen
#85 LORD JIM (1900) by Joseph Conrad
#86 RAGTIME (1975) by E.L. Doctorow
#87 THE OLD WIVES' TALE (1908) by Arnold Bennett
#88 THE CALL OF THE WILD (1903) by Jack London
#89 LOVING (1945) by Henry Green
#90 MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN (1981) by Salman Rushdie
#91 TOBACCO ROAD (1932) by Erskine Caldwell
#92 IRONWEED (1983) by William Kennedy
#93 THE MAGUS (1966) by John Fowles
#94 WIDE SARGASSO SEA (1966) by Jean Rhys
#95 UNDER THE NET (1954) by Iris Murdoch
#96 SOPHIE'S CHOICE (1979) by William Styron
#97 THE SHELTERING SKY (1949) by Paul Bowles
#98 THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE (1934) by James M. Cain
#99 THE GINGER MAN (1955) by J.P. Donleavy
#100 THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS (1918) by Booth Tarkington

So the question of the day is, how do you compare? I'd be very curious to see where anyone falls on this one...unless of course you know of all 100 and have read 99 of them. That might make me sad.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday UnDay - Angry Birds!

In short, and in the name of being prudent, the last few weeks have been tough. And worse, tough in a manner that is not necessarily appropriate or wise to be sharing on the wonderful world of the interwebs. So, to suffice in my venting, I shall share a bit of how I have relieved my pain, in a few entertaining(to me, at least!) ways that seem to blend together pretty well.

First off, is March Madness. I LOVE college football but could honestly give a hoot about college basketball, or any basketball for that matter. That is, however, until March Madness rolls around, as it makes for an entertaining day at the office. I have one boss who is a die-hard Syracuse fan(hockey season started today, lol!) and another who is Penn State all the way. Me? I'm always torn between my personal loyalty to Oregon(Quack, Quack, Quack!!) and my family loyalty to Ohio State. The only time it's ever really an issue is when they play each other....Rose Bowl last year was quite painful in that regard, Dad wouldn't watch the game with me. So, being a fan of the nearly BCS Champion team(while Penn floundered....) and being a fan of OSU(who pummeled Penn in both sports this year, and Mr. Syracuse just doesn't love because he's out and they're number 1....) gives me much pleasure. So...even if Ducks aren't birds, they're still having a good ole time making people angry :o)

When not at work, which unfortunately is when much of the latest stress has been, I have succumbed to video games. Yes, it is horribly sad. I have never been the gamer type, but upon the not-so-sad demise of my dreadful crackberry last week, I had to give in a get myself an iPhone(which has gotten me equally hooked on iBooks, already.) which led to the inevitable spiel in the office about how everyone was hooked on a game called Angry Birds. I thought nothing of this, it's just a game. Until, that is, you decided to download the free app just for kicks. It's free, and you can delete it if you don't love it, right? Wrong! Well, not wrong that you can delete, you just don't want to! I am ashamed to admit that I honestly and truly sacrificed almost 2 hours of good reading time on Saturday night, because I was pretty much incapable of putting it down.

What has become of me? Someone please take the iPhone away from me! Oh, but can you please leave the iBooks behind? I kinda like that part.

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have no idea why, must have been a typo, but I had this on my "Read" shelf...but good thing I realized that, which made me think to read it!

The back cover described it as one of, if not the best, "comedies of manners of Regency England" and I must agree wholeheartedly. I guess I had always had an inclination(though where founded I have no idea), that I wouldn't like this book because of it's age and language. That, however, may be what I loved most about it. In the week or so since I picked it up and began reading, I have found myself actually thinking in a more "proper" and "old english" manner....just thinking, mind you, haven't quite caught myself speaking 19th century England just yet :o)

This is a book that many, many people have preconceived notions about(my boyfriend said "didn't your read that in junior high?" and another friend had the same old language apprehensions that I had) but it truly defied all of them. I did not dislike Mr. Darcy in the slightest. I did not have any problems with the language, in fact it read more easily than many historical fiction novels I have read lately. Austen's writing style is much more fluid and articulate than I expected, and I breezed right through. My only complaint is that it was not near long enough....

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Challenge Update

So, I'm making better progress on some challenges than others....let's start with the positives, just to keep me motivated :o)


I've read 13 towards my 2011 goal of 50 Books ->
The Color of Water by James McBride
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
Standing at the Crossroads by Charles Davis
Out of Range by CJ Box
Nowhere to Run by CJ Box
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
Marked by PC Cast & Kristin Cast
Betrayed by PC Cast & Kristin Cast
Chosen by PC Cast & Kristin Cast
Untamed by PC Cast & Kristin Cast
Hunted by PC Cast & Kristin Cast
The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury

Decent progress, though I think I should only be giving myself credit for 8 or 9....the House of Night series is not exactly well written or challenging material.....oh well, gotta have the guilty pleasures once in awhile!

