Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Easy Meme

     So many of the blogs I read are more personal than political, and on many levels I enjoy them more. It's like reading a sitcom or a soap opera. Sometimes I can't wait to find out what happens next. Although my blog reading is certainly limited (maybe 20 on a given day out of over 18 million that Technorati is tracking), I like to think that it gives me a little insight into what different people think and do on a daily basis. Certainly in some ways I have very little in common with a yoga instructor in Astoria or an ESOL teacher in Vegas or an obsessive gardener in Wisconsin, so it's like a window into worlds I would never otherwise see.
     There was an interesting article in Newsweek this week by Anna Quindlen that said politicians should watch more television. She made the point that for people who are so separated from normal American life, television might be the only way to possibly connect. George Bush, who last lived a private life in 10 years, has never really live the life of the average American. I'm not picking on him - his situation isn't unique for a career politician, especially one born into a life of privilege. Why was it last month when thousands of Katrina refugees were huddled in the New Orleans convention center, every American glued to their TV sets knew it, but the President and the head of FEMA did not? Because they were not watching the news. They did not see what we saw. If you think about that for a moment, it's scary. They have access to classified reports from their field agents, but they are completely isolated from 280 million Americans and are unable to know what's going on.
     So by reading blogs I get to feel a little superior, knowing what's going on in some small corner of Cleveland or reading a daily diary from Brooklyn. For those of you who read such personal blogs, you should be familiar with "memes" like blogger interviews, What kind of Star Wars character are you, What day will you die, 100 things about me. As tempting as they are, I've decided to keep The Truth less personal and more about ideas and analysis. But I've broken down today and will participate in one I found on Majikthise. It talks about the 100 most challenged books - the ones parents try to ban from schools. It's a very eclectic list. How many have you read? I've only read 19 20 (UPDATE: Oops, I didn't recognize "Earth's Children" as the "Clan of the Cave Bear" series), but I don't know if that's admirable or not. My list:

     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
     9) Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
     13) The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
     20) Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel (This was hot when I was in middle school. I picked out all the juicy parts and showed all my 6th grade friends)
     22) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
     27) The Witches by Roald Dahl
     32) Blubber by Judy Blume
     41) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
     47) Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
     51) A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
     56) James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
     62) Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
     70) Lord of the Flies by William Golding
     84) The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
     88) Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford (WTF??)
     96) How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell


Ben said...

I got you beat:
1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
2. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
3. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
4. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
5. The Giver by Lois Lowry
6. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
8. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
9. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
10. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
11. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
12. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
13. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
14. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
15. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
16. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
17. Native Son by Richard Wright
18. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
19. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene

Of course I am completely against book-banning, but I can see why a far-right religious nut might want to ban something like Harry Potter, but The Giver? A Wrinkle in Time? What could possibly be so bad about those?

ORF said...

Links in your posts, bitch. Links....

Ok, here's mine:
1. Scary Stories
3: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
5: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
7: Harry Potter (shouldn't these count as six???)
9: Bridge to Terabitihia
13: The Catcher in the Rye (and wrote a paper on it)
17: A Day No Pigs Would Die
22: A Wrinkle in Time
23: Go Ask Alice
25: In the Night Kitchen (At like age 2. I started early. Thanks, Mom!!)
27: The Witches
32: Blubber
38: Julie of the Wolves
41: To Kill a Mockingbird (about 15 times)
43: The Outsiders
47: Flowers for Algernon
51: A Light in the Attic
52: Brave New World
56: James and the Giant Peach
62: Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret (what female has NOT read this book?)
69: Slaughterhouse Five
70: Lord of the Flies
71: Native Son
84: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
88: Where's Waldo? (ummm...what?)
89: Summer of My German Soldier
96: How to Eat Fried Worms

27 total. Suck it!!

Of note, these are books that were "challenged" from 1990-2000. And I think pretty much every book from my seventh grade reading list is on this joint. In fact, I read a LOT of these books in school. Also, where in the hell is "Lolita"? That book is constantly being banned!

Scott said...

Ben, how in your head do you "have me beat" when your number is the exact same as mine??

Ben said...

Simple, I counted wrong. Thought you had 18, my bad.

I think I may have read more of those Judy Blume books ont he list, but I only put books I was absolutely sure about. And Ordinary People has got to be one of the most boring, pointless books I've ever read. The movie might even be worse.

Shannon said...

I only got 20, but I posted them on my blog. Cool idea, Scott.

Sylvana said...

2, 6, 11, 20, 22, 32, 41, 43, 55, 61, 62, 69, 70, 73, 96

eh, I was surprised I got 15. my home town didn't have a lot of books. Many of the books I read on this list I have read in the last ten years.

Shannon said...

Ben, you can't let Scott do that to you with that "Clan of the Cave Bear" move. Are you sure now you didn't read Madonna's Sex book (#19)? That was required reading in Las Vegas High Schools.

Ben said...

Sorry Shannon, I just can't tell a lie! Actually my parents urged me for years to read Clan of the Cave Bear, but I never did.

I'm surprised none of Ayn Rand's stuff is on there. She's got a lot of haters out there.

Scott said...

Maybe, but the people who think Ayn Rand spouts garbage also tend not to be the type of people to try to ban books.

ORF said...

Oh, and garbage does she spout!
Actually, I can handle Objectivism or whatever, but man is she just a lousy-ass writer.

Ben said...

I'll ahve to heartily disagree with you, I think she's a great writer. Her style fits her story perfectly. I'll grant that if you her side by side with a master of prose like Carson McCullers, she won't come out well, but her stories wouldn't work the same with conventional writing.