Sunday, October 31, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

I have decided to integrate this blog with my other blog, Literary R&R.  It's a little much to be keeping up with two book blogs at this time.  I feel that I am neglecting this blog as most of my time and energy is being put into Literary R&R.

I will continue reading the Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000 - 2009, but my reviews will be posted on Literary R&R.  This will be my last post on this blog.  I hope that the followers of this blog will give my other blog a chance.

Thank you for following me on this blog.  My journey will continue, but not on here.

Happy Reading! =)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Goosebumps #4 'Say Cheese and Die!' by R. L. Stine: A Summary

Book Specification Info:  132 Pages; ISBN #0-439-56842-0

Summary:  Greg thinks there is something wrong with the old camera he found.  The photographs keep turning out ... different.

When Greg takes a shot of his father's brand-new car, it's wrecked in the picture.  And then his dad crashes the car, nearly totaling it.  It's like the camera can tell the future, or worse ... maybe it makes the future!

Greg's friends don't believe him.  Shari even makes Greg take her picture at a party.

Only Shari's not in the photograph when it develops.

Is Shari about to be taken permanently out of the picture?
(Taken from back cover)

Banned Reason: Excessive Violence

R. L. Stine and 'excessive violence' do not seem to go hand-in-hand.  There was some spooky incidents and some accidents, but nothing excessively violent.

Overall:  I'm really starting to get into the Goosebump groove.  I can see what would attract the younger crowd.  Even though there are a few paranormal references in these books, the main thing that causes your Goosebumps are the situations that make you think ... Hhmmm... Maybe this could really happen ... from the empty house to the homeless man to the missing child ... R.L. Stine is becoming a master in my mind of taking normal, everyday situations and turning them slightly spooky.

Happy Reading =)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I have been thinking lately ... a lot, actually ... about this blog and the Top 100.  I am DYING to pick up the pace a little.  There are so many books on this list that I want to read before I get any more gray hairs on my head! :-)

Seriously, though, I am changing the way I do this blog just a little bit.  I am still going to read all 62 books in the Goosebumps series.  HOWEVER ... I am going to continue on with the next book on the list.  I will intersperse my reviews of the Goosebump books with my reviews of the other books on this Top 100 list.

I just cannot take the slowness of this blog any more and am putting my foot down! :-)  For a week or so, you'll still only see the Goosebump summaries, but I am planning on getting the next book in the list and starting it so that I may press onward and upward!!!

Happy Tuesday! :-)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Book Hop #2

Book Blogger Hop

This is a weekly meme hosted by Crazy for Books. This is a chance for people to visit other book-related blogs that they normally wouldn't find and/or visit on their own. To participate, a question must be answered. This week's question is:

"When you read a book that you just can't get into, do you stick it out and keep reading or move to your next title?"

My Answer: This answer can go both ways for me ... Before I started this blog, if I was reading a book and I couldn't get into it, I'd stop reading it. But, now, knowing that I have followers who read my reviews, I tend to force myself thru the book even if I can't get into it.


Because I don't feel that I can give an adequate review of a book if I don't read all of the material. This may be the first-born OCD gene coming out in me, but it's true. And, I'm not saying that if you're a reviewer and you don't finish a book that you're wrong. It's just that, for me, I feel that since the author gave up their time and energy into actually writing the book (even if it is bad) and they sent it to me to read and review, the least I can do is finish it. They may get a long email in return stating every single thing I didn't like about it, but at least I can say I finished it.

If this is your first time to my blog, WELCOME! If this is a repeat visit for you, WELCOME BACK! Either way, I hope everyone has a fantastic Friday night and a fabulous weekend! =)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Goosebumps #3 'Monster Blood' by R. L. Stine: A Summary

Book Specification Info:  128 Pages; ISBN #0-590-45367-X

Summary:  A family, consisting of Mother, Father and son, have to move to Atlanta.  While the parents are in Atlanta looking for a new home, the son (Evan) has to stay with his weird great-aunt Kathryn.  During his two-week stay, he meets a friend (Andy) and they begin hanging out.  One day, they venture into an old toy store where Evan buys a can of monster blood.  Once the can is open, the "fun" begins ... do you dare to read the tale of a lonely boy, his pony-sized cocker spaniel and a witch?