Not doing terrible at this one, but still need to up the ante a bit...I think I've had at least one week of only posting reviews...shame on me! I have, however, spent entirely too much time working on layouts and looks, so I should funnel some of that energy towards writing :o)

Though not exactly making as much progress as I should on the goal projects(though I have made some), I successfully won the battle to let the yarn and needle basket stay in the living room. That's where it gets used, so why on earth should it be anywhere else?!

Getting Out!:
Though not much distance involved(but a ton of really fun mud!) the nice weather has helped with this, via my first fishing day of the season this past weekend. No fish caught, but plenty of knotted line and some great pictures of a beautiful bighorn ram.

Everything else is still a work in progress......

Monday, March 14, 2011

Revolutionary Road

Revolutionary RoadRevolutionary Road by Richard Yates

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I loved this book for the writing, as it was skillful, beautiful and intriguing. I didn't, however, love the book itself. I did enjoy it, but don't share the sentiments of it's "ironic beauty" and "straightforward poignancy" quoted by critics and friends alike.

I imagine the subject matter was quite controversial considering the time of it's publication, and can potentially see myself having a different take were I from a different time, or in a different time. Now though, I can respect it, but don't feel an attachment to it. The most difficult part for me was it's anti-thesis of much of what I believe in. We are in charge of our own happiness. Life isn't about what you do, it's how you do it. The Golden Rule(my vision of this: give what you take, take only what you give, don't owe or allow yourself to be owed). The Wheeler's were against all of the above. They wallowed and only half-heartedly did anything remotely realistic to make their own happiness. They worried more about what they did than living a good life and doing it well and happily. They looked as others as though they were beneath them, and put their children anything but first.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't dislike them. They were human, and a beautiful part of this book is that the writing and presentation is exactly that: beautiful, human, flawed. The problem for me is actually that I didn't dislike them, because I never could find it in myself to like them either. With no feeling of like or dislike for them, I found it hard to care too much about what happened to them. I feel like the ending should have had me either in tears of sorrow, or saying "see? That's what you get. Shoulda listened to your karma a bit". But I felt neither.

I definitely recommend this book for wonderful composition and bravery in subject matter(if you can appreciate this from the perspective of the setting and time it was published), but probably won't hold a place in the heart of my bookshelf....

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Friday, March 11, 2011

The Future of Books

Apparently I'm on a good anti-technology, pro-paper kick these here's the latest(sent via fob before Gadgets Created from Recycled Cardboardone of Beth Pratt's wonderful 'round the office Daily Green Tips...thanks Beth!)
The Future of Books, by Kyle Bean is,  while a book in the traditional sense of having covers, bindings and pages of written word, is actually a statement design piece meant to demonstrate 21st century searches and sources of information. The book itself is an old hardback book(no idea what book...) that Kyle has turned into this:

 From the outside, it's a nice, unassuming hardback book. The inside, on the other hand, has been modified into a book/laptop hybrid. It's not a functioning laptop, but contains a battery pack to light the screen.

While definitely inspiring a common understanding between myself and Kyle's statement, it also made me think about my personal place in the evolution of books and written materials into basically articles of technology. I believe I would be incredibly lost if you sat me down and asked my write a bibliography, something I could have come close to doing correctly from memory 10 years ago, because I honestly have no idea how it would work today. I can reference books, periodicals, journals, encyclopedias etc....but if I were writing something requiring references, I have to wonder how many of those items I would physically hold and reference, rather than searching and reading them on my bright little screen. And the can of worms of "magazine A page 12, referenced via page such-and-such of website B, found via search term X on search engine Y" just doesn't sound like a whole lot of'd find me spending just as much time referencing how to write my bibliography as researching the actual document! Please tell me they at least still teach how to a write a bibliography referencing "actual" materials, right??

I guess it's not something to sweat about until my next urge towards more education(they swing through every few years...), so I guess so long as we still have things that look like books, I imagine I'll be ok....

Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday UnDay

There must always be a time for a detour from even the most wonderful things like books and, it shall be Monday, the UnBook day.

