Today’s post started sounding like another Poor Pitiful Pearl post (Mom always said that — I think after the doll, though William Steig created the character), so I deleted it and started over, very tongue in cheek.
- A real author doesn’t need a day job.
- A real author has sold a book.
- No, a real author has sold more than one book.
- A real author has someone else to clean her house so she has time to write. (And a real author’s desk is never messy.)
- A real author wears tweed with pearls or a pipe, depending on inclination.
- A real author doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.
- A real author doesn’t need editing.
- A real author’s genius is recognized by everybody.
- A real author sells everything she writes.
- A real author has editors knocking on her door to see if she’s written anything they can publish.
- A real author has a gold-plated keyboard, works one hour a day, and jets around the world every weekend.
- A real author has a matched pair of dodos trained to walk on leashes and pick up after themselves — and they dye their feathers to match her outfit every morning.
- A real author keeps emeralds in the crisper drawer with all the other greens.
- A real author has a chauffeur to take her to book signings, and a masseuse to make certain her hands don’t cramp up from writing by hand too much.
- A real author doesn’t have to tell anyone that they’ve just got another book or story out because everyone knows.
- A real author is the ideal weight, gets plenty of exercise, and always sleeps eight hours each night, unless she’s out dancing until dawn at an embassy ball.
- A real author never gets papercuts.
- A real author is instantly recognized at every library and bookstore, even the library at her children’s school.
- A real author creates in perfect isolation, never accused of taking an idea someone else has used, and all of her peers acknowledge her craft to be of the finest.
- A real author has to decide which Silver Ghost to take to opening night when they make movies from her books.
- A real author never dies because the universe can’t bear to lose her creative genius.
- A real author is enjoyed on planets we haven’t even heard of yet.
Above all, a real author makes up lies about herself as much as she does about the world around her.
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.