“On Freedom to Write” — Don DeLillo

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: One of Our Favorite Challenged Books

E.W. Kemble's frontispiece to the original 1884 edition
E.W. Kemble’s frontispiece to the original illustrated edition

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, undoubtedly one of the Great American Novels, ranks a healthy #5 on the ALA’s list the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books. Young Huck’s casual colloquial use of the word “nigger” and the cruel hijinks Huck and Tom play on Jim at the novel’s end are two reasons that many have sought to suppress Twain’s masterpiece, including educator and critic John Wallace, who famously called it “the most grotesque example of racist trash ever given our children to read.” Wallace went so far as to suggest that “Any teacher caught trying to use that piece of trash with our children should be fired on the spot, for he or she is either racist, insensitive, naive, incompetent or all of the above.”

I guess I should’ve been fired on the spot, as I’ve used Huck Finn in my classroom a number of times, almost always in conjunction with excerpts from Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative, some Philis Wheatley poems, and a UN report on modern human trafficking. Context is everything.

While I can concede readily that Huck, the voice of the novel, says some pretty degrading things about Jim, often meant (on Twain’s part) to create humor for the reader, to expect Twain’s treatment of race to be what we in the 21st century want it to be is to not treat the material with any justice. And while Huck Finn may be insensitive at times, it handles the issues of race, slavery, class, and escape from the dominant social order with the complexity and thought that such weighty issues deserve. Ultimately, the novel performs a critique on the hypocrisy of a “Christian,” “democratic” society that thought it was okay to buy and sell people. This critique shows up right in the second page. Consider these lines (boldface mine):

The widow rung a bell for supper, and you had to come to time. When you got to the table you couldn’t go right to eating, but you had to wait for the widow to tuck down her head and grumble a little over the victuals, though there warn’t really anything the matter with them,—that is, nothing only everything was cooked by itself. In a barrel of odds and ends it is different; things get mixed up, and the juice kind of swaps around, and the things go better.

After supper she got out her book and learned me about Moses and the Bulrushers, and I was in a sweat to find out all about him; but by and by she let it out that Moses had been dead a considerable long time; so then I didn’t care no more about him, because I don’t take no stock in dead people.

Huck’s dream is of a delicious mix, a swapping of juices — integration. Additionally, his disregard for the dead Bible heroes reveals that the white Christian society’s obsession with the ancient past comes at the expense of contemporary value. Huck, an orphan, and Jim, separated from his family, will symbolically echo Moses in the bulrushes as they use the great Mississippi as a conduit for escape, for freedom. Huck (or Twain, really) here points out that it’s not enough to look at dead words on a page, on old dead lawgivers–we have to pay attention to the evils and wrongs and hypocrisies that live today.

Twain even tells us how to read his book from the outset:

Now, it’s impossible to read a book–a good book–without finding its plot, searching for its moral, or caring about its characters, and Twain knows this. His “Notice” is tantamount to saying “don’t think about an elephant”–he uses irony to tell us we must find motive, moral, and plot here, and that we must do so through this lens of irony.

But of course, you have to read closely for all these things. I suppose it’s technically easier to call something trash, throw it in the garbage, and not have to devote time and energy to thinking about it. Who knows? You might learn something–and we wouldn’t want that, would we?

[Editorial note: Biblioklept originally published this piece in September of 2008].

Child of God — Cormac McCarthy

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In Greek drama, acts of violence or sex were “ob skena” and had to take place off stage. Thus, the horrific violence of Oedipus gouging out his eyes is not shown, but rather reported by a messenger. We see the same tradition in Shakespeare, of course, as well as the modern novel. And while many writers elide scenes too taboo or offensive to the sensibilities of the general reading public, books like Ulysses, Lolita, and Tropic of Capricorn, demonstrate that novels are often the site of debate over what can and cannot be shown or described or articulated plainly in our culture. Our concept of “the obscene” (the Greek “ob skena” simply translates to “off stage”) demands that certain actions might only be referred to or implied, but not graphically depicted, that the offensive action takes place out of our vision. The great lie or paradox of the obscene then is that in pushing the offensive action off stage, the author necessitates that the audience must envision that very action that was removed, that they must articulate their own understanding or schema or representation of what is taboo. While this strategy can often be quite effective and affecting (think of Tarantino pulling the camera away as Mr. Blonde cuts off the cop’s ear in Reservoir Dogs), in a character-centered novel it can also lead to a larger denial, a larger exclusion. What if one’s whole life was obscene? In his third novel, Child of God, Cormac McCarthy tells the story of a man who has been pushed from life’s stage, who exists in the uncanny and indigent margins of society.