Banned Reason: Excessive Violence

There was some violence in this book, but again ... nothing excessive.  I know I'm only three books into this series, but I have yet to find a passage of text that depicts an episode of excessive violence.  In my opinion, the cartoons of Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner depicted more violence than the Goosebumps series, thus far, and look how much children (and adults) love those cartoons!

I am beginning to form the opinion that whoever began this crusade against R. L. Stine's series was afraid of change.  To my knowledge, this series was the first of its kind that was geared specifically toward the younger crowd.  Oh, if only parents would sit back and remember what it was like to be young.  They, too, enjoyed being scared ... if they'd only admit it.

Overall:  This book was definitely enjoyable.  I appreciated the fact that R. L. Stine wrote about a different family dynamic other than the mother, father, older sister and annoying younger brother.  I think if Evan would've had a sibling in this book, the story wouldn't have transpired as well as it did.

Creepy great-aunt Kathryn was a hoot!  I liked her =)  She was quirky and eccentric ... she was a little mean in the book, but not so much so that I didn't enjoy her.

Andy was a pistol.  She was a wonderful tomboy who still had her girlie side and a no-nonsense attitude.  Evan and Andy together in the story worked out wonderfully.

I don't agree with the banned reasons for this book.  While violence was depicted, it wasn't anything more than what a child would see in a schoolyard tussle.

I press onward ... Happy Reading! =)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Goosebumps #2 'Stay Out of the Basement' by R. L. Stine: A Summary

Book Specification Info: 122 Pages; ISBN #0-590-45366-1

Summary:  A family is dealing with the father/husband being an out-of-work scientist who is conducting experiments in their basement.  Almost from the moment the story begins, the mother has to leave to go tend to a family member out-of-town.  She doesn't return until the end of the book.  While the mother's gone, the children start noticing changes in their father but are scared to mention them.  Being children, they are curious about what their father is doing in the basement even though he has told them to stay out.  During one of their trips to the basement, they realize things are not as they seem with their father.  It comes down to the daughter being forced to make a decision that could ultimately lead to her father's death.

Banned Reasons: Excessive Violence

For this book, I'm a little torn between agreeing and disagreeing with the banned reasons.  There wasn't excessive violence, but there was a little violence (i.e. one person is stabbed with a knife and another is chopped in half with an axe).  However, the violent incidents are explained in the book and are an integral part of the story.  Ironically, it is the violent incidents which help resolve several confusing situations in the book.  So, should the book be challenged for being violent when the violence has a purpose?

Overall:  I did enjoy the book and do think that it would be okay for a child to read. The ending was a little unexpected.  It made you wonder if the issues in the book had really been resolved at all ... which, an ending that makes think about the story beyond what's written in a book, is a good thing.  It helps feed a person's imagination, which can never be bad.

I have noticed, though, within these first two books that R. L. Stine has stayed with the same type of family.  A mother whose patient and understanding.  A father whose a little preoccupied and can be short tempered.  A daughter/sister who is the oldest and is the first to notice the weird things that are happening.  Finally, a younger son/brother who is slightly spoiled, a nuisance and who thinks everything is fine until the weird stuff is practically shoved in his face.  It makes me wonder if R. L. Stine grew up in this type of family or if this was the family he had always wanted ... ???

I can certainly understand why a parent would not want their child to read this book.  However, I think if a parent restricts their child from reading this book the parent is a little too overprotective.  Strictly my opinion, of course.  Most children like a little scare and violence in their books. That's the whole point of buying a book like this, isn't it? You don't buy a book with a creepy cover and expect to read a love story, right? Right!

Off to read book #3 ...

Happy Reading! =)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Goosebumps #1 'Welcome to Dead House' by R. L. Stine: A Summary

I was going to post reviews of this series in groups of five, but as I finished the first book I realized that wouldn't work for me.  I'll have to do each book separately. By the way, there are spoilers in this review.  Away we go...

Some book specification info: There are 123 pages; ISBN #0-439-56847-1

Summary:  A family receives a letter in the mail stating that a house in Dark Falls was left to them by the father's uncle, Charlie.  Nobody in the family remembers this uncle, but they visit Dark Falls anyway to view the house.  The parents love the house and the fact that it's free, while the children (Amanda and Josh) find the house a little creepy.  The family moves into the house a couple weeks later.  Amanda has paranormal experiences (i.e. seeing ghosts, hearing whispers and seeing curtains moving) right away, while Josh is just ready to go back to their old house.  Eventually, the family finds out why Dark Falls is so creepy and leaves the town to go back to their old house.

