Something else to add to my ever-growing reading list, thanks to Cory Doctorow: a beautiful new edition of the original Pinocchio fairy tale. Here’s what Cory had to say about it…

Pinnochio is one of my favorite children’s books. Like many of the great children’s stories that have survived history, it is a lot darker than most people realize. In fact, it’s a vicious little bastard of a book, and screamingly funny in places. […] Now, Tor Books has brought out a beautiful new edition of the public-domain text of the novel, deisgned by Chesley-Award-winning art director Irene Gallo (who is astonishingly good at her job, and who has a special fondness for this book, I’m told), and lavishly (and I do mean lavishly) illustrated by Gris Grimly, in sepia-toned macabre ink drawings that are as angular and jocularly grim as the text itself.


100 most challenged books 1990-2000

The American Library Association’s list of the 100 most challenged books of the last decade. Titles in bold I’ve read:

  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
  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
  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
  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

It’s an interesting, and somewhat sad list. Does Judy Blume get some sort of prize for being on the ‘questioned’ list so many times?

blog books

Fair and balanced

Comedian Al Franken has a new book coming out soon: Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.

In response, Fox News has decided to sue Al Franken over his use of the term “fair and balanced”.

So, in order to honor this fine legal milestone, and in the company of many other weblogs, this weblog’s tagline has now been changed to “Fair and Balanced”.

Feel free to join in the fun!

books personal

Hit the showers, Harry!

From iChat tonight:

D: Oh, to find Harry in some real hot water

I’m up to page 500 in book five. Maybe there’s a cleansing wash at the end but by now we’ve had five volumes, almost 2500 pages, and more than two dozen references to Harry’s morning and bedtime routines with no shower, bath or even wash included.

Michael Hanscom: must’ve been a slow news day

D: funny, though

Michael Hanscom: yeah
Michael Hanscom: though i’m not sure what the reaction would be if she started including shower scenes in the Potter books


Michael Hanscom: “Harry woke up, stumbled naked into the Gryffendor community lavatory, and sleepily started soaping himself up.”
Michael Hanscom: “‘Do you really need that much lather down there, Harry?’ Hermione asked as she stepped into the shower and dropped her towel.”
Michael Hanscom: Somehow, I don’t think the parents would approve.

D: hahahaha

Of course, now I’m going to start showing up in searches for all sorts of disturbing Harry Potter slash fanfic. Joy.


Pashazade / Effendi / Felaheen

Something else for my reading list, courtesy of Thousand Faced Moon, who I found by wandering through TypePad’s list of recently updated TypePad blogs:

I’m impatiently waiting for Simon & Schuster to get off their butts and publish Jon Courtenay Grimwood’s Felaheen in the States. You’d think a science fiction series set in the Near East would be pretty darn topical these days, but the second book in the sequence, Effendi was only published here by Simon & Schuster in February. Bastards. Fortunately Ziesing gives me my fix when I need it.



I’m not a huge comic book geek, but I do enjoy reading them from time to time. The only two series that have really ever caught my eye have been the original black-and-white issues of The Tick, and Neil Gaiman‘s Sandman series. The Sandman series prompted me to seek out more of Neil Gaiman’s writing, and he’s become one author that I tend to keep an eye out for. Understandable, then, that this information caught my eye today:

1602 is an 8-issue mini, set in a Marvel Universe in which, for reasons which will take a while to uncover, the whole Marvel Universe is starting to occur 500 years early: Sir Nicholas Fury is head of the Queen’s Intelligence, Dr Stephen Strange is her court physician (and magician), the Inquisition is torturing “witchbreed“, many of whom have taken sanctuary in England under the wing of Carlos Javier, and now a mysterious treasure — which may be a weapon of some kind — is being sent from Jerusalem to England by the last of the Templars. Something that may save the world, or destroy it, which has already attracted the attention of such people as Count Otto Von Doom (known as “The Handsome”)…[so] Nicholas Fury sends his top agent, a blind Irish ballad singer named Matthew Murdock, off to bring it back safely.

It’s a race against time in a world in which time is the enemy —

It’s not a What If or an Elseworlds. And it’s really fun…

— ‘1602’ author Neil Gaiman


Butt Kicking ;)

Note: This entry was originally a comment in response to a comment left on this post, but I liked it enough to make it a full post.

