Top 10 Most Banned Books: 2016

Well, here we are again, folks. It’s banned books week. Once again I’m here with a new post listing the top 10 most challenged books during the previous year. During 2016 there were 323 recorded challenges by the ALA and they have brought us a new crop of frequently challenged books. The The Holy Bible had been removed from the list this year. However, this is the first time I’ve ever seen a book or series of books being challenged because of the “criminal sexual allegations against the author“. I think it is also worth noting that half of the list are illustrated.

2016

  1. This One Summer, by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
    Reasons: Includes LGBT characters, drug use, profanity, sexually explicit with mature themes.
  2. Drama, by Raina Telgemeier
    Reasons: Includes LGBT characters, sexually explicit, offensive political viewpoint.
  3. George, by Alex Gino
    Reasons: Includes a transgender child, “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels”.
  4. I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
    Reasons: Portrays a transgender child, language, sex education, offensive viewpoints.
  5. Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan
    Reasons: Cover has an image of two boys kissing, sexually explicit LGBT content.
  6. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation”.
  7. Big Hard Sex Criminals, by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
    Reasons: Sexually explicit.
  8. Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread, by Chuck Palahniuk
    Reasons: Profanity, sexual explicitness, being “disgusting and all around offensive”.
  9. Little Bill (series), by Bill Cosby and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood
    Reasons: Criminal sexual allegations against the author.
  10. Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell
    Reasons: Offensive language.

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Mister Rogers Marathon

Every Episode Of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Twitch is running a Mister Roger’s Neighborhood marathon that will be showing all 886 episodes of the exceptional children’s program. The marathon is a fundraising effort to celebrate the positive influences of PBS. Feel free to use the donation panel on the linked page to donate to your local PBS station.

The Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Marathon features the most comprehensive collection of episodes available, including many that only aired once and are unavailable elsewhere online. We will be playing the episodes back to back starting at 12PM Pacific on May 15th.

The marathon is expected to take about 17 days to run all the way through. PBS has more information on the Twitch-PBS partnership here.

The Doctrine

History Of Spiritual Jazz: 1955-2012

In the final hours of Black History Month, I urge you to explore this marathon 12-hour Spiritual Jazz mix compiled by Black Classical. It’s a historical journey of Spiritual Jazz stretching from 1955-2012. This mix originally appeared on NTS Live, an online radio station based in London with studios in Los Angeles, Shanghai, and Manchester.

The catalog features recognized pioneers Sun Ra, John Coltrane, Gil Scott-Heron, Herbie Hancock, and Pharoah Sanders in addition to South African songstress Letta Mbulu and Brazilian percussion genius Airto. The cuts are deep and the mix is a crate diggers paradise.

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Top 10 Most Banned Books: 2015

For many, many years I have put together a list of the top ten most banned books from the previous year, during Banned Books Weak. This year the Office for Intellectual Freedom, did not report the number of challenges (not without buying their official list anyway) so I’m unsure if it has decreased or increased year-over-year. However, this year has brought along a whole new crop of books. This is the first time I recall seeing The Holy Bible being on the list. Anyway here are the top ten:

2015

  1. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  2. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”).
  3. I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
    Reasons: Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group.
  4. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
    Reasons: Anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints”).
  5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
    Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”).
  6. The Holy Bible
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint.
  7. Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
    Reasons: Violence and other (“graphic images”).
  8. Habibi, by Craig Thompson
    Reasons: Nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  9. Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.
  10. Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan
    Reasons: Homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”).

Click these links if you are looking for the top 10 lists for previous years with easy links to Amazon: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001.

Additionally, in 2010, I put together a list of the 100 Most Banned & Challenged Books Of The Decade by aggregating several lists from the American Library Association.

Mullen Animation

Rodney Mullen Rides Again

After 12 years, skateboarding legend Rodney Mullen is back on deck with a new video called “Liminal“. Since his last showing in 2004’s “Almost: Round Three”, Rodney had suffered an injury-related fusion of his femur and hip bone. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone Mullen explains:

After much deliberation, with doctors doubtful of my recovery, I engaged in medieval ways to break apart the bone fusion – hammering the end of screwdrivers into my flesh, climbing into the wheel well of my car to apply leverage while pulling on the car’s frame. After thousands of hours, over years of doing this, I began breaking those dried-gum-like strands of fascia. I would often become overwhelmed, screaming violently in pain, panic-stricken that I was doing more damage than good and I would never be able to skate again. Until one night, hanging from my car, I heard a thump. And when I got up, I realized that I had broken the calcification and my hip-joint was mobile again.

