Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More on Kendra Leigh Castle

If you liked my review of Dark Highland Fire, and want to know more, check out Jackie’s interview of the author today at Literary Escapism.

JenB reviewed it here.

Book Binge.

Night Owl Romance.

Bitten By Books.

And finally, Castle’s group blog, along with Linda Wisdom, Terry Spear, Judi Fennell, Cheryl Brooks, and Loucinda McGary.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Stephanie Meyers, Twilight Series Review.

I haven’t read the Stephanie Meyers books. YA just isn’t my thing, but I’m feeling like I ought to read it just to review here. Which, really, is just backwards. So in lieu of my own actual thoughts, I’m posting the transcription of a forum conversation (with permission from the participants).

OK, I know I'm way behind the zeitgeist on this one, but I borrowed Twilight (Stephenie Meyer) last week from a co-worker. Three women that I work with have read all of the books and they couldn't talk about anything else last week. I've always liked YA, and I don't mind a little over-the-top wish fulfillment. And if it's the girly Harry Potter, I really should dip in a toe just for the sake of gender equity, right?

OK, so that's the setup. I came to the book with some doubts based on the Salon and Smart Bitches reviews, but I've always had a weak spot for an Alpha Male myself. I figured I'd find a guilty pleasure. And I can lower my standards pretty readily for a guilty pleasure . . .

But, no. I can hardly believe how much I hate this book. Hate the protagonist, who seems distinguished mostly by her disdain for every single person around her (she also hates snow the first time she sees it? What the fuck.) Hate the cardboard "hero." I find myself reading a couple of pages and putting the book down.

And that's another thing. The book is supposed to be page-turning, right? Maybe not great writing, I didn't expect that, but fun and fast-paced like candy. But no. NOTHING HAPPENS. I'm 200 pages into it and 90% of the action is in the heroine's head. It's like reading the diary of an extremely self-absorbed ten year old. But, the fake diary where she makes up interesting stuff because in reality she never leaves the house.

Ack! I'm offended on behalf of readers everywhere, and as a former girl, that this dreck, which I don't think even really qualifies as YA, gets compared to Harry Potter.

I can't believe my co-workers told me that after reading this I would never be satisfied with my husband again. I know, to each his own and no accounting for taste, but I just can't imagine how a grown-up women with children could find anything appealing here.

I'm just hoping if I continue a plot may appear . . .

Wow. I haven't read it yet; I'm not that big on YA but sooo many people love it. Weird.

It's like reading the diary of an extremely self-absorbed ten year old.

Yes! That kind of puts the finger right on it. It reminded me of the really overwrought, angst filled, "star crossed lovers" themed, passionate (yet chaste) fanfics written by middle school girls sighing and fantasizing over their first mad love.

However, even with that said, I found the books strangely compelling. When I was done with the first one I immediately wanted to read the next and the next. I found that if I gave it a little time, the urge dropped off sharply, and turned into a "WTF was I thinking" feeling. So there must be some sort of literary, brainwave crack in these books that speaks directly to my inner 10 year old. The same 10 year old that devoured the V.C. Andrews Flowers in the Attic series when they first came out. (I am equally horrified to discover that they are still being published in some sort of macabre posthumous trail of dreck.)

passionate (yet chaste) fanfics written by middle school girls sighing and fantasizing over their first mad love.

Oh, completely! Maybe that's why I react so strongly in the opposite direction - I remember being in that stage well enough to cringe over it. (But not well enough to channel and reproduce it - I have to give Meyer credit for that.)

If I make it to the end of the book, I'll report back on whether I want to read more. I keep thinking the compelling part has to be around the corner, and no. I can get past the cringe, I think, if something would just happen other than meaningful looks and out-of-place outrage (these characters are constantly infuriated with each other over nothing.)

Fiona (Chris’ daughter, age 11 ) just finished the second in the series, New Moon, and says "It is possibly the worst book I've ever read, and horribly boring, but somehow, I really liked it."


Ask Fi if there's a point in the first book where something actually happens :-) I don't know how much further I can slog without hope of plot ignition, and DH has a stack of shiny new books calling to be poached (he celebrated a birthday today.)

