It’s Banned Books Week! The THIRTIETH ANNIVERSARY of Banned Books Week! We here at Lucy’s Football can not let this pass without mentioning this oh-so-important week. By we, I of course mean me. And I suppose Dumbcat. He’s kind of hitched his wagon to my star. I’ll let him. He’s my fella. But Dumbcat doesn’t care so much about Banned Books Week, to be honest. Mostly books are things that Dumbcat likes to sleep on, or things that I read that take time away from me being able to pet him. (If a book is good, I get all wrapped up in it and forget the pettings. Much to his dismay.)
Yes, books are still getting banned left and right (and, well, I guess up and down, and sideways, or whatever.) Yes, we live in 2012. In good news, it’s easier for people to get their hands on banned books now than it used to be. There’s this thing called the interwebs? And many places you can purchase ALL the books on said interwebs? So it’s not like back in the day when if a book was banned and you were shit out of luck, so sorry, Charlie. But that’s kind of beside the point. Books are still getting banned, and for the same old stupid reasons.
Let’s talk about the top ten banned books of 2011 (the top ten books of 2012 aren’t compiled yet – or, if they are, I can only find them in one place, and that website ANNOYED me, and had a VIDEO I COULD NOT TURN OFF, so we’re talking about the books of 2011.) This is fine, last year we talked about the top books of 2010 so it’s like a thing, I guess.
Out of the top ten banned books of the year, yours truly has read two. That is because a lot of these look…well, unlike something I would enjoy. Sorry. I don’t think they should be BANNED, no no no, I just think – hey, kids, there are better books out there for you, is my thought about this situation.
According to the ALA, the top ten banned books of 2011 were:
- ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle (Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group)
- The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa (Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group)
- The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins (Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence)
- My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler (Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group)
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie (Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group)
- Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint)
- Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley (Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit)
- What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones (Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit)
- Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar (Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit)
- To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (Reasons: offensive language; racism)
Those ttyl books look silly to me. They’re the “Internet Girls” series and apparently they’re all written as a series of IMs and texts and such but they’re also DIRTY. But, you know what? If I was 16, I would probably want to be reading these. I liked titillating stuff back then. And if I was 16 now, I’d be all into the internettin’ so they’d probably speak to me, you know?
Hey, book banners. I’m going to give you a tip. If you BAN A BOOK? It makes people WANT IT MORE. It’s like reverse psychology. Tell someone they can’t have something and it makes them WANT that thing. It works with people – isn’t the forbidden fruit always the sweetest? Tell me you haven’t ever had a crush on someone who’s taken and I’ll call you a flat-out liar – and it works with things like consumer goods (people ALWAYS want things that are limited-run and limited-release) and it works with books. Tell kids they’re not supposed to be reading this and tell them why – IT IS TOO SCANDALOUS! – and they’re going to be on this like white on rice. Like…like teens on the interweb. Like bad decisions on the Romney/Ryan campaign.
The Color of Earth looks interesting. It’s about life in rural Korea. And apparently there’s sex. And GIRLS learning about their BODIES ZOMG. I’d read this book. I’d read it when I was a teen and I’d read it now. But HEAVENS FORFEND we let GIRLS KNOW ABOUT HOW THEIR BODIES WORK! That is SEKRIT INFORMASHUNS.
The Hunger Games trilogy! I’ve READ this one! And I’d be totally comfortable with my teen reading it. Or my intelligent pre-teen (as long as I could have a discussion with him or her afterward – but let’s be clear, were I a parent, we’d be discussing most of their reads together. I think one of the best parts of a read is the post-read discussion, and I’d want any child of mine to be able to discuss anything that came up with me. I have a billion reasons NOT to become a mom; missing out on seeing a kid of mine’s face after reading Fahrenheit 451 or Lord of the Flies for the first time, that kind of kills my soul a little. I’m not going to lie.) I think it opens up some good discussions about government and entertainment and reality television and friendship and cruelty. All things that would be good discussions to have with a kid, no? (Also, there was Satanism in The Hunger Games? What’d I miss?)
