Banned Books

S sent me a list of banned books from FindLaw. Check it out here. Personally, I love reading banned books if only because it says “Ha!” to those people who would challenge anyone’s freedom of expression. Censorship is always a touchy issue, and on the real, I’m not sure where I stand, especially when it comes to censorship within the school system. I will admit that I suggested one of my book buddies not read Gregory Maguire’s Wicked because I didn’t think it was appropriate yet, and I’ll also admit that I suggested that Lauren Myracle’s ttyl be pulled from our middle school library because I don’t think the students are mature enough for it. Here’s where I differ from many who censor and challenge books — I’ve read them both. I actually very much enjoyed both novels. And if my book buddy were older and wanted to read the novel — either novel, really — I’d give it to her without a second thought. I’ll tell you this much, I wouldn’t suggest a ten-year-old read Chuck Pahlinuck’s short story “Guts” from Haunted either (if you want to read the story, read Palahiniuk’s essay on it first), but I think he’s one of the most fantasic writers I’ve ever read. Maybe the argument about censorship and how one sits on the issues depends upon the evidence the challenger can present and the background the challenger comes to the table with. Challengers have to understand that while they may not want their children exposed to novels like Rowling’s Harry Potter, there are parents (even religious parents) who see more than just the setting of the novel, or who will allow their children the choice to read such novels. Is it fair to deny other people’s children the choice? At what point do the interests of one parent for his or her child extend to the interests of other people’s children?

Some of the books I’ve read from the list of most banned in the last century:

  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
  • The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
  • The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  • Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes
  • Harry Potter (Series), by J.K. Rowling
  • James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl
  • Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
  • Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
  • Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
  • Native Son, by Richard Wright
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
  • Where’s Waldo?, by Martin Hanford
  • Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Greene

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