Banned Reasons: Excessive violence

Many of us, if not all of us, have heard of this series ... whether it was as children, seeing them in a library or looking at them in the bookstore.  This series holds major appeal with children because most children like to be scared.  The cover art is drawn specifically to draw children to the books when they see them on a display.  This combined with complaints of 'excessive violence in books intended for children under the age of 12' are the reasons why this series was the most challenged during the 2000-2009 decade, according to the American Library Association.

I must say that I do not agree with the banned reasons.  I'm not sure about the remaining 61 books, but this first book did not have 'excessive violence.'  There was an implication of violence yet-to-come, but no real violence was actually depicted.  Unless you want to count the part where a flashlight was shown on an undead being and it caused his skin to melt off of his skull, his eyeballs popping out and him falling and cracking his skull on a tombstone ... ???  That was not violent.  Gross, maybe .. Violent?  No.

Overall:  The book is definitely suspenseful, but not scary.  I think R. L. Stine may have chosen the series title Goosebumps because he knew the books weren't scary.  People get goosebumps whenever they are spooked by something creepy, not when they're scared... being scared creates a whole different reaction in a person's body.

When I finished reading the book, I came up with eight questions that I did not have answers for (this may spoil some of the story for you):

1.) Why did the undead need fresh blood once a year when they have no blood coursing through their veins?

2.) Why does the light make their skin melt and make them appear to be dead?  Are they really dead?

I came up with question #2 because while one of the undead girls was melting, she was telling Amanda "Thank you."  But at the end of the book, when a new family was coming to live at the Dead House, it appears one of the undead was unharmed and there to welcome the family to their new home.

3.) Why do the undead form a circle around their victims?

I thought the answer to #3 was so the victims couldn't run away, but there were tied up victims in the book and they still formed a circle around them ... So, it got me wondering ...

4.) How did the undead kill their victims?

R. L. Stine never wrote how this was done.  He did have them kill the dog, Petey, first because 'animals always know' when a person is undead, but he didn't write how they did it.  I think it would've made the story a little more creepier if Stine would've had Amanda and Josh watching the undead kill Petey from a distance ... of course, that would've been violence and a valid reason for the book being challenged.

5.) How did the undead choose which family to bring to the Dead House?

6.) Why was it so important for Ray (one of the undead), known as The Watcher, to not let Amanda and Josh know who the undead really were for a few more weeks?

7.) Who buried the dead of Dark Falls?

This I wondered after one of the undead told the story of the town, Dark Falls, to Amanda and Josh.  There once was a plastics factory on the outskirts of town.  One day, there was an accident at the factory that caused a yellow gas to spread out over the town quickly.  So quickly that the people of the town didn't realize what was happening.  They all died as a result.  If they all died, who buried them?

8.)  If all the townspeople died at the same time, why are there different years of death on the tombstones?

I realize these questions probably come from an adult's viewpoint.  I don't know too many children that would think these questions while reading this book.  I do not find anything wrong with a child reading this book ... it is just a story after all.

Now, on to the reading of the second book in this series ...

Stay tuned! =)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Oh, Happy Day!

There once was a girl who loved to read;
Books of all genres would fill her need.
Patiently she waited in anticipation
For books to arrive and cause her elation.
She went to her mailbox, one afternoon;
Looking inside, she grinned like a loon.
For what did her mailbox have in store?
Why it was books! Books galore!!!
Eleven she received on this special day;
Making her happy, chasing her blues away ...

Yes, I did receive eleven books in the mail today!!!! I'm so happy about it I had to write a poem (on the spot, I might add), for out of those eleven books were ten of my Goosebumps!!!  I can finally begin reading for this blog again. Yay!!!!!

Happy Reading All! =)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I am, by nature, not a very patient person when it comes to something I want very badly.  So, me waiting on my next books to arrive is pure torture!!!!  I feel like this blog is in an 'on hold' status and that drives me absolutely bonkers.

I will update you all as soon as I know more.  Please be patient with me dear followers, I am trying to get the books here as quickly as possible.  In the interim, I do have another blog if you'd like to check it out here.