I remember loving Flowers in the Attic. The delicious fun of reading the shocking details and sharing them with friends in the know. I guess it's kind of cool that girls can have community around a book - but why do the books have to be so bad?

{A few days pass….}

In case anyone was curious, I did finally finish Twilight. At about the 3/4 mark, when the writer apparently decided that some plot would be needed to finish things off, a throwaway bad guy was inserted and some suspense ensued. At least at that point there was a reason to keep turning pages.

I don't need to read any more of the books. There were a couple of spots where I could see how her take on the dangerous love, vampire thing would appeal. But - so little plot! So much sitting around talking about the luv!

It's the only book I can remember reading where I wonder how they stretched it to fill two hours of movie.

Conclusion: I'm definitely not the demographic for this book. The romance was boring and kinda creepy. And the lack of action would be a problem even if the central relationship appealed.

Oh dear. Yesterday I got an email from my sister-in-law asking if I'd read the Twilight series yet, and she was just gushing over them because they were being shared around at her office and everyone was talking about them. I didn't want to hurt her feelings, because I knew she was so enthused over them, so I told her I'd read the first two and found them "strangely compelling."

I guess I know what I'll be getting for my birthday....

You know you want a stony vampire to run through the woods at 50MPH with you on his back, admit it.

I have to give her that - some of those images are really, weirdly memorable! You wouldn't pick up one of her books and forget having read it, if only because it's so silly. (Obviously, I felt the need to share here!)

OK. I just read "Breaking Dawn" a second time to see if I liked it; I'll shyly raise my hand as a fan of the series -- although, I must qualify, in a "hmm, interesting" way, and not in a proselytizey way (which is how I am about Robin McKinley and Diana Wynn Jones, who are so far out of Stephenie Meyer's league that it's absurd).

Ahem. Thus qualified, I will simply say:

- I find Bella likeable. I enjoy her self-deprecation, and the voice appealed to a certain 15-year-old girl that I used to be. I like her pragmatism, too, and her consistent sense of being a little lost in the world, but centered in herself.

- Edward, meh. Not a hero whom I found attractive. But I am very fond of the extended Cullen family, particularly Alice, and as Nicola can tell you, I'm a sucker for well-written interesting secondary and tertiary characters.

- Upon thinking it over, yep, I think it's really just Bella's voice that carries these books, for those who like them. The first-person narrative and the sheer everygirlness of it makes it an easy half-step into fantasy.

- Also, I must say, the writing's not art, but it is actually a good bit better (in technical terms) than J.R. Ward's. (And I like J.R. Ward. I'm just sayin'.)

There. I have defended the books, which I really loved on first reading but which do NOT hold up to further scrutiny. Also, the movie posters and EW cover were horrid.

After having a couple of weeks to let the book settle: I think the structure of the first book is really flawed (the bad guys happen along out of nowhere and a plot ensues) and I don't know why an editor didn't cut that first 300 pages down to a third of that. I assume the pace picks up more quickly in the other books.

But it's a romance and a YA romance, not great literature - obviously a lot of people are able to overlook the big obvious flaws. I do think after all the hype, people should be warned "NOT a page-turner." Even though there are monsters, this is no thriller. But those types of flaws aren't worth the Big Loathing it got from me - there are worse writers making a living at it.

I think I have figured out why I hated the book so much. (I'm sure some bloggers have figured this all out - I am just late to the whole phenomenon.) It's an older man, younger woman story. It's that cool big brother of your friend who is already out of college but inexplicably wants to be go out with you, a lowly high school student. I was that girl and I've known those guys, and the reason they are drawn to young girls is that they are desperately flawed themselves. The girls will mature and leave them behind, but those loser guys are forever boys trapped in the bodies of men, looking for girls young enough to overlook their glaring flaws. I wasn't a dumb girl - I was pretty well-read and well-spoken at that age (not that much different from Bella in some ways - although not as bitchy to my friends!)

And of course Edward is the supernatural version of that guy - forever 17. Bella wants to stunt her own growth in order to stay there with him. The tragedy isn't that she will become undead, it's that she's rejecting maturity and adulthood. It shocks me that mothers of girls like this stuff - it screams "loser boyfriend who never goes away!" to me.