The ersatz protagonist of Child of God, Lester Ballard, is a poor, stooped, abject wretch of a man. The book opens with Ballard losing his house in a humiliating debacle. From there, he wanders the earth, finding an abandoned shack and barely eking out the means to leave. Ballard is an outsider, literally, always looking in at the lives of more normal, more stable people. His voyeurism leads him to creep up to parked cars to spy on the lovers inside. Wanting some connection or sense of love–or perhaps just out of general dejected weirdness–he masturbates against the cars, watching the people inside. His identity as voyeur is magnified in his only apparent skill. Ballard is an ace sharpshooter who carries his rifle almost everywhere he goes, surreptitiously spying on the normal folks through its lethal scope.

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As the book develops in McCarthy’s spare, terse prose, Ballard becomes more and more unhinged. Everywhere he goes he is slighted or outright rejected and cheated by his fellow man. The indignities and affronts against Ballard range from being falsely accused of rape to simply being ignored by his neighbors. At the same time, Ballard is a creep, a loser, and seems largely deserving of this treatment. And yet, as McCarthy points out early in the novel, he is a “child of God, much like yourself perhaps.” This early call to identify with Ballard as a fellow human being is constantly strained by his wildly antisocial behavior, and yet it’s McCarthy’s genius as a writer that anchors the novel in some measure of sympathy for such a wretched anti-hero. When a young girl rejects Ballard’s advances, she taunts him, saying, “You ain’t even a man. You’re just a crazy thing.” In many ways, this is the major question of the novel: Is Ballard a man, or a thing? What makes a person a person, and not simply an object estranged from the human race? To test this question, McCarthy has Ballard plumb almost every conceivable taboo, from murder to arson to necrophilia. However, Ballard isn’t the only one in these Tennessee backwoods who behaves despicably: there’s the father who rapes his daughter, the gangster behavior of the Ku Klux Klan, and the mob justice of the townspeople as a whole. Still, Ballard’s descent into violence and madness–graphically portrayed by McCarthy–is the central action in this compelling novel.

Readers looking for redemptive story arcs or tales of heroism will likely be turned off by Child of God, and squeamish readers will probably not get past the first fifty pages. Those interested in McCarthy’s fiction will find more in common here with the visceral grit of The Road or Blood Meridian than the reflective romanticism of his “Border Trilogy” novels (including crowd pleaser All the Pretty Horses). Child of God is in many ways a response to the Gothicisms of Carson McCullers and William Faulkner, and certainly bears favorable comparison to those writers’ works. And like those writers’ works, McCarthy’s novel has its challengers–just as recently as 2007 an English teacher found himself in quite a bit of trouble for loaning the book to a student. Those who see the book as obscene are perhaps right, in the sense that the word implies “that which must be shown off stage.” However, one of the legal definitions of obscenity necessitates that the work “lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value,” a claim that I do not think can be seriously substantiated against Child of God. Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself.

Joe The Plumber Plunges Into A Puzzling Paradox

Yesterday, CNN’s Political Ticker blog published a short piece on Joe “The Plumber” Wurzelbacher (you know, that dick who landed on our Worst People of 2008 list). Wurzelbacher is covering the Israeli attacks on the people of Gaza for a conservative website called Pajamas Media. In the report, Joe waxes philosophical on the nature of war and freedom of the press:

“I think media should be abolished from, you know, reporting,” Wurzelbacher said. “You know, war is hell. And if you’re gonna sit there and say, ‘well, look at this atrocity,’ well you don’t know the whole story behind it half the time, so I think the media should have no business in it.”

So, let’s figure out Joe’s line of reasoning: War is bad. We don’t know “the whole story” behind the situations and circumstance in which war occurs. Therefore, because we don’t know “the whole story,” we should cease from any “you know, reporting.” To simplify it further: We do not know certain things. News reporters, whose job it is is to determine and then report these certain things we do not know, do not know these certain things. Because reporters do not know these certain things (these certain things there job is to determine), they should be stopped from determining the truth of these unknown certain things.