Happy Reading! =)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Book Hop Friday!!!

This is my very first book "hop".  In order to participate, there is a question I must answer: "How do you spread the word about your blog?"

Well, I actually have two blogs.  This is the first one I started and I began it several months ago.  It all started when my mother-in-law, Mama G, asked me to look up some reasons on why a few books were challenged (to view the whole story, please click on the My Purpose link at the top of my page).

At first, I just posted links on my Facebook page letting my friends know about my blog.  Then I found out about Goodreads, Shelfari and Book Blogs Ning.  Since then, I have received numerous emails concerning my blog.

I love the fact that people enjoy this blog.  I hope to receive many more followers as I continue on my 'Banned' quest!!!!

Happy Reading! =)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

They're On The Way!

I bought and am expecting 10 more of the Goosebumps books.  Once they arrive, I will begin this series.  I'm intending on reading them in groups of five until I reach the last 12 in the series, at which time I'll read in groups of six.  Once I've finished a group, I will post a review of them.

I thought that if I did it this way, I could put this blog back in regular motion and not keep my followers waiting any longer.

So, bear with me, dear followers ... I am keeping you in the forefront of my mind!

Happy Reading! =)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

#94: Goosebumps (series) by R. L. Stine

Series Info:

62 Books in the original Goosebumps series
Number of pages for each book varies
Reading Level: Children, Young Adults

Synopsis:  This series was specifically written to scare you and give you goosebumps (pun intended) ... =)

Reason for being Banned/Challenged:  Surprisingly, this was on the American Library Association's list for being the most challenged between 2000 and 2009.  The complaints against the series indicated that there was 'excessive violence in books intended for children under the age of twelve.'

I am really excited to get all 62 of these books and can not WAIT to start reading them.  I will definitely keep ya'll updated.

Happy Reading! =)

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Challenge To You

I was informed yesterday that Banned Books Week began this past Saturday, September 25th, and ends this coming Saturday, October 2nd.  I was ecstatic that I had already been participating in this event for the past few months now.  Then I got to thinking .... how many other people are participating?

Here is my challenge to you, dear followers and friends of said followers, pick one book that has been banned or challenged and read it this week.  It's okay if you don't finish it by this Saturday, but at least start it and make a commitment to finish it.  If you don't know of any books that are banned or challenged, you can take a look at my previous posts or you can click on my Top 100 List tab at the top of my page.  You may be surprised that some books you already knew about are on this list.

We have to be more open to the stories people have to tell.  You never know what you can learn from someone else, unless you spend time with that person or read their story.

Happy Reading! =)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Slight Pause

The next banned books that are on the list for me to read is the Goosebumps series by R. L. Stine.  There are several Goosebumps series, but I plan to only read the original series.  Having said that, there are 62 books in the original series ... yes, I said 62, that was not a typo. =)

So, while I am in the process of buying all said 62 books (yes, I am that dedicated to the purposes of this blog), I will be reading books and reviewing them for my other blog, Literary R&R.  I currently have four of the 62 books.  I should have the remainder soon, if all goes well.  Understandably, this is the largest series in the Top 100 (thank goodness!!!) so it may take me a little bit.

I will definitely keep ya'll updated.  During the interim, please check out my other blog.

Happy Reading! =)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Shade's Children: A Summary

You cannot tell by the title, but if you look at the cover of the book you'll realize the story inside will have a sci-fi feel to it.  Now, I'm not a huge sci-fi fan.  I've not made it thru all of the Star Wars movies or anything.  I tend to find sci-fi somewhat unrealistic and slightly boring.

Upon reading the book, it did turn out to be sci-fi-ish (yes, I just made that word up) but not overly so.  The book was an easy read in that the chapters were not too long and the print was the perfect size for fluid reading ... not too small, but not huge either.  It did have sci-fi terms and names for creatures that only a sci-fi geek would think of (sorry geeksters!).

Banned Reasons:  Vulgarity and for being obscene

I really do not understand how this book can be banned for being vulgar and obscene.  There are a few curse words here and there, but nothing that is overly shocking.  As for being obscene .... I'd like to know which uptight right-wing activist read this book and deemed it 'obscene.'  There was absolutely nothing in this book that was obscene.

