Monday, September 27, 2010

Banned Book Week

The American Library Association (ALA) has declared this week Banned Books Week.

If you are like me, you read a list of books that have been challenged by members of the public for removal from the library and scratch your head at at least one or two titles on the list — because, if you're like me, you've read the books on the list and didn't have the same reaction.

Here is the list from 2009:


  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle — Reasons: drugs, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  2. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson — Reasons: homosexuality 
  3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky — Reasons: anti-family, drugs, homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited to age group
  4. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee — Reasons: offensive language, racism, unsuited to age group 
  5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer — Reasons: religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group 
  6. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger — Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group 
  7. My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult — Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler — Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group 
  9. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker — Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  10. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier — Reasons: nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group 


I've read most of them.  Aside from hating My Sister's Keeper for its lousy ending (which is different than the movie ending, surprise surprise), I don't understand why these are objectionable (despite the reasons listed).  Plus, I thought And Tango Makes Three was lovely.

According to the ALA, Banned Books Week
celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them.

So, go read a banned book.  Make up your own mind.

I will, too.

See you at the library.

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