Tell Me Something Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by Heidi at Rainy Day Ramblings that gives bloggers a chance to chat about everything from books to social issues and get to know each other better. It’s a big ‘ol group effort meme, so anyone who has an idea for a topic is encouraged to either email Heidi or leave a comment during the week’s stop.
This week’s question:
Let’s talk banned books. How do you feel about book banning? What are some of the banned books you have read?
Well first, book banning is horrible and shouldn’t be done. I know there are some books like The Turner Diaries that are controversial because of the hate they spread and their connection to criminal activity, but I think if you start banning books like those, you start on a slippery slope that can only lead to more bannings. As much as I dislike hateful books, I believe that they have a right to be published and shelved.
I also believe book sellers and libraries are free to make their own choices about what to stock and sell but if a customer asks for something, they ought to make an effort to locate it from another source for them (in the case of a store, special order, a library, check other branches). There will always be outlets to buy something, but that doesn’t mean it has to be available at your local Barnes & Noble or favorite Indie store. I have no idea how corporations make decisions on what to sell or not to sell and that’s their choice – I see Amazon is currently selling The Turner Diaries, but they also sell porn leaflets, so I take it for what it’s worth.
Have I read banned books? The list is so gigantic, I think anyone who’s gone to school and taken a required English course has! Just from the American Library Association’s list of the Classic novels that have been banned or challenged in libraries and schools, I’ve read:
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
- Ulysses by James Joyce
- The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
- Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
- The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
- Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
- A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
- Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
Those are just the classics among the top 100 banned or challenged that I’ve read. Can you imagine if I went through the top 500? And then added the contemporary novels? Shine by Lauren Myracle, an amazing, award-winning book gets placed on the list, and her Internet Girls series was on it at last look for five years running, I believe. Last year for Banned Books Week, I listed the top 10 banned books for each year of the last decade and it was startling how much YA was on the list – YA that is hugely popular that I couldn’t ever imagine anyone having a problem with was being challenged in libraries across the country.
This year, Banned Books Week is September 22nd thru the 28th and there’s usually an event going on to commemorate it (I’m not sure who’s running it). I’ve always participated though, so once I do know, I’ll put up a link in my sidebar.
A great reference for all things banned books, to find and offer advocacy and to keep up on legislative efforts is the ALA’s Website.