Announcing the 2005 Banned Books Top Ten

To help booksellers prepare for Banned Books Week (September 24 - October 1), here is a preview of the Fall 2005 Book Sense Banned Books Top Ten according to the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, listed along with a description of their nominating booksellers.

The Fall 2005 Banned Books Top Ten

1. THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART PRESENTS AMERICA (THE BOOK): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction, by Jon Stewart and the writers of The Daily Show (Warner, $24.95, 0446532681) "Here's the new face of TV news! Jon Stewart and gang deliver an irreverent and hilarious guide to democracy, cutting no slack and skewering just about everyone in this civics lesson to remember." --Alexis Akre, Olsson's Books & Records, Arlington, VA

2. A WRINKLE IN TIME, by Madeleine L'Engle (Yearling, $6.50 paper, 0440498058) "A Wrinkle in Time is the one book capable of both alleviating the pangs of adolescence in young readers and challenging the perspectives of those same readers as adults. I have carried this book with me in every phase of my life: It was next to my bunk every year at summer camp, in all my college dorms, and in every apartment thereafter. Every time I read it, it gives something to the soul." --Caitlin Doggart, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA

3. IN THE NIGHT KITCHEN, by Maurice Sendak (HarperTrophy, $6.95 paper, 0064434362) "This Sendak title, like his others, is beautifully illustrated and brilliantly imagined. It figured large in the reading I did with my daughter when she was young. (She loved the book, as did I.) That it would be banned anywhere, at anytime, is terribly sad. That a book could be banned at all is an infringement of a basic and cherished right of U.S. citizens. That's the saddest thing of all." --Dana Brigham, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA

4. KING & KING, by Linda De Haan and Stern Nijland (Tricycle Press, $14.95, 1582460612) "A bachelor prince passes up the opportunity to wed each of the most eligible young women in the kingdom and, finally, comes out to his royal family when he announces his affection for the brother of one of the princesses. The colorful and whimsical illustrations and the surprise ending lightheartedly update the traditional fairy tale conclusion without sounding preachy or politically correct." --Susan Cassada, Kids Ink, Indianapolis, IN

5. 1984, by George Orwell (Signet, $7.95 paper, 0451524934) "How we use language is not a trivial issue, and the twisted language coming not only from top government mouthpieces but also from corporate 'information officers' has given the adjective 'Orwellian' new currency." --Russ Lawrence, Chapter One Book Store, Hamilton, MT

6. THE HANDMAID'S TALE: A Novel, by Margaret Atwood (Anchor, $13.95 paper, 038549081X) "Knowing this classic had appeared on banned book lists, our in-store club read it last fall. We arrived at the meeting sobered by the eerily familiar themes of government suppression and, sadly, cited headlines echoing Atwood's themes. We all pledged to get this novel into readers' hands!" --Cheryl McKeon, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

7. BLESS ME, ULTIMA, by Rudolfo Anaya (Warner, $6.99 paper, 0446600253) "Bless Me, Ultima was banned by a school district about 50 miles west of our bookstore. The decision received a lot of press coverage, which helped sell the title in our small town. We celebrate Banned Books Week every year and will be adding this to the window display this year." --Caroline Stoufer, Buckskin Booksellers, Ouray, CO

8. THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, by Stephen Chbosky (MTV Books, $13 paper, 0671027344) "Charlie, the wallflower protagonist of the book, is best compared to a Holden Caulfield of the '90s, with wry observations on high school life and a brutal honesty to all that that experience entails. This is not a book for younger students, nor is it a book for those who want to avoid the gritty, real-life details of a life charted through the adolescent experience. It is a book, though, for anyone (adults and young adults) who long to read a piece of flawlessly crafted fiction in the form of a powerful coming-of-age story." --Alison Morris, Wellesley Booksmith, Wellesley, MA

9. THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN, by Mark Twain (Penguin, $7 paper, 0142437174) "When I was an English teacher, the wonderful classic Huckleberry Finn was the book that parents most often demanded to be removed from my reading list." --Virginia Hobson Hicks, Books on the Bluff, Townsend, GA

10. WHAT MY MOTHER DOESN'T KNOW, by Sonya Sones (Simon Pulse, $6.99 paper, 0689855532) "Sophie is 15, and her first boyfriends are appearing. Her verses about those unsteady times are so perfectly attuned to adolescence that to read them is almost like eavesdropping from the next booth." --Carol Chittenden, Eight Cousins, Falmouth, MA