National Banned Books Week

I just discovered Chase’s Calendar of Events. Today is R.E.A.D. in America Day and for the next week it is Banned Books Week (Sept 25-Oct 2). See

Today is also National Book Festival, National Mall, Washington, DC. See

And it is Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner’s birthday (1897-1962).

The List

Here are 10 books that have been banned and challenged all throughout the United States.

  1. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger—Ever since it was first published, The Catcher in the Rye has been targeted by censors all across the country. Back in 1960, a teacher was fired for assigning this book to her class. In 1963, parents in Ohio protested the book for being obscene. This continued for many years, and the book is still challenged to this day. Just last year, it was challenged in the Big Sky High School in Montana.
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee—To Kill a Mockingbird has been challenged and banned in many schools across the country for containing profanity, racial slurs, rape, and other “trashy” behavior.
  3. Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck—Everyone from the KKK to a range of high schools has challenged this classic. The book contains racial slurs, profanity, and depressing themes.
  4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark TwainRacial slurs are the biggest reason Huck Finn has been banned and taken out of numerous classrooms across the country. Even in schools where it hasn’t been officially banned, there are teachers who remove it from their classrooms just to prevent any controversy.
  5. The Harry Potter series, JK Rowling—According to the American Library Association, the Harry Potter series ranks as the most challenged books from the past decade. Christian parents all across the US want Harry Potter banned for its witchcraft themes.
  6. Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut—Not only has Slaughterhouse Five been challenged, banned, and removed from required reading in dozens of cities across the country, the book was actually burned in Drake, North Dakota in 1973.
  7. The Color Purple, Alice Walker—Why is The Color Purple constantly challenged? Let’s count the reasons: troubling race relations, human sexuality themes, questions about man’s relationship with God, inappropriate language, violence, drug abuse, and countless other reasons.
  8. Beloved, Toni Morrison—Charges for Beloved range from it being to violent to it depicting inappropriate topics of bestiality, sex, and racism. It was most recently pulled from an AP English class at Eastern High School in Louisville, Kentucky after parents complained about its content.
  9. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou—Coming in at #6 on the most challenged books of the last decade, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings has been a target of censors for the past 40 years. The book’s graphic depiction of racism and rape ensure it will always be challenged.
  10. Ulysses, James Joyce—Not only was Ulysses banned from the United States in 1918, it was also banned in Canada, England, and Ireland. Most recently, Ulysses made headlines again after a web comic version of it was temporarily rejected by Apple from its App store.

What is your favorite Banned book?

Published in: on September 26, 2010 at 2:23 am  Comments (4)  
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Submissions Open for Father’s Day Anthology

Heather Paye first started writing when she was about six years old. She started out writing lyrics, and when she was nine started writing short stories. When she turned ten, she moved on to full-length novels. At the age of 12, she started writing poetry as her love of that style of writing developed from her mother. Currently she is working on a book series of nine, with the first installment finished and being prepared to be released on bookshelves soon. The first draft of the second installment is almost finished.

Her novel, A Gift From Above, which she wrote for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in 2008 was published March 28th, 2009 – a tribute to her parents as it was published on their anniversary. She’s a part of many organizations and author groups.

So far, this is all of her “story” that has been “written.”

Heather was working on a poetry book for her mom for Mother’s Day, she says, “when stumbled upon me a thought (most of you say uh-oh when this happens).” She had a good amount of poetry written up to go into the poetry book, but wanted to make this poetry book larger and didn’t have enough poetry for that. So, she decided to turn this poetry book into an anthology, For You, From Me, with submissions from multiple authors.

Now Heather is planning a similar anthology, dedicated to fathers. “You all have fathers, and everyone celebrates Father’s Day, so why not allow everyone to benefit from this grand idea?”

Submissions are being accepted at Those wanting to enter, just post the title of your short story or poem in the subject line, paste the story into the bottom of the email, and be sure to include the pen name you want to be used in the book. And just as last time, all those who enter get the author’s discount to purchase copies of the anthology.

Submissions should not be longer than 1,000 words.

For You, From Me is available at Amazon and on Heather’s website.

Heather and I are part of VBT Writers on the Move. Continue on with this authors’ group by visiting Dallas Woodburn’s blog tomorrow, September 16, for an interview with author Gary Murning.

