Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Heart Banned Books

In case you're not a book nerd, you might not know that it's Banned Books Week. I think it's important to recognize books that have been banned or challenged because they usually end up being some of the most influential books in terms of outlook or genre*.

And without fail, they're challenged because they make you think, deal with magical-elements-which-means-they're-the-spawn-of-satan, or have gratuitous sex and drugs.

Please. While we're at it, why don't we ban most of the shows on MTV, the CW, and FOX? Or is it perfectly acceptable for your 13 year old to watch Snooki be drunken mess and attempt to hook up with her housemates? Oh, is that hypocrisy on your face?

It angers me. I think it's in within your right as a parent to decide what your child can or cannot read, but don't make that decision for my kid. (I'm look at you, Tara Wolstein**.

Now that I've gotten off my soapbox, I present one of my favorite books that has been challenged: Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison. Rennison was one of the most challenged authors in 2003, according to the ALA.

What's It About?
Blurb from Goodreads:
She has a precocious 3-year-old sister who tends to leave wet nappies at the foot of her bed, an insane cat who is prone to leg-shredding "Call of the Wild" episodes, and embarrassing parents who make her want to escape to Stonehenge and dance with the Druids. No wonder 14-year-old Georgia Nicolson laments, "Honestly, what is the point?" A Bridget Jones for the younger set, Georgia records the momentous events of her life--and they are all momentous--in her diary, which serves as a truly hilarious account of what it means to be a modern girl on the cusp of womanhood. 
This was a fun, quick read. It didn't send any message or deal with any heavy issues. I could relate to Georgia and her friends. Hell, some people I know could have been character studies for Georgia's friends.

Okay. Why's It Challenged?
  • Profanity/ Inappropriate language
  • Sexual content

Given I first heard the F-bomb dropped by my bestie when I was in 2nd grade and my peers were hooking up in the back of the school bus when I was in 8th, these reasons are bogus. Wouldn't you rather your child know this stuff happens instead of living with their head in the ground? Oh, wait...

The follow up to Angus,  On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God, was also challenged. I wouldn't mind, but the rationale is one of the more stupid ones I've seen. Ready for it?
"...that as the father of a 12-year-old girl, he is concerned because not all sex offenders are locked up in jail. He said someone who is psychologically unstable might see a student reading the book, think the child was sexually permissive and follow her***."

Over 50 bloggers are talking about their favorite banned book today. Head over to Grab a Pen and scroll to the bottom to read what others are saying.

How do you feel about book censorship?
Do you love a book that's been challenged? (Click for a long list.)

 * The Giver, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Catcher in the Rye... I can go on, but the list is too ridiculous for words.
** Yes, I'm aware that Tara Wolstein is a figment of my imagination, but I'm making a point.
*** Quote taken directly from
_______ hit of the day:A Kiss to Remember by My Dying Bride

REMINDER: Music Month is still happening. Best comment of the week wins a mix CD.

PS: It's Zombie Thursday. Come back later and see what Miranda will talk about.
PPS: There's a big book contest over at Wordbird. Enter.


  1. Considering I went to Catholic schools my whole life, we read a lot of banned books for our classwork. The Giver, Catcher in the Rye, Brave New World... weird!

    The Giver has always been one of my favorites. I always kind of viewed it as Brave New World minus the soma LOL

  2. Is it bad that I would take it as a compliment if I ever wrote a book that ended up on the banned books list?

  3. I was reading some of the top ten lists. Some I understand from crazy right-wing religious types... but To Kill a Mockingbird? That is one of the most classic American novels ever written. Huck Finn? It's ANTI-racism, so why is that a bad lesson to learn?

  4. I agree in principle that books shouldn't be banned, but if we did have to ban a book. In my opinion it would be this one:

    Come on! $40 for that.

  5. Well, as the host of Lesley's first ever Read Out... this book is sitting on top of one of the Banned piles in the display.

    Some of my favorites have been banned. For very, very STOOOOPID reasons.

    And Leesh, Laurie Halse Anderson is at the Brookline Public Library on October 28th. We goin'?


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