Friday, September 23, 2011

Banned Book Week

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” - Voltaire

What some consider to be nothing but hot air and hype, others see as a celebration of free speech and an awareness-raising of how that freedom is under constant assault. I tend to side with the later. Of course there are limits to what should be in our libraries, especially in children's libraries, but there are those who would protect them from thoughts and ideas that aren't even radical. Some of the reasons folks try to ban a book just boggles the mind. And so, we have Banned Book Week, which starts tomorrow!

I thought I'd put together a personal reading list for the week, trying to be all edgy and everything, but something funny happened. As I'm reading over the various lists ( here and here) of books that have been banned or challenged, I realized that I've actually read quite a few. Some I can understand the desire to ban (Brave New World, anyone?) and others just leave me scratching my head, especially if they're more recent works. (R. L. Stine's Goosebumps? Really?)

So, I thought it might be fun to make a list of the banned books I've got under my belt, just for fun. Have you read any of them?

Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - read my freshman year of college, under duress. (I still think it's boring.)

William Powell's The Anarchist's Cookbook - I actually used to have a copy of this from the internet. And I can totally see why folks would want it banned.

Aldous Huxley's Brave New World - pretty radical when written. Heck, it's still probably radical today. The entire sexual more of the book would have been extremely radical in 1932.

Stephen King's Christine - okay, technically I haven't read this one. I've tried twice and keep falling asleep by page 21...

Stephen King's Cujo - I don't understand the banning of this one, although it did scare the bejeesus out of me when I read it.

Stephen King's The Dead Zone - I read this one in high school, just like Cujo. It was...interesting. I remember being surprised by the sex scenes, what there were, but I think that was because the seemed a little forced, as though an editor had told him to sex it up and he wasn't sure how....

Daniel Keyes's Flowers for Algernon - beautiful short story, not so great as a novel....On a side note, Dr. Keyes used to be an English/Creative Writing prof here at OU. I got him to autograph a copy of the book for my mom one year for Christmas.

V. C. Andrew's Flowers in the Attic - disturbing. And once again I can rather understand why some folks would want it banned, what with the incest and all...

Judy Blume's Forever - once again I can see why it might be banned. I remember reading it in high
school to find out what all the fuss was about. I appreciated her courage in writing the book.

Lois Lowry's The Giver - okay, the end left me going wtf? but the book itself was very thought-provoking and extremely well written. I cared about those characters. Drama Queen had to read it in 5th grade, which is how I came to read it as well.

R. L. Stine's Goosebumps series - honestly! It's been challenged, which is a shame. We can hardly keep the books on the shelves over at the school. They are probably the most popular and they get kids reading. Oh, and Mr. Stine is from Columbus, OH. He went to OSU back in the day.

F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby - excellent book!

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale - very distrubing and I hated it, but Mark had left it lying around so long that I felt compelled to read the dang thing. And back them, if I started it then I usually wound up finishing it.

Thomas Rockwell's How to Eat Fried Worms - again, really? It's classic. And probably the first banned book I ever read, way back in 6th grade. (Although I didn't know it was a banned book at the time.)

Harry Allard's The Stupids (series) - honestly, I've read one of these and if they'd just ignored it, maybe it would have gone away. Aptly named though...

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird - absolutely amazing book. I finally read it this summer after years of thinking it would be boring. Instead I was riveted. If you read only one book on this list, it should be this one.

Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time - I can see why some would feel threatened by this book, but it's still an amazing book.

There you have it - my banned book list. I suspect there are quite a few more of Mark Twain's on lists floating around out there as well, especially Letters From the Earth, which I've read, as well as Extracts from Adam's Diary and Eve's Diary, both of which I plan to read this coming week. I'm also hoping to get my hands on Animal Farm, by Orwell. Monkey Girl read it in her 5th grade HOTS class and got a kick out of it.

So, what's on your list?

No comments: