Saturday, September 25, 2010

It's Banned Book Week!

Yippee! Of course, I look forward to the time when we celebrate this as a historical event, but let's move on. Taking a gander at the books racking up a lot of challenges there are some things that make me wonder. (You know, other than why some parents find it easier to have a conversation with the library or school board about not letting anyone read a certain book, rather than just telling their kids why they don't want them to read it.)
The ALA makes the point that the reported information on challenges is decidedly low, since they estimate they hear about a tiny portion of challenges, but nonetheless the reported information still intrigues me.
So, Pillars of the Earth was challenged for sexual content and I have to say, I think I only made it to the second chapter before the density of the prose made me put it aside, so if some kid read that, more power to them!
I am amused to read that Nickeled and Dimed was challenged in part for promoting economic fallacies, because, goodness knows we wouldn't want kids to get bad messages about money. (I mean, yes, I'm being facetious, because we don't, but, um do you let your kids watch commercials?)
PC and Kristin Cast's entire House of Night series has been banned for sexual content and nudity in one school which is notable for two reasons. One - nudity, in a non-graphic novel is a problem because I guess kids might discover people have body parts? I assume it is naked body parts being revealed in a sexual context, but then wouldn't that be sexual content then that was bothering them? I mean, I assume if the characters had clothed sex, this would still be a problem. Anyway, more interestingly the series has not yet been finished, so they are taking the notable step of banning books that have not yet been written. Lest you think this unique, the Vampire Academy series has also been banned.
Intriguingly, the Twilight series has been banned for sexual content (and having read the whole series, my response is where?) and a school in Australia went so far as to suggest students should not be allowed to have them on school grounds, because clearly we should equate books with things like guns.
Living Dead Girl was challenged in part for having an unsatisfactory ending. That's okay Lord of the Flies was challenged in part for being depressing.
The Egypt Game was challenged because it, in part, depicts Egyptian worship rituals. Yes, certainly wouldn't want people to know that other people might worship differently.
So, clearly I have some reading to do, and the banned books seems like a great place to start. The top ten list is here for 2009.