Sunday, October 7, 2012

I Read Banned Books. Do You?

Banned Books Week ended yesterday but as I haven't finished A Prayer for Owen Meany yet, I decided that in place of a review today, I was going to make a list of banned books that I've read, whether or not I liked them. I've seen a lot of people this week say things like, "I don't know which books are banned," which begs the question of why the hell they're writing about banned books if they have no idea what they're talking about.

So for all of you out there who didn't take the time to look at the lists on the ALA's Banned Book Week website, here are just the books that I've personally read.

In no particular order:

-The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
-To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
-The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
-1984 by George Orwell
-Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
-Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
-Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
-Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
-Animal Farm by George Orwell
-Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
-One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
-Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
-A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
-The Awakening by Kate Chopin
-Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
-A Separate Peace by John Knowles
-Scary Stories by Alan Schwartz
-The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
-The Giver by Lois Lowry
-Goosebumps by R. L. Stine
-A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
-Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
-The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
-Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
-James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
-A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
-Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
-The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
-The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
-Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford
-And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
-Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
-Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez
-Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
-The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
-Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
-Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

And there are probably a ton more that I've read that are challenged and banned less often. If you take a look at these statistics from the ALA you'll see that there are an outrageous amount of challenges, mostly by easily-offended parents who don't seem to realize that you can keep your own child from reading something without keeping the entire class from doing so.

Look at that list. Really, really look at it. Can you honestly tell me that these books are dangerous? Can you look me in the face and say that these books shouldn't be read? I don't want your religious excuses or your complaints about mature language. I'm talking about the fact that these are, for the most part, well-written and engaging books that teach lessons, open minds, and bring enjoyment to people. If you want to keep them out of the hands of your own family members, I can't stop you. But I will reiterate what I've been saying all week. You. Will. Not. Stop. Others. Stop trying to control everyone else and worry about your own kids, the ones who will become adults without ever having read some of the greatest novels ever written, who will miss out on the growth and maturity that comes with reading good literature. Leave other families out of your own issues.



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