Strangely enough, Jen, that last bit makes me want to read it....

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Writing Romance, by Vanessa Grant or: The Dangers of the How-To

This is a dangerous book.

Lisa Roe, the famous on-line publicist, approached me about reviewing this book a couple of months ago (oops). I greeted her with a suspicion that turned out to be well-founded.

“I don’t read non-fiction,” I told her. “I have no idea how to review non-fiction.”

“If you love romance, you’ll like this book,” she coaxed.

“I’m not an aspiring author,” I told her.

“Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired!” she replied with an evil cackle.

Though I had doubts, I could not resist the lure of a free book. Lisa Roe, Evil Publicist, knows this about book bloggers.

I avoided it for awhile. It sat in my TBR pile while I worked my way through some of this summer’s rather delicious offerings. Then school started (I have a 3rd-grade daughter). Then stuff at work. Then stuff at home. You know how it goes.

Finally, though I had a teetering pile of new fiction to read, I grudgingly picked this up, like the homework it was.

It’s surprisingly readable. It’s… interesting. Absorbing.


Grant walks you through the elements of writing a romance novel and makes it sound so easy, so simple, that you’ll be tempted to write your own. You know, in spite of the many other things that require your attention… like, oh, I don’t know. Your kids: Mom!? Spaghettios again??!… Your job: Err, project plan? I was supposed to do a project plan for you? Oh right, that project plan! Uh, I’ll have it for you by end of day, I promise… Your laundry: <sniff>"It’s not that dirty…” Your blog: *looks at date of last entry…sigh* …You MAY find yourself neglecting such things. You’ll think, “this author thing doesn’t look so hard…” and “hey, NaNoWriMo is coming up; maybe this is my year….”

If you’ve ever tried and failed to write a romance – and I’m not saying that I have, mind you—you MAY find yourself thinking “Aha! So that’s what I did wrong!” Hypothetically, of course. In which case, you may be tempted to try again. [see again: neglect of certain life elements].

That is, you might be. I'm not. Really, I'm not.

A couple of caveats – Grant writes category romance, which is certainly a good way to start out in the industry AND make a living at it. However, they aren’t my favorite kind of book to read and I found myself wondering a little if I would want to read the kind of book that this guide teaches you to write. The “f” word entered my head once or twice – no, no, not that one-- “formula.” Or “formulaic.” I think that’s the potential danger of a guide like this that boils the process down into such simple terms.

Caveat 2: one of the things that convinced me to give this book a try was the contributions from well-known authors like Jo Beverley and Mary Jo Putney about certain specialties and subgenres. Don’t expect a lot from them—most are just a couple of pages.

Caveat 3: the book comes with a disc containing tools and links for authors. They sound way cool, and I installed the disc… but I make no critique about how good they are. Without actually having a work in process, I’m not that interested in spending the time to poke around the tools. They do seem like they could be helpful, though.

All in all, a dangerous book. That's all I'm saying.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy Hour of the Damned, by Mark Henry


“Think Sex in the City meets Shaun of the Dead,” says the author.

OK, I so couldn’t resist that. Neither could the agent that he pitched it to without having written a single word, or Showtime, which has already optioned the book. No doubt about it, Mark Henry is a hot commodity right now.

Promises you can take to the bank1: a) You’ve never read anything quite like this (though I suspect there will be copycats in the near future); b) Amanda Feral is quite possibly the snarkiest, bitchiest heroine on the shelves right now; c) You will be grossed out at least once; and d) You will laugh. Even if you don’t want to, you won’t be able to help yourself.

I really enjoyed the first, oh, maybe 2/3s of this book. Too much fun. Footnotes where Amanda talks right at you 2. Entertainingly foul, explicit language. A key scene set a block or so from my workplace, which is always kind of a kick (shout out for the furniture district in Seattle!). Ingeniously creative (if also repulsive) settings. If writing books ever palls for Henry, I’m thinking he could do all right pitching interior decorating concepts or theme party planning, right down to the play lists.