One part of the book that may be thought of as "obscene" is the section mentioning the 'Lottery.'  The 'Lottery' is a randomly selected sexual encounter voluntarily participated in by survivors of The Change.  Even though you know there's a 'Lottery,' the book does not go into detail of the sexual encounters being acted out.  It simply explains what the 'Lottery' is and who participates in it.

Overall:  Even though I'm not a big fan of the sci-fi genre, I am glad this book was in the Top 100.  It gave me the chance to read a sci-fi book that I actually enjoyed.  As you can probably tell, I did not agree with the banned reasons.  I think any young adult (around the middle-school age) who likes to read various genres of literature would enjoy this book.  The ending was bittersweet, but well thought out and extremely appropriate.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I didn't want too many days to pass without posting something on here. 

I am currently reading Shade's Children.I should be finished with it by Thursday or Friday this week and will post a review then.  After that, it will be time to begin my first series on this list!  =)

Speaking of the list ... I added a page that lists the Top 100 books I am reading for this blog.  If you'd like to read along, please do so.  I would love the "company" and any discussions that arise.

I also added a page for what I'm intending to do after I've finished the Top 100 ... which all depends on you, my dear followers.  So ... don't let me down! =)

Last, but not least, I love having you all as my followers, but I sure would like to have more.  If you know anyone that may appreciate and enjoy my blog, please let them know where I'm at.

Thanks and Happy Reading! =)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Shout Out ...

I am so excited! Yesterday, I was told that I received my very first 'shout out' on another blog!!! =)  When I started this blog I had hoped it would grab people's attention and it looks like it is.

Thank you ~ Paperback Writer ~ for my very first shout out.

Followers, please check out Paperback's blog.  I believe you will enjoy its contents.

Also, I want to mention that I believe my blog could probably use some aesthetic improvements.  I am relatively new to blogging so if you have any suggestions for improvements, I would be more than happy to hear them and take them into consideration.

Thanks everyone! =)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

#95: Shade's Children by Garth Nix

Book Info:

352 Pages
Reading Level: Young Adult
ISBN# 978-0064471961

Synopsis: From what I can tell, this is a sci-fi book about children, evil "overlords" and the ever constant battle of good vs. evil

Reason for being Banned/Challenged:  Vulgarity and for being obscene

I am currently reading and about to finish a book that I will be posting a review of on my other blog, Literary R&R.  I would love for all those following this blog to follow my other blog as well.  The url is  As soon as I've finished the book I'm currently reading, I will begin Shade's Children.

Happy Reading All! =)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Grendel: A Summary

I don't know what I was exactly expecting from this book, but here's my summary of it...

Summary:  This book focuses on Grendel and the latter part of his existence.  It's told in first person from Grendel's point of view.

Banned Reasons:  I couldn't find anything online that specifically stated why this book was banned or challenged.  I did find where people suggested it was banned/challenged due to Grendel's violence and view of the world.

Do I agree with the book being banned/challenged?  In a way, yes.

As I read a book, I generally picture it in my mind as I'm reading.  I found the depiction of Grendel's violence in the book a little disturbing.  Whether my disturbed feelings came from the actual reading of the book or the pictures in my mind I was creating as I was reading the book I'm not sure, but I feel it may have been a little bit of both.  Because I would not have created those images in my mind if the scenes I was reading weren't so aptly depicted.

As for Grendel's view of his world and that around him ... I'm sure there are people that think and believe as Grendel, but the majority of people I know have a stronger basis in reality than Grendel.  At first, Grendel believed that there was one Being that created everything and everyone.  As he got older, those beliefs didn't suit Grendel.  I believe it may have been because Grendel was going thru his pubescent phase where a lot of questions arise about self and people in general.  He felt his life was out of control, so to gain a semblance of control, Grendel started believing that his world was what he said it was.  For example, he would believe a tree existed because he said it did.  In essence, he was "playing" God in his mind and he was becoming self-delusional enough to believe it to be true.

I found myself feeling a little sad for Grendel.  He had nobody to speak with, nobody to confide in and those he tried to speak to viewed him as monstrous and were afraid of him.  Grendel was lonely and his loneliness assisted in his viewing the world as he did... where only he existed and everything existed because of him.

