Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 1, 2012

Ban aid

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: , , , — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

A little bit of another break from the questionnaires, more tomorrow.

Yesterday kicked off Banned Books week which essentially is a celebration and recognition of books that have been frequently challenged, by whatever reason.   The Alameda Free Library is hosting a reading marathon of these books, so you can check that out at the Main Library, where the readings will happen whenever the Main Library is open.  The West End Branch will have limited readings on Monday, October 1 from 3-5 pm and at Bay Farm Island Branch on Thursday, October 4 from 11am-2pm.

While this year the list seems chock full of pre-teen and teen books like the Hunger Games and Gossip Girl, amazingly enough And Tango Makes Three escaped the top ten this year despite being on the list five years in a row.   Given the uproar in the community over this particular book during the whole Lesson 9 debate, I was reminded of this particular gem from the debate while thinking about Banned Books Week, from my 2009 post:

Another argument offered by Trish Spencer was the because And Tango Makes Three was on the list of most challenged books that it should be replaced by a different book.  I was dumbstruck by this argument and had to, once again, try to figure out if she actually believed this or if she was kitchen sinking it.   While she is absolutely correct that And Tango Makes Three has topped the list of most challenged books in 2006, 2007, and 2008 if we are then to use the criteria that any book that ends up on a most challenged books list must be removed from our children’s sights, then these books must also go:

  • The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini (2008 no. 9)
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain (2007 no. 5, 2002 no. 7)
  • The Color Purple, by Alice Walker (2007 no. 6)
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou (2007 no. 8, 2004 no.9, 2002 no. 4, 2001 no. 4)
  • The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison (2006 no. 5)
  • Beloved, by Toni Morrison (2006 no. 9)
  • The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger (2005 no. 3, 2001 no. 6)
  • In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak (2004 no. 7)
  • Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck (2004 no. 10, 2003 no. 3, 2001 no. 2)
  • Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling  (2003 no. 2, 2002 no.1, 2001 no. 1)

Personally if there were one question that I could pose to Trish Spencer, would be to get an honest answer about why she would suggest that a book that was challenged should be replaced and how she reconciles her stance on And Tango Makes Three with the fact that books that are part of standard school curriculum (or recommended reading lists) have been challenged in the past, and still challenged today.

I think it’s important to remember that even though there are novels out there that might have themes or prose that we disagree with there is value to these books, all books — yes, I imagine that there is some value to 50 Shades of Gray even though I can’t really figure out what it is.


  1. Is “Fifty Shades of Grey” on the read list? It’s banned and challenged in many libraries. If it is going to be read at this event, please tell us the time and which library.

    Comment by Jack Richard — October 1, 2012 @ 8:38 am

  2. You would be surprised what is on “the list” – not at all just porn or sexually explicit stuff. Harry Potter?

    Comment by Kate Quick,. — October 1, 2012 @ 9:57 am

  3. Jack, I believe all of the library copies are checked out. If you want to bring your own copy and read, I’m sure Cossette Ratliff, adult services supervisor, will be happy to sign you up.

    Comment by Li_ — October 1, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

  4. Nah, 50 Grey’s is too pussyfied. I’d do House of Holes by Nicholson Baker, maybe.

    Comment by Jack Richard — October 1, 2012 @ 5:55 pm

  5. I’m not sure who it was but some politician, could have been Kent Scheideggerof, during an interview with a television reporter I was watching over the weekend on the Death Penalty ban initiative, made a statement in support of the death penalty. I had a nice cold pint of Pyramid Discord/Thunderhead (back and tan) beer in my hand and a good swig in my mouth when he said this: “…we just have to find a way to make the death penalty more viable…”.

    My swig sprayed the coffee table.

    Comment by Jack Richard — October 1, 2012 @ 6:36 pm

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