I have to admit though, that eventually I got tired of reading about things that smelled like butt, or unwiped butt, and various other bodily functions that I really don’t need to have described in great detail. The plot was thin: the notion that Starbucks could be part of an evil plan to Take Over The World has been done, the actual plan to Take Over The World was objectively stupid as proved by the heroine, and the trail that turns out to be the red herring is hand-waved off in major cheat, IMO. </minor spoiler>

The book also claims to be sexy, but I do not see how. The undead are really NOT attractive in this book and the sex is definitely more about how blackly comedic it would be for a zombie of the Henryverse to even attempt it. If good-looking zombies doing a lot of ass-kicking and flesh-eating in designer couture and four-inch stilettos are sexy, I guess HHotD qualifies on that basis.3 And while I do think the characters are fresh in a lot of ways, the catty back-and-forthness and the vain, narcissistic angst around maintaining a non-healing body for eternity was reminiscent of an updated Goldie and Meryl.

The book is not marketed as a romance and that’s truth in advertising; there’s not the remotest hint of romance, or much emotion at all except maybe fear.

Reviews are mixed about Henry’s writing in the female viewpoint. My own take on it is that the voicing sounds more like a gay man than a straight woman ie, close enough most of the time; and the reapers? Straight out of a gay man’s worst nightmare. I mean that literally: a friend of mine once described his actual worst nightmare and it was pretty much what Henry wrote here, minus the creepy-cute little girl lures.

Not a bad fluffy book to pass the time, and like I said, very very funny, but I can’t really give it a rave. It’s definitely different and who knows, I might just be aging out of the target demographic. A little bit. Give it a pass if you’re looking for romance or have a delicate constitution about profanity.

Around the Web:
Literary Escapisim
Review Roundup
1 Uh, that might not be the best metaphor at this particular moment in history.
2Yes, YOU. Christ, who did you think? </lame attempt at copying Henry’s style >
3This may be sour grapes on my part as the result of my newly-reactivated fashion-inferiority complex.
4Dang. I can see how this footnote thing could get addictive.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dark Highland Fire, by Kendra Leigh Castle

One of the things I love about the way romance has evolved in the last fifteen years or so is the proliferation of subgenres. I love that you can now get romance flavored with suspense, fantasy, science fiction, time travel, history, humor, paranormal, and most combinations thereof. These days romance can be light and funny or dark and gritty; it might be on another planet or an alternate reality. The “sensuality level,” in industry terms, has gone to major extremes on the erotic end, while sweet and chaste romances are still readily available (and the inspirational romance subgenre is gaining ground).

All that said… right now? The biggest segments by far are in paranormal/urban fantasy and Regency historical. So it’s nice to see a book that forges into an under-represented subgenre; ie, romantic high fantasy*. The world-building here is fairly basic – the premise is that certain stones are the magical keys to portals to an alternate universe. Most of the action takes place in our own world and the alternate one is a basic society of forest-dwellers (white hats), demons (black hats) and dragons (gray hats).

All this is interesting enough; the world has a nicely exotic flavor, and leaves room for some intriguing future plot points, but it’s the characters that make this book really shine. If your biggest problem with Sleeping Beauty is that the princess, well, sleeps through most of the good stuff, enter Rowan: I mean, who doesn’t love a blood-drinking, fire-breathing, pole-dancing demi-goddess? She has an attitude to match, but who can blame her? I promise you, no matter how many romances you’ve read, you’ve never met a heroine quite like her before.

If you’re looking for a new spin on a dragon-slaying hero, Castle gives us Gabriel, who wears fur and claws rather than shining armor. He’s an Alpha Hero born to a Beta role, with a perfectly capable older brother (subject of the first book). As the author writing a second book in a series, Castle has a similar problem. In my opinion, she solves both of them brilliantly (tho I won’t tell you how) and in the process, strikes a chord with anyone who sometimes feels like they somehow just don’t belong in the here or the now.

I even liked the anti-hero. I probably liked him too much too early on, but that’s all I can say without spoiling.

I have one small nit-pick in that Gabriel's voice sounds too American to me. Now, there are a million ways to do dialect badly, so all in all, it's better to err on the side of less. But I suspect that Gabriel's pack is set in the Highlands because romance readers find Highlanders appealing.... and a big part of that is that lovely brogue...and kilts, of course, can't forget the kilts...