We all owe Joe a debt of gratitude for demonstrating the rhetorical art of paradox so beautifully. A regular Xeno, this guy. Additionally, Joe here graces us with not only a demonstration of paradox, but also gives us a great model of irony–a reporter (okay, an unlicensed plumber pretending to be a reporter) ostensibly reporting a war calling for the abolishment of the reporting of war! Bravo! Now, if Joe could please give us a better demonstration of a prick by proceeding to fuck himself with a hat pin, I believe we would all be thrilled.

Sarah Palin, Vague Threats, and Why Banned Books Week Matters

We know Sarah Palin loves to read. In a great op/ed piece in today’s Washington Post, Ruth Marcus writes:

Asked in an interview for PBS’s Charlie Rose show last year (http://www.charlierose.com/guests/sarah-palin) about her favorite authors, Palin cited C.S. Lewis — “very, very deep” — and Dr. George Sheehan, a now-deceased writer for Runner’s World magazine whose columns Palin still keeps on hand.

“Very inspiring and very motivating,” she said. “He was an athlete and I think so much of what you learn in athletics about competition and healthy living that he was really able to encapsulate, has stayed with me all these years.”

Also, she got a Garfield desk calendar for Christmas 1987 that made a big impression.

Great stuff. Who doesn’t love to read? Books is where you gets knowledge. However, Palin is the sort of fundamentalist hardliner who thinks she knows what’s best for all of us to read–or not read. By now, you’ve probably heard of the pressure Palin exerted on the librarian of Wasilla. As mayor, Palin inquired how she might go about removing books from the library. Of course, according to most reports, including this one from The Anchorage Daily News earlier this month, “Palin didn’t mention specific books at that meeting.”

Huh. Hard to imagine that Palin didn’t get specific, right?

Palin then wrote the librarian in question a letter telling her she would be fired for lack of loyalty. Although public outcry prevented the firing, the librarian eventually moved away from Wasilla. Palin said at the time, and has maintained since then, that the question was “rhetorical”; she simply wanted to know how one would go about removing “objectionable” books.

Why would you ask how to remove books if you had no intention of removing them?

It’s too easy to dismiss Palin’s inquiries into censorship. Her moralistic will to ban what others read is really an attempt to control ideas, to control thoughts, to control bodies even–the ultimate goal of the far Christian right. It’s the middle of Banned Book’s Week, and it’s time to say “No” to the vacuous (a)moralizing of those like Palin who would presume to dictate what is and is not acceptable to be loaned in a public library. I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to let a woman who apparently believes that “dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time” tell me what to think or feel or read.

Banned Books Week calls attention to not only the great currency of ideas we have in literature, but to also points out that there are still those who seek to suppress ideas with which they don’t agree. Even as we celebrate these books, we must attack those who would ban them–especially those who work so surreptitiously.

Banned Books Weeks Begins

From the American Library Association:

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. This year, 2008, marks BBW’s 27th anniversary (September 27 through October 4).

BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.

BBW is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, National Association of College Stores, and is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

Purchase BBW promotional items—such as the BBW Kit—through the ALA Store.

Explore Banned Books Week further through these resources:

Don’t Ban Books

I rarely write about “local” events (although “local” blogs are my favorite), but circumstances provoke me tonight. According to Jacksonville’s own Citadel of Truth, First Coast News, Eddie de Oliveira’s novel Lucky is under review by Duval County Public Schools (my Esteemed Employer, I add in the interest of full disclosure). A parent has complained that the book contains “questionable” material and should be banned from the school library. Aparently even in the late oughties the theme of a sexually-confused teenager is “questionable.” According to the (short) report, the parent was particularly offended by “gay themes” and the words “swinger’s party.” The story was barely a blip in the background as the wife and I prepared fresh pesto, so I didn’t catch what particular school said parent’s spawn attends [ed. note–I found out Tuesday morning that the school is none other than LaVilla School of the Arts (emphasis mine)–Jiminy Cricket, what’s up when it’s the art school parents attacking books!] but even if it is an elementary school (which it probably isn’t, not that that matters), banning books from our public school system is regressive at best, and ultimately an abasement of knowledge and intellect. In the past, DCPS has restricted and/or banned The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Catcher in the Rye, Of Mice and Men and at least a dozen more books (I haven’t been able to locate a complete list as of now). Of course, every year many books are challenged (the Harry Potter series springs immediately to mind, and Judy Blume has always caused problems for uptight parents who don’t want to talk honestly with their kids) and as an English teacher I’ve dealt with this in my own classroom, from both parents and administration (an administrator advised [i.e. told] me not to have my students read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; another time an administrator was shocked by the diction of Zora Neale Hurston’s classic Their Eyes Were Watching God). This particular mother’s concern is the “questionable” nature of the Lucky‘s themes which might cause readers to uhm, you know, question stuff. If super-mom doesn’t want her kid to read so-and-so, that’s fine with me (and what a great, attentive parent to be all up in the grill of said child’s reading material. Seriously. We (educationeers) really encourage reading with your kids. For real)–but why attempt to ban the book? Why can’t the rest of us make these decisions for ourselves? I could go and on, but I think that my readers don’t need convincing (if you need convincing that banning books is an anti-progress gesture indicative of a caveman mentality, email me at biblioklept.ed@gmail.com). Let’s not add to Jax’s reputation as a bastion of provincial attitudes (particularly in light of recent vagina-controversies): if necessary, we must fight for this book, and every other book’s, place on the library shelf.

