I Read Banned Books

Friday, September 26, 2008
I read banned books. Yes, I do. I'm a rebel that way. Fear me, book-burners and censors, for I am a militant free speech advocate, and I'm not afraid to flay you with my bookmark.

My Hot Sister and I were raised in an environment where no books were off-limits. None. If it was in my parents' bookshelves or at the library, I was allowed to read it. Such freedom enlarged my world, although I didn't realize the value of the gift until I became an adult.

And so I support the American Library Association's "Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read," September 27 - October 4th, 2008.

From the ALA's website, here are the most challenged books of 2007:

1) “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

2) The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence

3) “Olive’s Ocean,” by Kevin Henkes Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language

4) “The Golden Compass,” by Philip Pullman Reasons: Religious Viewpoint

5) “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain Reasons: Racism

6) “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language

7) "TTYL,” by Lauren Myracle Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

8) "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou Reasons: Sexually Explicit

9) “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris Reasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit

10) "The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

So I'm going to make sure I check out the above books from my local library, even the children's books and the ones I've already read, to ensure they are considered "in demand." Since the head librarian here in Douglas County ROCKS, I don't know if he needs my help on this or not, but it sure won't hurt.

Support banned books!

12 comments:

Janiece Murphy said...

My county library has multiple copies of each and every one of these books, in spite of our status as one of the reddest counties in Colorado.

Which just goes to show that a FABULOUS librarian has a huge impact on the community where they serve.

Random Michelle K said...

Don't forget to wear your banned books bracelet!

Shawn Powers said...

I almost didn't post this comment, in case someone follows me here from my blog... BUT,

One of our friends is EXTREMELY sheltering of her kids. She came into the school ranting and raving over a book that she wants banned from the school, the library, and the curriculum. Are you ready for the book?
.
.
.
.
"Of Mice and Men"

:D

Due to language. Ugh.

The Mechanicky Gal said...

The thought of banning Steinbeck makes my ankles swell. Forbid it in your own home, if you must, but spare the rest of us your crap.
I have just added these books to my Required Reading List.

Janiece Murphy said...

You have to watch out for that Steinbeck. What a potty-mouth.

Reading him will surely turn your child to a life of immorality.

Shawn Powers said...

Damn straight. OOOHHH! See what it did to me!?!?!? I sweardeded.

Ugh.

My wife's response to the request? (remember, Donna works in the library)

She bought the book and read it, since in high school she hadn't read it. :)

Matt Warnock said...

Yay for Banned Books!

I had no idea TTYL is a banned book. That gets checked out at the library I'm at fairly regularly. I wonder how many of the parents are aware of that. Probably not many.

I liked "The Perks of Being a Wall Flower" and "Golden Compass". While Wall Flower is pretty serious and may not be for all YA readers, I think it could really speak to some kids, and it doesn't come out in a blatant way and shove it in people's faces.

I haven't read any of the others, but I'm always interested in banned books. As a creative type that hopes to have a book written some day, I say censorship sucks. I'm so glad libraries don't censor.

vince said...

My attitude is "don't tell me what I can and can't read, and I won't tell you." Books such Aristophanes' Lysistrata, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Boccaccio's Decameron, Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders (thanks Anne!), and numerous editions of The Arabian Nights were banned for decades from being mailed under the Comstock Law (Google it - it was evil). Shakespeare has been a popular banned author (here is a great paper written on it by a homeschooled student that's been linked to by many others).

And this happens in other countries as well - different books for different reason. Austria, France, Germany, and Canada, have criminalized various forms of "hate speech", including books judged to disparage minority groups. No, I'm no fan of hate speech, or books that say the Holocaust never happened, etc., but today they ban books I don't like, tomorrow they ban books I do.

Only in very rare cases do I believe the state is justified in banning books - child pornography, for example.

When I was a junior in high school, there was much hue and cry over The Godfather being used in an English class because of the sex scene a few pages into the book. Some parents were outraged, and the book was pulled. The teacher (who was new) didn't have her contracted renewed. Students protested, wrote letters to the editor, bought every copy available in our little town and the nearest large city, and a few students managed to "liberate" all the copies pulled from the class. Not saying who helped. Nope, not me.

But I do have a old, battered paperback copy of The Godfather. Strange that.

Janiece Murphy said...

Yay! Vince is a rebel, too!

Shawn Powers said...

/me wears his Catcher in the Rye book for a hat, and marches around with a water bucket in case the temperature begins to rise above 451 degrees... ;)

Janiece Murphy said...

Shawn, you are made of teh Hawesome.

Jeri said...

::embarrassed::

I was gonna do a banned books thing. And looked at the ALA site, saw that banned books week was in September, decided to wait, and promptly forgot about it.

I'm so glad you remembered!

One thing strikes me in looking at the list of ten (and I was actually looking at the list of 100 and reached the same conclusion)... the book-banning types are sure afraid of teh gays! They must be afraid it's catching, from books and pictures and stuff.

Sorry, tangent.

I've read about half those, but the more recent YA selections are new to me. I, too, will have to visit my local library, pay my fine from last time I used it (sigh), and check those out.