Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's Banned Books Week -- Go Piss Someone Off With A Book!

Hey babies, it's Banned Books Week! I LOVE Banned Books Week! Because I can feel like a revolutionary just by curling up with a cup of tea and a copy of Harry Potter. HAHAHA! Plus, this blog is named after a flagship banned book Flowers in the Attic. So, naturally, the topic is dear to my and Mame's hearts.

I just don't understand the mentality of banning books. It's a BOOK. It already exists. Banning it doesn't poof it into the ether. If you don't want your kid to read it, TELL your kid he or she can't read it. If you don't want anyone else to read it, fuck you. We grown-ups can all decide for ourselves what we can and can't read.

I can think of exactly three books that my mother told me I wasn't allowed to read when I was a kid: The World According to Garp, the uncut version of The Stand and My Sweet Audrina. She told me I would be allowed to read them when I was 13 or so. I did read them when I was 13. She was right. They were above my maturity level, even then. You know what? The parts that I didn't understand went riiiight over my sweet little head. When I reread them as an adult, I kind of went, "Oh. OHHH. WOW. OK."

So, I pulled up the list of the 100 Most Frequently "Challenged" Books from 1990-1999, the era when I was pretty much under my own supervision as far as books went. My mom wasn't at all into censoring my reading but once I hit my teens, I could read whatever. And did! Here are some of my favorites from the list:

  • Earth's Children (series) by Jean M. Auel; You know, The Clan of the Cave Bear, etc. Heh, I love these books. Except for the last one, Shelters of Stone. That one kind of sucked. I remember the conversation thread about these books on the sadly defunct yet fondly remembered Fametracker forums. Someone made the comment that these books could "provide QUITE the sexual education." HA. SO. TRUE. I guess that's why they're frequently banned!
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. I...have no idea why this book would be banned. It's a story about how love and friendship can overcome any obstacle. That's bad because...why? I may be a bit biased because it's one of my favorite books EVER, but I just don't get it.
  • Go Ask Alice by "Anonymous." AHAHAHAHA. This terrible book! I can't believe it gets banned. Doesn't this seem like EXACTLY the kind of book that people who ban books would want kids to read? All about the evils of sex, drugs, rock and/or roll music and not listening to your parents! Plus, it's a total fake.
  • The Bluest Eye and Beloved by Toni Morrison. Riiight. Because these aren't important works of literature or anything. One is a book about child abuse and racism and the other is about slavery. THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE DISTURBING.
  • Ordinary People by Judith Guest. Uh, do kids read that book? Seriously?
  • Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume. Yes, God forbid that young girls be aware of what's going on with their bodies. SHOCKING.
  • The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Yeah, everyone needs to read this book. No one should ever watch the movie. But the book? Totally.
  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Ok, this book isn't literature or anything. But it's very readable and still connects with kids today. It was written in 1967! Now THAT'S longevity and it obviously still has something to say. Plus, the movie is a total gift to the Kevin Bacon Game. (Tom Cruise was in A Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon. You're welcome.)
So, tell us about your favorite banned books!


Volstaag said...

There were a number of excellent books that were considered taboo that I read when I was younger. Some were over my head at the time but upon later readings I still don't know what the objection was to most of them.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
1984 by George Orwell
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

EGT said...

I had both "A Wrinkle in Time" and "The Outsiders" assigned to me in middle school, so it's interesting that some people considered these so evil they couldn't be read.

I want to know why "Twilight" hasn't been banned. "Twilight" is wreaking more havoc than any other book ever published.

Volstaag said...

I went to the book store but no matter which protested book I perused nobody even noticed. So I grabbed a copy of Rush Limbaughs "See I Told You So" and hit a liberal over the head with it. Boy, was he Pissed!

Sorsha Ni said...

I read the first two books of the "His Dark Materials" by Pullman. Everyone I know with a cross around their neck is affraid of a book that "kills God." Well, everyone but me. The HP series is a great example of my love for books that piss people off with closed minds. I've read many banned classics, so to list them is absurd. Lady Chatterley's Lover is a fav of mine (Go Volstaag!). Terabithia was amazing and apparently satanic...really? Go Ask Alice was great in a awful way. I'm surprised David Maine's books haven't pissed anyone off as he is technically "rewriting" the stories of biblical folk from 1st person POV. And where is sexy Sandman Gaiman? Oh! And King makes the list but Barker is ignored? Now I'm offended. I want a recount. *LOL*