Ok I’m asking to get my butt kicked…but its just a book. I took the time to see the first Harry Potter movie on DVD just last week and quite frankly I didn’t think it was anything special. I don’t know…I didn’t get the Beatles and I didn’t get Elvis and I don’t get Harry Potter ? All were good, but greatness? I think not.

Commencing butt kicking. ;)

I get the impression from what you said that your sole experience with Harry Potter so far is watching the first movie. If that’s truly the case, than I’m not too surprised that you “don’t get it.” However, to use that one movie (which, as you said, really isn’t anything special) to write off the entire Harry Potter phenomenon as “just a book” seems silly, at the least.

If nothing else, whether or not I had any interest in the series, I’d hardly dismiss a phenomenon which, in the age of Nintendo, the Internet, cell phones, MTV, .mp3s, and all the other electronic instant gratification toys that surround us daily, actually has kids reading. Not just reading, but reading willingly. Enjoying reading. Kids barely into their double digits are lining up to buy an 870-page book, not because it’s on a reading list, or because a teacher or a parent assigned it, but because they want to! Then, once they get their hands on it, they devour the book within days and, once done, turn back to the beginning and start reading all over again to catch any fine details they may have missed the first time.

Other authors have been catching some of the overflow of all of this, too. During the time between Harry Potter novels, kids who have suddenly discovered the joys of reading, of being able to pick up a book and disappear into another world that in many ways is far beyond anything that the ‘net or television or video games can offer them — because so much of it is created within their own imaginations — are returning to the bookstores, and picking up other books. It’s not just Harry Potter that has these kids excited now (though he’s the one that gets all the press). The printed page is suddenly both fashionble and, even above that, fun.

To look at that, to see the effects that these books have had upon todays children, and then — without even picking up the book itself — shrug your shoulders, turn away, and say that it’s “just a book” is to do a great disservice to J.K. Rowling, to the world she’s created, and, most importantly, to the literally millions of people that she and her imagination have inspired to put down the game controller or the mouse, to unplug their headphones, to turn off their cell phone — and to pick up a book.

You may not ever choose to read any of the Harry Potter novels, and that’s fine. I didn’t actually read any until this past year. I’d heard about them, of course, and seen the movie (and walked away from it with about the same impression you have, from the sound of it), but the books were perpetually in my “I should read those someday” list. Then, after talking about the books some with Prairie, she lent me her copies of the first four. I sat down, started reading — and practically didn’t come up for air until I was done with all four. I found out that, for once, something lived up to the hype — I really enjoyed the books!

Whether or not you decide to give them a shot, or — if you do — whether or not you like them, is, of course, entirely up to you. Just don’t go tossing the “just a book” line around until you’ve actually read the book(s) and can judge on more than just the film!


Year 5 over already

I didn’t really mean to stay up until 4:15am to finish Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix last night…I just got sucked in and lost track of time. Roughly eight or nine hours reading time over the course of the day all told, before and after work. Good stuff!


Year Five

In other good news, I received my copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix this morning. I’m already halfway through. Good stuff. :) Now, off the computer, and back to Hogwart’s…



“Aydan,” spoke Niagat, “I would serve Heraak; I would see an end to war; I would be one of your warmasters.”

“Would you kill to achieve this, Nigat?”

“I would kill.”

“Would you kill Heraak to achieve this?”

“Kill Heraak, my master?” Niagat paused and considered the question. “If I cannot have both, I would see Heraak dead to see an end to war.”

“That is not what I asked.”

“And, Aydan, I would do the killing.”

“And now, would you die to achieve this?”

“I would risk death as does any warrior.”

“Again, Niagat, that is not my question. If an end to war can only be purchased at the certain cost of your own life, would you die by your own hand to achieve peace?”

Niagat studied upon the thing that Aydan asked. “I am willing to take the gamble of battle. In this gamble there is the chance of seeing my goal. But my certain death, and by my own hand, there would be no chance of seeing my goal. No. I would not take my own life for this. That would be foolish. Have I passed your test?”

“You have failed, Niagat. Your goal is not peace; your goal is to live in peace. Return when your goal is peace alone and you hold a willing knife at your own throat to achieve it. That is the price of a warmaster’s blade.”

The Enemy Papers, by Barry Longyear