Overall:  While this book may not be politically or socially correct, I did enjoy the book.  I think anybody at an advanced reading level (no matter the age) would be able to read and understand the book... even if they didn't agree with story.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

#96: Grendel by John Gardner

Book Info:

174 Pages
Reading Level:  I could not find a definitive answer on this.  I saw where some said 12th grade, while others had grade schoolers reading the book.  This will be something I will have to answer when writing my summary.
ISBN# 978-0-679-72311-0

Synopsis:  A re-telling of the infamous poem Beowulf, but from Grendel's, the antagonist's, point of view.

Reason for being Banned/Challenged:  Again, could find nothing really definitive, but I did see where some people had issues with the book's depiction of violence and its hateful viewpoints.

Well, for those that know me, I'm all about the rebel and going against the grain so it'll be interesting to read this book and give my opinion about it.

Stay tuned!  I promise it won't take as long as #97! =)

The House of the Spirits: A Summary

Wow.  First, let me say that I am extremely grateful that I pushed thru and finished this book today.  I feel like a weight has been lifted in finishing this book.  I do not like to drag out the reading of a book for so long.  You've waited patiently for ... a little over two months to get my review.  That amount of time is not acceptable and, hopefully, will never happen again.  Let's get on with it...

Summary:  The book is a story spread out over an extended period of time.  It begins with a little girl and finishes with that little girl's granddaughter.  It is the life story of a family.  It explores the relationships between them all: good, bad, sad, happiness, abuse, anger ... everything.  It's also important to point out that it also covers this family's involvement of a political and governmental upheaval.  I don't recall that the country the story is based in was ever actually mentioned, but it was definitely of the Mexican/Latin persuasion.

Banned Reasons:  Sexually explicit and offensive language

I am torn between agreeing and disagreeing with the banned reasons.  On the one hand, there are sexual references, and scenes, in the book.  However, they are not as explicitly depicted as in an erotic volume of literature.  The references are written so that you know what's going on, but yet it still doesn't go into graphic detail.

As for the "offensive language"... children riding a school bus probably hear more offensive language than what's written in this book.  I'm not saying offensive language is acceptable, but I would be blind if I thought school-aged children do not curse.  They do.  And the language in this book is no worse than what a child hears or says at school.

Overall:  The book started out slow, then became more interesting and easier to read.  However, by the time the middle of the 10th chapter came around, I was utterly bored yet again.  It picked up one last time towards the end of the last chapter and in the Epilogue.

I think the reason I found it boring was because of the military garble and the depiction of the uprising of the country's government.  Yes, I understand that's an important time in a country's existence, but .... it put me to sleep.  Thus my struggle in finishing it.

With the recommended reading level being Young Adult, I would say that I agree with that.  By the time a child reaches the Young Adult age (say around 13 or 14), they've pretty much heard or said everything that's written in this book language-wise and relation-wise.

Still Here...

I have not abandoned my reading of the Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books. I know it seems that way. I am simply trying to force myself to finish the book I'm STILL reading; The House of the Spirits. I am on the next-to-last chapter so it shouldn't be too much longer before I have a review. Although, as you can probably tell, it won't be a good one.

Please hang in there with me. I am still working on this list of books. I have not forgotten, nor will I quit! I will push thru and make it to the end! I'm just glad I didn't give myself a time limit!

Happy Reading all!


Monday, July 5, 2010


I'm still reading 'The House of the Spirits'. So far, I'm intrigued by the plot and I find myself wondering what's going to happen next. One complaint I do have is that the chapters are too long. But, that's up to the author's discretion and I am only the reader.

Within the first three chapters, there has already been murder, lies, secrecy, rape and more. So, I'm hoping the rest of the book is as intriguing as the first three chapters...

Stay tuned and I will let you know! =)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

#97: The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

433 Pages
Reading Level: Young Adult
ISBN #0-553-27391-4

Synopsis: A story that focuses on four generations of women of the Trueba family and their dreams, hopes, love affairs, spiritual yearnings and connections with each other.

Reasons for being banned/challenged: Sexually explicit and offensive language

So far, the book sounds interesting. I've seen several people's responses to this book... some have found this book boring and irrelevant while others have found this book to stimulate them mentally. Wonder which side of the fence I'll be on....???

Friday, June 18, 2010

I Saw Esau: A Summary

I apologize, dear followers, that it's taken me so long to finish this book. It's not a difficult read. I have just been extremely busy. Now, on to what you came here for.... =)

Summary: The book is a collection of rhymes and poems collected from children and schoolyards. There are drawings to coincide with many of the rhymes in the book.