*stares off into space*

Uh... where was I? Oh yeah, voicing.... Similarly, Rowan sometimes goes for the one-liner that made me laugh but lacked authenticity for her character.

Castle gives us dark magic and wizards, shapeshifters and witches, demons and vampires, dragons of uncertain evil, and a cast of minor characters with major potential. The plot kicks along nicely: some of the twists were really good. One or two were maybe foreshadowed a bit too heavily for the reader to be too surprised, but still pleasing. I can’t say much about the series development because I haven’t read the first book yet, but I’ll say that it feels like there was plenty of substance that wasn’t revealed in the first book, and lots of possible directions to go from here.

*I may have made that up. But I think it's accurate.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Gotta Whole Lotta Love

Mostly we blog for ourselves, right? The satisfaction of expressing ourselves, whether it's about politics, art, the cute thing your kid did this morning, a personal struggle or journey... there are a million different reasons to blog... but it feels awfully lonesome without some feedback. Finding out that other people appreciate what you have to say, whether you've touched them, or informed them or made them laugh-- well, it's heady stuff. So getting an "I Love Your Blog" tag is the kind of thing that can make a blogger's day.

I'm a little late getting in on this meme-- it's already made the rounds to a lot of my favorites. So I'm going with a few here that are kind of new, because it means so much to me as a blogger to know people are reading, and it was an even bigger deal when I first started.

Here are the rules:

Add the logo of the award to your blog
Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
Nominate at least 7 other blogs
Add links to those blogs on your blog
Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs!

My nominees are:

1. The Hairrorist: A brand new blog by a smart, witty friend of mine.
2. Sayuri at Book Pron: New location and focus for an experienced blogger
3. J. Kaye's Book Blog: The hardest-working book blogger in the business. There's always something new going up on her site! She doesn't need any traffic help from me, but I do love that blog.
4. Daz at 99daz.com : The metaphysics of art. Or the art of metaphysics. Or something like that.
5. Laura at Edgy June Cleaver: Mmmmm, that new-blog smell.

That's all I've got this time.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The 1% Well-Read Challenge

Or: Why I Don’t Read Lit-Tra-Toor

Being all full of noble purpose from the Banned Books list, I decided to check out the 1% challenge. I’ve seen a couple of references to it here and there and had been meaning to look it up.

Today, over a cup of coffee, in my PJs with the kids playing/arguing downstairs, I finally got around to it. As it turns out, I am 5.4% well-read. Maybe our school system isn’t so flawed after all, because a lot of the ones I’ve read were from school assignments in junior high and high school. (Um. Other than the erotica, that is.)

Then again, there are some titles on that list that probably aren’t ever going to show up on any high school English teacher’s list, at least not in the US. Lady Chatterly’s Lover? Not as sexy as you’d think. 120 Days of Sodom? Seriously gross (I started it many years ago but couldn’t finish). Lolita, The Story of O, Delta of Venus—also not likely to show up on any recommended summer reading list for the < 18 crowd. Not that a horny 15 year old might not want to read them… but most adults probably aren’t going to suggest them. I read one of the Gabriel Garcia Marquez titles and actually thought that I might end up in the past when I finished, it was so slow going.

Lucky for me, there were a couple of Douglas Adams titles on the list, although how Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency ranks above The Restaurant At The End of the Universe is beyond me. And three of my all-time favorite books-- Gone With The Wind, Catch-22, and The Once and Future King-- made it, hurray.

Mostly though, it seemed to me to be a list of about 900 tremendously depressing books. I will tell you right now, I am NEVER going to read American Psycho, The Virgin Suicides, or <shudder> The Tin Drum. I have absolutely zero interest in reading about unspeakable acts that humans are capable of perpetrating on themselves and on each other. I can always read the news for that.