What makes this all more amazing is that since his hip-popping breakthrough in 2010, Rodney Mullen has had to relearn to skateboard with his opposite foot forward. This was not simply to learn how to skate switch, which is common. To skate without re-injuring his hip, it was crucial that he once again train his body the tricks he came up with more than three decades ago, as well as any new ones, with his right foot forward. Mullen has reversed his native stance and is now more adept at skating with his right foot forward as he was with his left. He has found bona fide goofy-footedness – an idea he calls stancelessness.

Mullen Animation

Rodney says of the Front-Rail To 360º-Shove-It To Back-Rail (Performed above and at the 2:27 mark in the new film).

“This trick has never been seen or done, as far as I know. It is rooted in an obscure freestyle trick dating back 30 years. However, it was only done landing on all four wheels. This rail-to-rail version requires another level of power and control. On top of that, to do it on a modern (bigger) board, and landing on axles, is so daunting that I had never done it until now. It was particularly inspired by the camera action, because of how beautiful it would look: a rotary motion in a rotary system.”

More detailed descriptions of Rodney’s tricks, and the technology used to create the film, can be found on the film maker Steven Sebring’s website.


Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains — Thomas Carlyle.

Chance The Rapper

A Collection Of Thousands Of Hip Hop Mixtapes

Chance The Rapper

Jason Scott has uploaded thousands and thousands of hip-hop mixtapes to the Internet Archive (almost 6,000 to date). He says he has access to over 17,000 tapes and somewhere close to that number might end up on the Archive over the next few months. There is obviously a ton of hip-hop culture to dig through here. Jason notes:

There’s a lot coded into the covers of these mixtapes (not to even mention the stuff coded into the lyrics themselves) – there’s stressing of riches, drug use, sexual drive, and oppression. I’m personally fascinated at the amount of reference to codeine and the purple color of “Purple Drank”, which, if you’ve missed that subject matter up to now… good for you.

If you’re new to the world of hip-hop mixtapes (as I am) the links below should get your discovery started

This is a great time to point out that the Internet Archive is an invaluable resource. In these times of link rot and the haphazard closing of essential web services (we miss you Google Reader) the Internet Archive is, well, archiving the web. The Wayback Machine now indexes over 435 billion webpages going back nearly 20 years.

The end goal here, like all the things I do in this realm, is simple: Providing free access to huge amounts of culture, so people can reference, contextualize, enjoy and delight over material in an easy-to-reach, linkable, usable manner. Apparently it’s already taken off, but here you go too.

Bookslut Is Dead. Long Live Bookslut

RIP Bookslut. It has published its final issue. I’m sad to see it go. I was never a heavy reader the site but I always had an affinity for it. See, my foray into the blogging world started fourteen years ago with a book blog that started just a month after Bookslut. So I have always considered Bookslut to be a much more worthwhile, articulate, entertaining and much smarter stepsister-blog to my little “I Love You Too” book blog.

There is an excellent interview in Vulture with Jessa Crispin, the site’s founder and editor. Here’s a favorite pull-quote to get you salivating:

There’s always space to do whatever you want. You won’t get as much attention, but fuck attention. Fight for integrity. Now everyone has a TinyLetter instead of a blog. As soon as the first writer got a book deal for a TinyLetter, everyone’s TinyLetter just became book-deal bait, written the same way. This weird conformity just takes over as soon as the possibility of money or access or respectability comes up. That’s disappointing.

Top 10 Most Banned Books: 2014

For the past many years, during Banned Books Weak, I have put together a list of the top ten most banned books of the previous year. Out of 311 challenges (a slight increase from the 307 challenges reported in 2013) as reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom, here are the top ten:

2014

  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying”
  2. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, by Marjane Satrapi
    Reasons: Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda”
  3. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
    Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  4. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “contains controversial issues”
  5. It’s Perfectly Normal (The Family Library), by Robie H. Harris
    Reasons: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. Additional reasons: “alleges it child pornography”
  6. Saga, Vol. 1, by Brian K. Vaughan
    Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  7. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation”
  9. A Stolen Life: A Memoir, by Jaycee Dugard
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group
  10. Drama, by Raina Telgemeier
    Reasons: sexually explicit

Click these links if you are looking for the top 10 lists for previous years with easy links to Amazon: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001.

Additionally, in 2010, I put together a list of the 100 Most Banned & Challenged Books Of The Decade by aggregating several lists from the American Library Association.