requisite banned books week post

In honor of Banned Books Week, I present two lists (limited to ten representative books each): banned and challenged books I enjoyed, and banned and challenged books that I found boring — certainly not worth getting worked up over. The point is, I had the choice to read these books and make my own decisions. I don’t think books should be banned, whether or not I like them, dislike them, find them offensive, or don’t care about them. We all should have the chance to decide for ourselves.*

(Both lists are presented alphabetically by author.)

    Banned books I’ve loved:

  • Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
  • Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
  • A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
  • A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
  • The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
  • Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
  • Harry Potter (series), by J. K. Rowling
  • In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
  • A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein
  • The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien
    Banned books I’ve read but not enjoyed:

  • Flowers in the Attic, by V. C. Andrews
  • Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Greene
  • Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
  • Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
  • The Outsiders, by S. E. Hinton
  • Animal Farm, by George Orwell
  • Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
  • A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
  • The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger
  • The Pigman, by Paul Zindel

Go read a banned book this week. The ALA has some comprehensive lists, based on author, year, decade, and classic status. Start here.

*Okay, yes, parents have the right to make some decisions for their children. I’ve told my son he’s not ready for Stephen King. That’s just common sense — if Goosebumps books give him nightmares, It would surely traumatize him. But we’ve been reading the Ranger’s Apprentice series together, so we’ve talked about drug addiction, which is a major point in one of the books. We’ve talked — because of news, often — about how some people love the opposite sex and some love the same sex. I hope he doesn’t come across more graphic material, but if he does, he knows he can talk to us about it. Age-appropriate learning about what the world is like outside our house, not how we think it should be in some utopia — that’s what we try to give our children.

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  1. Unfortunately many parents don’t want to *have* to have awkward conversations with their children and don’t want anyone else to have those conversations.

    They just want happy happy mindless obedient minions… 😉

  2. Yeah, my parents weren’t exactly approachable on some of those subjects. On the other hand, they were quite confident of my ability to understand and deal with things I read, so I was welcome to read all I wanted to on a topic. Sex ed’s easier if you can just hand the kid a book, right? Except for those people who think education on the subject shouldn’t happen at all, which rather begs the question of how they reproduce.

  3. My parents had books in the bookshelf that I’m sure *none* of those parents who ban books would like children ever to see… 😉

  4. I was never discouraged from reading anything, and whilst there was no overt discussion of non-heterosexuality when I was a child in 70s provincial England, every Christmas my dad played the dame in the local panto (i.e. comedy routine in drag) so I grew up with a very, um, enlightened attitude – basically, anything grown-ups did for fun was cool with me 🙂

  5. Alex — do tell!

    Anne — I can’t imagine my dad ever going in drag. He was one of those people who proclaimed loudly how open-minded he was, because he wasn’t, if you understand me. The closest I had to that sort of experience would be watching Some Like It Hot and Victor/Victoria with my mom in high school.

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