Reading for me is entertainment and escapism. Perhaps I am being intellectually lazy by not slogging through Dostoevski and Updike (and yeah, I consider them to be about equally readable, as in: not very) but I have concluded that I can live with that. So I’ve decided that I’m not going to bother with the 1% well-read challenge. I’m well-read enough.*

Why is it that pain and hardship and depression and death and disease and cruelty and horror seem more intellectually valid than love and desire and pleasure and joy? Why is a happy ending code for “non-literary” and non-intellectual?

I don’t know. And I don’t much care any more. I read books that I enjoy, that make me feel good. Of course some conflict is needed to make the story interesting, but I want it all to come out OK in the end. I want my happily ever after, dammit.


*It's an interesting list, and an interesting challenge though. I encourage you to check it out for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Wild Sight, by Loucinda McGary

The leaves are starting to turn color and the nights are getting downright chilly. I busted out my fleece jacket this morning. School is well underway and my kids are getting excited about choosing a costume and collecting candy.

Yep. It’s October: the perfect time for a good old-fashioned ghost story.

If you think that paranormal characters are spooky, not sexy; if you’re looking for a good romance with an engaging mystery and a little dash of delicious scariness-- you need to check out The Wild Sight by Loucinda McGary. This is a good solid romance with likeable characters, good chemistry, and a plot that moves right along.

TWS definitely draws more from traditional ghost stories than the recent trend of hunky vampires and werewolves. Hero Donovan has the gift – or curse – of the second sight, which allows him to tap into “the in-between,” a hazy realm where he finds playmates and brothers from another age, as well as restless, unfriendly spirits.

My one nitpick is with the FORBIDDEN LOVE device. Romance readers are well acquainted with this lurid teaser, usually scripted in tall letters embossed in gold, silver, or red foil. After all, any romance worth its salt must encounter some sort of obstacle for the characters to overcome.

This one is really forbidden, though. At the beginning of this story, Donovan and Rylie believe that they are half-siblings, but are attracted nonetheless. Now, I don’t think it’s a spoiler to tell you, of course, they don’t really turn out to be blood relatives. Ewwwwww. But any romance reader with half a brain will know that right from the beginning.

Still, it’s a slightly squicky premise, and it did put me off a little at the beginning. However, it’s handled delicately, and the interrelated arcs of the developing romance and the unfolding mystery about who fathered whom worked soon enough.

I liked that the mystery wasn’t all woo (only a little woo) with plenty of earthly events and human motivations to keep it grounded. The paranormal element was a nice seasoning: it adds some tantalizing spice, but doesn’t overpower the main dish. It’s a story that could’ve been a straight romance, or even a straight mystery, but the paranormal bits just give it a very nice, very unique sort of flavor.

All in all, big thumbs up from me.

Banned Books Addendum

Anyone wishing to join me on my personal challenge to read at least 10 "banned" books before next year's Banned Books week, here are some additional books from more recent years that you might want to consider:

1. “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
2. “The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier
3. “Olive’s Ocean,” by Kevin Henkes
4. “The Golden Compass,” by Philip Pullman
5. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain
6. “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker
7. “TTYL,” by Lauren Myracle
8. “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou
9. “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris
10. “The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky

2006 titles not already listed:
1. “Gossip Girls” series by Cecily Von Ziegesar
2. “The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things” by Carolyn Mackler

Between 2000 and 2005 not already listed:
"Fallen Angels" by Walter Dean Myers
Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey (my daughter loves these!)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I've Been Tagged! Banned Book Week Meme

How many have YOU read?

Celebrating Banned Book Week 2008, here is the ALA's list of the 100 most frequently challenged books from 1990 through 2000.

How to Play:

1: Copy this list.
2: Highlight the ones you have read (or at least remember reading) in RED.
3: Tag five people to play.

The List:

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 (well, part of it anyway)
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 (just bought this one for my daughter!)
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 (does it count if I saw the movie?)
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

Total: 21

I'll go one step further: I will commit to reading at least 10 more books off this list before Banned Books Week of 2009. Anyone care to join me?


Jackie, at Literary Escapism
Shannon, at What Women Read
Betsy, at The Dog's Pajamas
Susan, at Seaside Book Worm Blogger
Ms. Bitchpants, at Bitchpants: Activate!

Come back and leave a comment with a link if you choose to participate!


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