Banned Books Week is September 27th – October 3rd this year AND I, FOR ONE, AM EXCITED. I love Banned Books Week! I mean, I don’t love that people try to ban books – and sometimes succeed – but I like learning about people who take a stand against it! And I love speaking out against it!
Therefore, I’ve talked about it a lot on this blog. Here are some of my previous posts:
- General thoughts about book banning (2011)
- People ban what they don’t understand (2012)
- Why I love banned books (2013)
- Common reasons for banning YA books (2013)
- Banned books: The LGBTQ+ edition (2014)
This time, I thought I’d talk about banned books I’ve read within the past year! SO HERE THEY ARE. This is just what I’ve read since late September 2014, mind you, so it doesn’t include everything – for example, I read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (sooooo good) last summer, but… that doesn’t fit into this time frame, so yeah. I read about half of these for school and half because I just wanted to.
Reason: Homosexuality, pornography
It’s funny how people are OK with lesbians as, like, LITERALLY a category of porn, but when it comes to lesbians actually writing their stories and talking about their lives, they’re like “OMG THIS IS NOT OK.” And by “funny” I mean it’s actually really freaking sad.
2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
…I mean, if you read this book and come away from that experience thinking that using the N-word and treating people poorly based on their race, that’s your problem. That doesn’t mean it should be banned, because most sensible people wouldn’t read this book and think any of that is OK.
3. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Reason: Promotes the overthrow of the government
I’M LAUGHING SO HARD OH MY GOD. OK, this book was on the Mexican-American Studies curriculum at this university? And they got rid of the entire course because it was supposedly “promoting the overthrow of the government.” UM. NO. THIS IS A STORY ABOUT A LITTLE GIRL WHO WANTS MORE OUT OF LIFE AND THINKS ABOUT HOW IF SHE’D BEEN SOMEONE ELSE, THINGS WOULD BE SO DIFFERENT. What kind of paranoid creep do you have to be to think someone thinking about their race and/or socioeconomic status is the same thing as wanting to overthrow the government?
Reason: Sexually explicit, homosexuality
…is there, like, a secret porn version of Drama I don’t know about? I don’t know about you, but the one I read was this completely innocent children’s graphic novel.
5. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie
Reason: Offensive language, sexually explicit, racism
How do you even read this book and think, “Oh, this is advocating racism?” It’s AGAINST racism.
6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Reason: Offensive language, racism, violence
Do people seriously read these classics and go “why YES, these books are advocating that people live this way and treat others horribly”? Is that a thing?
I don’t even like his books, but… like, queer people exist? And you need to get used to that?
P.S. Today I found this Book Riot post arguing against banning LGBTQ+ books, especially LGBTQ+ books in classrooms and school libraries. It is amazing. You should read it.
8. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Reason: Offensive language, sexually explicit
Teenagers who swear and think about sex? HOW DARE THIS BE A THING THAT EXISTS.
9. Persepolis (and Persepolis 2) by Marjane Satrapi
Reason: Gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint
A POLITICAL VIEWPOINT?! LE GASP. HEAVEN FORBID PEOPLE DISCUSS POLITICS.
10. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Reason: Offensive language, sexually explicit, violence
We actually discussed this novel in my City of Literature class yesterday! I soooo didn’t like this story when I had to read it last semester, and I still don’t, but… again, my personal opinion – or anyone’s personal opinion – should have no bearing on this book-banning issue. I just… who reads this book and thinks it’s talking about war in a positive way? WHO?!
Reason: Anti-family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
THIS IS LITERALLY A STORY ABOUT A FAMILY. OH MY GOD.
Also… I mean, yeah, it does have a lot of nudity and sexually explicit scenes – when I read the first volume, I was just like “WHOOOOOA OK I DIDN’T EXPECT THAT” within the first few pages – but maybe don’t hand this book to children/teens if you feel they’re not ready for that? Just encourage children to read something else. It doesn’t mean you have to ban this book! It’s basically Star Wars but with a Game of Thrones level of sex/violence, sooooo… it’s not gonna be super cutesy and sweet and innocent.
YOUR TURN! Tell me about the banned books you’ve read within the past year!
P.S. Today was #PinkOut in support of Planned Parenthood, and… I totally forgot about it. BUT OMG I WORE PINK JUST BY COINCIDENCE. I was all like, “Hey, I haven’t worn my ‘Well-behaved women seldom make history’ T-shirt to my Intro to Gender, Women’s, & Sexuality Studies class” and then when class started my professor was just like “ahhhhh OMG I’m so happy to see so much pink!” YAY ME FOR BEING A HUGE DORK AND ACCIDENTALLY BEING AWESOME. And then like SO MANY people said they liked my feminist shirt!