For a list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books, go here.

Classic Crime Comics Covers

Another covers gallery. I love this one–plenty of weirdness!

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Zombie kisses…mmm. The taboo pleasures of necrophilia in four-color glory!

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William Burroughs wasn’t the only one addressing the horrors of drug addiction. These touchy themes led to constant censorship battles for EC Comics.

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The horrors of love. I like this guy’s beard.

EC Comics, MAD Magazine, Censorship, and the Comics Code Authority

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When I was a kid, I loved loved loved MAD Magazine: I loved Alfred E. Neuman’s gap-toothed grin on the cover, I loved Don Martin’s wacky comic strips, I loved the fake ads, I loved the movie and TV show parodies that I didn’t understand (to this day there are certain movies that I only know about via MAD), I loved the Sergio Aragonés doodles that hid in the margins, I loved “Spy vs. Spy,” I loved the endless recycling of strips and parodies that were older than I was by a longshot,  I loved Al Jaffee’s “fold-ins” (even though they quickly wore down to unfunny illegibility within minutes), I even loved the perennially unfunny “Lighter Side of Strip.” I think most of all I loved the bizarre guttural language of MAD–the unpronounceable explosions of fricatives and glottals, the joyful and rude “smrzzps!” and “schlups!” and “putzes” that provided the perfect soundtrack for my pre-adolescent pre-angst. Surely, this was the special argot of the adult world, the perfect onomatopoeia of grown-up comedy. Even as a young kid, I knew that MAD was in some way offensive, that it somehow tested the bounds of decency. Of course, I mistook what was essentially puerile for something more urbane.

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So I was initially disappointed when I received Maria Reidelbach’s Completely Mad for Christmas one year. I guess I was expecting it to be a special all-color glossy hardback anthology. Eventually, I got around to reading it, and thus I learned the history of EC Comics and the censorship trials that the brand–and comics in general–had to endure. To this day, again and again, comic books come under the fire of those who wish to censor (check out the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s short history of censorship in comics to learn more). 

Under the editorial direction of William Gaines, EC Comics in the early 1950s specialized in horror, sci-fi, and true crime comics, publishing classic titles such as Tales from the Crypt and Weird Fantasy. These comics featured twisting and twisted plots, boldly illustrated with strong lines and graphic images. In a repressed and fearful age, EC Comics openly addressed problems of racial segregation and arms proliferation. The lurid artwork and progressive themes finally proved too much for Dr. Fredric Wertham, who addressed the supposed threat comics proved to the youth of America in Sedcution of the Innocent. Fitting right in to the McCarthyism of the era, Wertham’s book led to a Congressional hearing on comic books. In an attempt to regulate and control his own product, Gaines banded with other publishers to form the Comics Code Authority. This pre-emptive strike backfired, however–the CCA decided that they needed to censor every comic that came out, and give it this stamp of approval (still seen on mainstream comics today!)–

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If you’re interested in reading the full (and necessarily vague) code, check out Once Upon a Dime’s article here.

A disappointed Gaines quickly left the CCA but the damage was done. They ruled that comics couldn’t be published with words like “horror” or “weird” in the title, effectively blacklisting EC’s major titles.

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Check out this review of Psychoanalysis #1 at Polite Dissent.