My Mom’s Having a Baby. I don’t even…seriously? THIS IS A GUIDE SO KIDS UNDERSTAND CHILDBIRTH. Why are we so scared about kids understanding how human bodies work? They’re already having babies. Maybe if they UNDERSTOOD better how bodies worked, they wouldn’t be HAVING so many babies? The banning of this makes me embarrassed for the human race.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is supposed to be fantastic. I haven’t read it but intelligent people I know say it’s brilliant. I take their word for it. I assume this “racism” of which they speak is that it shows how poorly Native Americans are treated. OH NO NO NO we don’t want people seeing THAT! A lot of books, just a tip, are banned because they are TRUE. People are scared by true things. We don’t want our children knowing the truth! It is TOO TOO SCARY! (Psst, it’s not that scary. I grew up reading pretty much whatever the hell I wanted, including SCARY BANNED BOOKS, and I’m fine. SHUT UP I TOTALLY AM.)
I researched the Alice series and from what I can tell, there are a billion books about a girl named Alice and her life as she grows up. UGH. Let girls have something to READ that is about REAL GIRLS. We were all sneaking Judy Blume books when I was a kid with their shocking masturbation scenes and you know what? WE DIDN’T END UP BROKEN, WORLD.
Brave New World is a sci-fi novel from the 30s. We’re still banning this? HOW SHOCKING CAN THIS EVEN BE? It’s like you people aren’t even trying hard enough. A., how many kids are still reading this, and B., I’m sure that whatever Huxley wrote almost 100 years ago isn’t as bad as you think it is. I think Gramma Bookbanner told you this was naughty and you just assumed it was. Have you even read this? Seriously?
What My Mother Doesn’t Know sounds like something that would make me commit hara-kiri but that teen girls would like. It’s a teen girl and there is dating and all the sex and such. DON’T LET OUR KIDS READ ABOUT THE SEX! (Side note: my wonderful friend R. said she heard someone on TV say “the sex” the other day and she thought, “AMY SAYS THAT!” and I couldn’t be more pleased. I HAVE A LEGACY!)
I’m sure the Gossip Girl books are terrible. The television show isn’t great. I keep watching it, though. I LIKE THE CLOTHES SHUT UP. And Chuck. I like Chuck. But teen girls like these things. Has anyone but me noticed that we’re banning all the books for teen girls, but no books for teen boys? What does THAT mean, I wonder?
And, of course, I’d be disappointed if it wasn’t included: To Kill a Mockingbird. Because we wouldn’t want our children learning about right and wrong and racism and the best male role model in the history of the world, Mr. Atticus Finch. Can any of you who’ve read the book even say that name without a little thrill? “Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passin’.” I have tears just WRITING that line. Or how about “Thank you for my children, Arthur.” TEARS. One of the best books of my life; a book that taught me important things about life; a book that taught me important things about writing. Yes. Yes, please. Let’s ban that. Let’s ban the shit out of that. Wouldn’t want our kids reading THAT.
And side note, seriously, I kind of want to marry Atticus Finch. I think maybe I haven’t found my Atticus Finch yet. I’m pretty sure he’s out there, though. I know a lot of people grew up wanting to marry rockstars or movie stars or whatever, but I wanted (and still want) to marry Atticus Finch. That’s not asking too much, right? So, if there’s an Atticus Finch out there (who doesn’t necessarily have to be a lawyer, of course – it’s not the lawyer I want, it’s the calm, and the deep, enduring sense of knowing what’s right, and the conviction to follow through with it, even when it’s the hardest possible road you can take; it’s a man who will say “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience,” and mean it, you know?) you give me a call.
Happy Banned Books Week, my little licorice nibs. Read something scandalous, will you? If for no other reason than IT MAKES THE SMALL-MINDED ASSHOLES FURIOUS.
(The title is from my beloved To Kill a Mockingbird. If you haven’t read it in a while, check out the Goodreads quote page. I’ve been re-reading the quotes for twenty minutes and BAWLING. Yeah. Ban this book. Because something this powerful – you wouldn’t want that in the hands of our children, now would you?)