Today's random thoughts? Mud Season! Hence, we meet one of my favorite dogs out there, Arthur. The Arthur is a chow/lab/rot and the happy companion of my best friend Jayne. More importantly, he's not to be confused with his step-brother, the deer-dog Artie. Yes, my best friend and her husband have Arthur and Artie, adopted from the Steamboat Springs Animal Shelter within a week of each other, gave them nearly matching names, and all of this about a month before Jayne and Alex met. Awwww, so cute and meant to be, right? Yeah, pretty much. In addition to the serendipitous(and crazy!) pups, they now have Reesa, their adorable 17-month old daughter.

This time of year always makes me think of my best friend and her family because Jayne is always cold. In the dead of winter, she wears more layers than should be humanly possible, with not a care in world about whether they match. Proof? I made her a camo bacalava for Christmas a few years back, which she happily showed off along with the 12 other colors she was currently wearing to ski(it's very hard to find that many coordinating layers....). The best part? I don't think I've ever heard her complain about being cold....she just says "it's cold!" with a very sweet smile and distinctive laugh, then proceeds to put on the next layer. That's just how she is. Positive, sweet, caring, and honest to goodness GOOD(yes, there are still some of them left out there, and no, you can't have her for your best friend! :o)

That's why I get sappy this time of year....things are melting, grass is showing, she can shed some layers and actually be able to move her arms enough to throw a stick at the dogs(I say at in a good way....Artie is blind as a bat and usually runs himself right into something instead of catching it), and she has real, live smile. She gets bubbly and excited that it will be WARM soon. We play outside. We walk around town. We play yard games. We relish the fact that "Look!! I have a yard!! I almost forgot after it disappeared for 6 months!!". We ride our bikes...until the dogs knock us over.

I love springtime because it makes me think of my friends, and the way everyone lights up with the sunshine lights up. It's a fleeting moment in the mountains, where summer is 3 months and winter feels like 11. But, it's almost here!!

Til then....time to play in the mud! 

Miss ya JRock and the Art-pups, it's your turn to visit! :o)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

American Wife

American WifeAmerican Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall, this was a great read...well-written, emotional and thoughtful, drawing you in and holding you(almost) to the end. It was just a short, fleeting bit into the book that I was forming attachments to the characters(particularly Grandma Emilie, early on. Loved her!), feeling a vested interest in their personal journeys and anxious to see what was ahead.

Though the main character, Alice Lindgren Blackwell, and her story are openly acknowledged as being "inspired by" and "loosely based on" the life of Laura Bush, the term "loosely" is offered a bit too generously. Yes, a good portion of this novel is product of the author's imagination; the items that are not, however, play such a dominate role in the story line and the realization of the characters, that you have to set a periodic mental alert to pop in and remind you that it is not a biography.

The book is divided into four sections, aptly named for the address of Alice's home at that time in her life, and is composed through a balance of moving plot and insightful narrative. This moves the most quickly in the early sections, as we see Alice as a sweet, naive Wisconsin teenager, mostly concerned with boys and books, who finds herself learning very adult lessons at the age of 17 after killing a classmate(whom she also had potential for a romantic future with) in a car accident of which she was at fault. We see the first hint that this tragic event will play a factor in her future, but don't know yet to what extent. It then moves seamlessly through college and her years as an elementary school teacher and librarian, on to her first meeting with Charlie Blackwell, the youngest son of a former governor and her future husband. At this point, her perspective changes as we move with her from middle-class, small town, banker's daughter and librarian, to a wealthy, respected member of a prominent family. THroughout it all, even when we start to lose Alice a bit and see more focus on what's around her, she remains calm, steadfast, and in the background to loud, boisterous husband - while he constantly worries about his "legacy", she ponders to herself that your legacy should not be about what accomplish, rather how live your life. The story seems to almost fall off when you reach the last section, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. After an engaging, endearing and quick moving 430 pages, it almost seems as thought Sittenfeld took a step back, realized she hadn't even begun to cover their life in the White House, and had to get it over with without doubling the size of the book. This section contains much shorter sections of present-tense plot, and much longer sections of narrative, primarily Alice's internal analysis of how she has lived, how she wants to live, questioning her decisions and her path. While there are some elegant and thought provoking moments here, this last 130 pages probably took me longer to read than the entire rest of the book...I was just not held into it in the same way.

Overall, not a must-read, but most definitely a worthwhile one.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

The What If List - The Unbelieveable World of Banned and Challenged Books

"You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them."- Ray Bradbury

It was with my first reading of Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, that I first took a good long think about the concept of censorship, a concept that makes my soul sad every time I think about it. To me, the censorship subject is not just about the infringement on 1st Amendment rights, but goes much deeper to thought of what me, and my world, would be like if just one of the books I hold near and dear to me were taken away.