Writing Fantasy is Dangerous, But Don’t Be Afraid

For as long as Marian Allen can remember, she’s loved telling and being told stories. She enjoys connecting and reconnecting with people, meeting new friends and keeping in touch with the friends she already has.

Her writing reflects this love of network. No one exists in total isolation, but in a web of connections to family, friends, colleagues, self at former stages of maturity, perceptions and self-images. Most of her work is fantasy, science fiction and/or mystery, though she writes horror, humor, romance, mainstream or anything else that suits the story and character.

Professionally, she’s a member of Southern Indiana Writers, Writing and Promotion (WRaP), and Green River Writers.

Here’s what Marian says about fantasy:

Writing fantasy is a dangerous game. Here are some pitfalls and some comments on them:

1. Being discouraged by great fantasy

Tolkein. Personally, I think Tolkein over-wrote. I totally do not need to know the details of every flower growing on the mountain. I do not need to know dwarvish runes and low elven and high elven. But there’s no doubt that Tolkein set the bar on fantasy world-building and epic-scale plotting. Relax: nobody expects you to be Tolkein.

2. Being discouraged by lousy fantasy

Tolkein wannabes. Yes, the world has more than enough of them. So build a world out of your own life, your own dreams, your own passions, your own gathered materials, and use the voices from inside your own head to tell the story.

3. Thinking “tolkeinesque” is the only kind of fantasy there is

There’s a rich genre called Urban Fantasy, which takes place in the current day or near future in large cities. Neil Gaiman, Laura Bickle, Jim Butcher, Roger Zelazny and Wen Spencer all created very different fantasy, and they’re only a handful of examples. If you count vampires as fantasy, you add everything from Fred Saberhagen’s Dracula series to the Twilight franchise. Terry Pratchett has built his own world, with his own afterlife and cosmology and set of gods and attendant religions. Create! Enjoy!

4. Getting lost in research

Whether you need to know how heavy a two-handed broadsword is or how to cook over an open fire or which subway line in New York City goes to The Cloisters or how seahorses reproduce or how ancient Phoenicians built their houses, there’s so much cool stuff in reality to mine for fantasy, it’s easy to spend all your time exploring. Eventually, you have to pick some materials and go with them. Eventually, you have to say, “I’m using this. That other shiny trail is one I’ll follow for another story.”

5. Going twee

Twee is a British expression, meaning “too precious to live.” Whether you’re writing an elegant lady or a dainty fairy or a pert sprite, it takes a delicate touch to communicate such characters without sounding like a Victorian lady novelist writing for people with a high glucose tolerance.

6. Committing homicide

I’ve run this danger, when I’ve been told, “Oh, you write fantasy! Must be nice, to just write whatever you want, and never have to research.”

So why write fantasy? Because it’s fun. I love the research. I love coming up with different societies and the characters who would live in them–or different characters and the societies which would be interesting and challenging places for them. I love talking story with my writer pals at the Southern Indiana Writers Group and especially The Awesome D.

I hope my love and enthusiasm shows in my work.


When elderly priest of Micah, “Aunt” Libby, goes on a Final Wandering, she’s accosted and then befriended by an amphibious mugger. The area known as The Eel is infested with worse than minor criminals–it’s under the thumbs of a coalition of greedy, brutal priests. Aunt Libby is a frail barrier to stand between peace and violence, and the worst violence may not come from her enemies…but from her friends.

EEL’S REVERENCE is available from OmniLit and at Amazon’s Kindle store.
Visit Marian’s web site for more on writing and her books.


Anyone who leaves a comment at one of my blog tour stops AND mentions EEL’S REVERENCE will be entered. Anyone who buys the book and posts a review anywhere and includes the link to the review as a comment to any of those posts will be entered five times. All entries will be numbered and the winning numbers will be chosen by random number generator. Only one prize per entrant. First winner gets first choice of prize.


  • Free copy of EEL’S REVERENCE or FORCE OF HABIT, my upcoming sf/farce. (2 separate prizes-1 of each)
  • Free softback copy of SWORD AND SORCERESS XXIII, with my story “Undivided” in it.
  • Free softback copy of DYING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND, with my story “Team Player” in it.
  • Your name in the story I’m going to write to promote FORCE OF HABIT.
Published in: on September 9, 2010 at 6:00 am  Comments (15)  
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