Banned Reasons: I could find nothing definitive while searching for reasons. One reason I did find was that it is challenged/banned is for the artwork depicted throughout the book.

I must say that, this time, I do agree with the reasons for being challenged/banned. Some of the rhymes are disturbing. And, I'm still young enough to realize that if they're disturbing to me as an adult, they would definitely have a strong appeal to children. Here is one example:

I one my mother.
I two my mother.
I three my mother.
I four my mother.
I five my mother.
I six my mother.
I seven my mother.
I ate my mother.

Now, on it's own, it doesn't sound that disturbing. I mean, what child is actually going to eat their mother? The artwork that goes with this poem, though, is what gives this rhyme its disturbing quality. It's eight different depictations of a baby sitting on his mother's lap to breast feed (picture 1) and then ends up swallowing her whole until he's big and fat from eating her (picture 8).

Another example of the rhymes in this book is:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
The shorter the skirt
The better the view

There's no artwork that coincides with this rhyme, but .... seriously??? For an adult, this might be a cute little ditty. But, for a child? A child is supposed to be innocent (even though we all know that lately, most children's innocence doesn't last very long).

Overall: I would recommend that children not read this book. All of the rhymes in the book have a darker side to them. Some of the artwork depicts nudity and a viciousness that children do not need to see.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

#98: I Saw Esau by Iona & Peter Opie

Book Info:

160 Pages
Reading Level: Ages 4 - 8
ISBN# 0-7636-1199-9

Synopsis: A collection of rhymes used by children on school yards.

Reason for being Banned/Challenged: Offensive illustrations

Notable Comments by the Author in the Introduction: "They (the rhymes in the book) were clearly not rhymes that a grandmother might sing to a grandchild on her knee. They have more oomph and zoom; they pack a punch. Many are directly concerned with the exigencies of school life: the need for a stinging reply when verbally attacked; the need for comic complaints in the face of persecution or the grinding drudgery of schoolwork; the need to know some clever rhymes by heart, with which to win popularity."


Monday, May 31, 2010

Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret: A Summary

I would've finished this book in one day, but I decided to take my time with it. I think when you can read fast, you sometimes miss a lot of the metaphors and innuendos that are in a story.

Summary: The book centers around Margaret, who is an only child and is moved to a new neighborhood where she doesn't know anyone. She has to become acclimated to a society that believes everyone should belong to a religion. Her parents were raised in different religions, but decided to not have a religion when they fell in love and eloped. They told Margaret she could choose a religion when she's old enough, but only if she really wants to. So, because of a school assignment, Margaret spends her sixth-grade year studying various religions trying to figure out which one suits her and lets her "feel" God.

Favorite Line/Passage: "...I've been looking for you God. I looked in temple. I looked in church. And today, I looked for you when I wanted to confess. But you weren't there. I didn't feel you at all. Not the way I do when I talk to you at night. Why God? Why do I only feel you when I'm alone?"

Banned Reasons: No real definitive reason. Various research suggests book is challenged/banned due to religious overtones and puberty references.

I disagree with the book being challenged/banned. Yes, the book references various religions. Yes, Margaret talks with God on a regular basis. Yes, the girls in the book discuss periods and bras and boys. But, what 12-year old girl doesn't discuss these very things? That's a time in a girl's life when their hormones are starting to take over and they're in the transitioning stage when they want to be grown up. So, of course they're going to discuss periods, bras and boys. I applaud Judy Blume for taking this awkward time in a girl's life and putting it into a story form.

And, as for the religious aspects... it's not like Judy Blume is promoting one religion over another. She simply told the story of a little girl searching for a religion that suited her. As it turns out, religion wasn't for Margaret because it didn't make her feel as close to God as talking to Him one-on-one every night. I think if more people were like Margaret and talked to God about every situation they were in, they wouldn't be in as bad of a predicament as they are in.

Overall: I would recommend that pre-teen girls read this book. I think they would be able to relate to the main character in the book.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

#99: 'Are You There God? It's Me Margaret.' by Judy Blume

Book Info

149 Pages
Reading Level: Young Adult
ISBN #0-440-40419-3

Synopsis: Little Margaret is confused about her mixed religious heritage and she struggles to figure it out.