According to the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom, of the Radcliffe Publishing 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century, the books below are those from that list that have been banned or challenged at one point or another(hence the missing numbers on the list, as all 100 have not been banned/challenged):

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
23. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son, by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
38. All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
48. Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
53. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
55. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
57. Sophie's Choice, by William Styron
64. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
66. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
73. Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence
80. The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
84. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
88. An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser
97. Rabbit, Run, by John Updike

Reasons for bans/challenges include(but not limited to) things such as sexual content, race relations, religion, and violence, though some were as small as use of language someone didn't like - "Damn", "whore lady" and "nigger" in To Kill a Mockingbird   and "nigger" in Gone With the Wind. While it's understandable that these could be offensive, particularly in the time they were written, a little perspective is needed as well. Yes, the term "nigger" is derogatory, offensive and inappropriate....out of context. But putting it into context, such as an epic novel set during the American Civil War and at the peak of slavery in the US, it's almost necessary. Can you imagine reading a story with this setting that completely avoided an extremely common term for that time? Instead of being a portrayal of a troubled time, it would be a sugar-coated ode that didn't seem all too realistic.

According the ALA, the most common reason noted is sexual content, and the most common initiators of challenges(by a ridiculous landslide, no less) are parents. Really? Are you kidding me?

Ok, so I'm not actually surprised by the parent statistic, but it does remind me once again that parenting has some very skewed perceptions at times. I would love to ask some of these parents a few questions:
  • Did YOU ever read these books? If you so, was it detrimental to you?
  • If you didn't, what DID you read?
  • Do your children play video games? Watch television? (ok, this doesn't apply to the older bans/challenges, but still)
  • What DO you consider appropriate?
Now, I don't want this to sound as though I am trashing these parents, as I know they ultimately have(or think they have, so general principle is still there) their children's best interest and protection in mind. This fact, however, in no way lessens my desire to know what they are thinking, and to ask them to open their minds a bit. Or better yet, just tell them to monitor what their children read - if YOU don't want YOUR children reading something, it's not the world's responsibility to protect them from it by taking it away from everyone else, particularly considering that everyone may not share your views. Whoa. Crazy thought. Parental Accountability.

On a positive note, the number of challenges each year(per the ALA again) has decreased overall in the past 15 years. A few ups and downs, but overall much better than past years. That doesn't mean though, that there aren't still an awful lot of challenges made against great books. Below is the list of most challenged books of 2000-2009...

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Myracle, Lauren
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16. Forever, by Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43. Blubber, by Judy Blume
44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, by George Beard
48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96. Grendel, by John Gardner
97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99. Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank

Interesting how many bestsellers and new pop culture classics are floating around in there, and that so many classics are still showing up.

And a little ironic that one of the most iconic books about censorship is on the list of books to censor....

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

*2011 Challenge Update*

With great sadness and frustration, I must add a new item to my 2011 Challenge List:

- Learn HTML

Frankly, I'm just sick of searching for an acceptable generator whenever I want to do something. And, when I do find one to do what I want, I can't actually get the HTML for it, just a link to where they've hosted it and included their ad(not that I have anything against taking credit for your work, I just don't want to have to look at it all the time!)

So, tomorrow the confusion begins....

The Attack of the EBook Reader!

Ok, so it's not really an attack, because I would like one(hint, hint honey!). But....

I ran across this poll from Joy on Goodreads - Book Haven yesterday, and it made me think, cringe, squirm and any other way of feeling unhappy that can possibly exist.

As for me, I'm am an unwavering loyalist to real, live, in-my-hands reading material. Stiff bindings, cracked bindings, crisp new pages, dog eared pages, pages discolored from age, marked from previous owners, wiggly from my Nalgene leaking in the backpack on a camping trip. EBook readers will never be able to give me any of these things(in fact, the Nalgene on the camping trip may just kill it!), and I would be lost if these things were gone.

While books are the most important to me, it doesn't stop there. I worked in advertising sales at a newspaper for a brief stint a few years back, primarily working on the internet advertising side. Looking back, I think my love of paper had a good bit to do with it being a brief stint, as I never was able to buy into it enough to sell it effectively. Not to say that I don't love the internet(because I do!) and appreciate shopping and advertising available to me. But, when it comes to local things such as restaurant specials, music, events, sales etc, reading them with the distinctive feel of newsprint in my hands while I read just goes so much further.

For the love of yummy reads.....what do you think?