Gaines continued to publish new comics like MD, and Psychoanalysis, but the CCA had poisoned the well. EC Comics went under, plagued by censorship battles and distribution  problems. Gaines focused all of his efforts on MAD, turning it into a full-sized magazine in 1955. MAD Magazine has been in continuous publication for over 50 years–although today the magazine prints paid ads. Yeah. That sucks, doesn’t it? So MAD has succumbed to commercialism–no wonder, considering that it’s the commodity name for such a crappy TV show. Even so, I’ll always recall gleefully devouring “Special Editions” of MAD, reprint digests chock full of references I didn’t get, thinking that I was gaining some forbidden knowledge. Maybe I was. 

William Burroughs Cover Gallery

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Burroughs appears on a large number of his covers, whether as a photograph, or something more iconic:

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I like this early, lurid pulp edition of Junky. Note the spelling of the title, as well as Burroughs’ pseudonym, William Lee:

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The Wild Boys: One of my faves.

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This Spanish edition of Naked Lunch really captures the squeamish quality of all things Burroughs:

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Check out the full gallery here.

Guy Fawkes Day and V for Vendetta

“Remember, remember the 5th of November…”

I was lucky enough to live in New Zealand for a few years as a kid, so I got to experience Guy Fawkes Day. We made effigies of Guy, and then we burned them on a bonfire. There was a barbecue, and fireworks. To me it seemed a strange mixture of the Fourth of July and Halloween. 

It was a few years after my last Guy Fawkes experience that I read Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta. V, an anarchist who wears a stylized Guy Fawkes mask, wages a vigilante war on a harsh authoritarian government. Along with Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, V was a first for me, something different than the stuff I was reading at the time, stuff like The Uncanny X-Men and the ill-fated Valiant Comics imprint (I actually made a small fortune selling early Valiant issues I owned).  

A film version of V for Vendetta was released in 2006; Alan Moore famously had his name removed from it. I enjoyed the film, although it certainly wasn’t as good or thought-provoking as Moore’s original story; and even though the film looked good, the passive experience of watching an action movie can’t measure up to David Lloyd’s original art work and that wonderful space between the panels of comics that engages the reader’s imagination.

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This afternoon I finished the first graphic novel of Alan Moore’s  run writing Swamp Thing, and I can’t wait until my library hold on the second graphic novel comes in. I had no idea Saga of the Swamp Thing would be as good as it was, nor as beautifully illustrated; it’s actually much better than V for Vendetta or Moore’s other famed work, Watchmen (and none of these titles are even in the same league as Moore’s masterpiece, From Hell). Alan Moore and Steve Bissette’s run on the DC Comics series essentially led to DC’s creation of the edgier Vertigo imprint for their more “mature” titles, such as The Sandman. These titles helped to change the audiences of “comic books” and helped to make the graphic novel a new standard in the medium (no mean feat, considering the fanboyish culture of comic nerds, a culture that prizes rarity of print run over quality of storytelling). 

One the lessons in V for Vendetta is to illustrate what happens when we don’t allow for dissent, what happens when ideas are both prescribed and proscribed, and all dialogue is muted. Authoritarian governments consolidate their power from the silencing of ideas. A healthy society requires all sorts of opinions, even ones we don’t like. The smiling Americans in this photo aren’t burning effigies of would-be revolutionaries, they are burning something much more dangerous–books.

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100 Most Frequently Challenged Books

Via bibliophil,  (links by biblioklept):

The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books
of 1990–2000
Compiled by the Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom does not claim comprehensiveness in recording challenges.
1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
2. Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
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
8. Forever by Judy Blume
9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
15. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
19. Sex by Madonna
20. Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
27. The Witches by Roald Dahl
28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
29. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
30. The Goats by Brock Cole
31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
32. Blubber by Judy Blume
33. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
35. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
36. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
37. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
38. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
40. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
46. Deenie by Judy Blume
47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
48. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
49. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
50. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
53. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
54. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
55. Cujo by Stephen King
56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
58. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
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
63. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
64. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
65. Fade by Robert Cormier
66. Guess What? by Mem Fox
67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
68. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
71. Native Son by Richard Wright
72. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
73. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
74. Jack by A.M. Homes
75. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
76. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
77. Carrie by Stephen King
78. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
79. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
80. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
81. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
82. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
86. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
87. Private Parts by Howard Stern
88. Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
90. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
92. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
93. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
94. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
95. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
96. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
97. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
98. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
99. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
100. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Any favorites on the list? I’ve got a few. I’ve read or at least familiar with 57 of these, including most of the top 25. What’s the beef with Where’s Waldo? Image links to a much better write up on banned books via the MPBA.