Reason for being banned/challenged: There's really no definitive reasons for the book being banned or challenged. The only reasons I can tell (from reading reviews on various websites) is the fact that the book deals with religion(s) and a little girl's growing up experiences (first period, first bra, etc.)

I will start this book tonight. Should have a review soon! =)

Monday, May 24, 2010

America: A Summary

So, I've finally gotten started on this Top 100. My first assignment, "America" by E. R. Frank, was a little more than I expected.

Summary: The book centers around a boy named America, who is seriously screwed up from the events that happened to him by the very people he learned to trust. He ends up in a psych hospital where there's a doctor who earns America's trust, slowly but surely. America eventually gets well enough to get out of the psych hospital and into a transitional living home.

Favorite Line: "I'm in America, and America is me."

Banned Reasons: Inappropriate use of language and graphic description of sexual activity. There is definitely an inappropriate use of language in the book, but it's sort of to be expected... especially after knowing everything America has been thru. The sexual activity, on the other hand, isn't as graphically depicted as the critics claim. There are sexually active parts in the book, but they do not go into graphic detail.

Overall: The reasons the book is banned from school are valid. I was surprisingly drawn into the book and didn't want to put it down once I started reading it. I will read it again.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


I finally have the #100 book in my possession!!!! I will begin reading tonight. FINALLY!!!! I can now begin the Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books!!!!

Stay tuned... =)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Getting Aggravated....

I ordered my book over a week ago and it still hasn't come in yet. I don't know when it will come in...I am so ready to get this Top 100 started!!!!!!


Friday, April 23, 2010

The Waiting Game...

So, I went to BAM! this morning to buy 'America' and they did not have it in the store. They had book #99, which I went ahead and bought. I suppose I could go ahead and read #99, then read #100 when it comes in next week, but I have a slight case of OCD :-) I don't like to do something out of order when I've already decided how I'm going to do it.

Alas, boys and girls, I will not be able to start reading until May 1st. During this waiting period, I've looked over the list of 100 titles/series that I'll be reading. I've got a question I would like your opinion on:

For the titles on the list that are series, should I read the ENTIRE series?

If so, there's one series on the list (there's 11 different series on the list, by the way) that has 62 books in it so far. Granted, these books on the list are generally teenaged reading (sometimes younger), but still.... 62 books?!

Now, I don't mind buying the books and getting them, but I was wondering what your opinions are. Let me know!!!! =)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

#100: 'America' by E. R. Frank

Beginning my reading list is America by E. R. Frank.

Book info

242 Pages
Age 13 - 17 is the proposed reading level
ISBN-13: 9780689857720

Synopsis: Looks to be about a 15-year old boy with emotional issues who loses the will to live. Until a doctor steps onto the scene and helps the 15-year old with his problems.

Reason for being banned/challenged: Because the book contains an inappropriate use of language and graphic description of sexual activity.

I will be going to the bookstore tomorrow and buying this book so that I can begin reading it. Once I've started and read into the book a few chapters, I will update everyone with my thoughts about it.

Stay tuned.... =)

Groundless Fear or Valid Point(s)...???

This interest all began when my mother-in-law gave me a list of books (was not 100) and asked me to find out why they were banned from being read in some public schools.

Now, I've already read some of the books on the Top 100 (list acquired from, but in the interest of this blog, I'm going to re-read them. What I'm intending to do is start with the least challenged book (#100) and work my way up to the most challenged book (#1). Before I begin reading, I will post a blog with book info (title, author, overview of book, etc.) and then give you the reasons I found as to why it's a banned/challenged book. I will post various blogs during the course of my reading the book. Once it's finished, I will post my opinion on whether I find the banned/challenged reasons valid.

I don't expect anybody to join me in reading these books, but if you would like to I would welcome the comments to any or all of my blogs.

I don't know how long this will take me to work thru all 100 titles/series, so I'm not even going to begin to give myself a time limit.

Some books I'm sure I will find boring, while I find others exciting and easy to read. However, throughout it all I'm hoping to expand my literary knowledge and to develop a deeper appreciation of the written word.... which, to me, is losing its ground in this new technological phase this world has entered into over the past 20 years.

So, join me on my journey thru the Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000 - 2009!