So banned books week is coming up, and I always go to read the list of most frequently challenged books thinking I probably haven’t read any of them, because I don’t do a lot of reading gay literature, but then I remember, oh yeah, Harry Potter is on there, and a whole ton of other books that no one who isn’t dumb can really understand why they’re on that list.
“Of Mice and Men” anyone? Yeah, that one was on the list one year. It doesn’t even have racial or homosexual angles. It’s just a sad story. On the list for being in the top ten most frequently challenged books – for being a sad story.
Oh well. At least they haven’t been very successful with suppressing this stuff. I think a book making the banned list would only give the author extra publicity and make their sales skyrocket. When I am one day published, I would live to have my book banned. It would inevitably be for content that I was unabashedly proud of.
No book has been banned in the USA for about half a century. Fanny Hill got that honor a long time ago. Challenged books in schools that are removed is different from banning. Setting aside that Banned Books Week is propaganda, the creator of BBW said:
“On rare occasion, we have situations where a piece of material is not what it appears to be on the surface and the material is totally inappropriate for a school library. In that case, yes, it is appropriate to remove materials. If it doesn’t fit your material selection policy, get it out of there.”
See: “Banned Books Week Propaganda Exposed by Progressive Librarian Rory Litwin; ALA Censors Out Criticism of Its Own Actions in a Manner Dishonest to the Core.”
I noticed that, looking over the Wikipedia article – I suppose I should say I’d love to have my book *challenged* or removed from a library, for the publicity I know it would get, because if it were, I know it would be for making a statement that I whole-heartely believe in, that someone bigoted didn’t want the world to hear.
For schools, I don’t know. I know I was very young when I read “Of Mice and Men”, and not much older when I read my first bodice ripper romance with graphic sex in it. It never occurred to me to bother hiding it from my mother. I suppose I figured if my mother didn’t want me reading that smut, she would have kept her books on a higher shelf. When I pulled it out to read in the car on the way into the city, we had a very enlightening chat about how the target audience of such books is women who want an escapist fiction that they don’t have to think too hard about after a stressful day.
But that was at home. Schools would have to be a different matter, and obviously they have to cater to the desires of the parents of the children they teach. The thing that frustrates the supporters of BBW though, I believe, is the fact that the books showing up on the most frequently challenged list are all too often ones that are harmless, or are there because the people putting it there are misinformed – like Harry Potter, they remove it from schools for being about the occult, but anyone who knows anything about the occult knows it has nothing to do with actual occult things.
You make good points.
As to “the fact that the books show up on the most frequently challenged list,” you can relax. For 2010, the last year reported by the ALA, the top book on the challenged list was only challenged 4 times. Four times. All year.
The ninth book was only challenged twice, and in the same community, no less, just different libraries. And the author said the ALA told her other books were challenged more, but the ALA wanted to put it on the list anyway due to the LGBT topic and because it was actually removed.
So in reality, challenges are few and far between. They are *not* “frequently” challenged. Even if they were “most frequently” challenged, the difference would simply be statistical noise. Like book #1. It was challenged 4 times. If it were challenged 1 times less, it would fall out of the top position.
“In which an aspiring author inflicts her opinions on the world….” Funny!
Thanks for the numbers, that’s interesting. 😀 If that’s all it takes to get on the most frequently challenged list, then there’s hope for me yet!
If you would like, I’ll use your book for an experiment. I’ll ask people around the country to challenge the book. Easy as it only needs to be done 5 times to get on top of the list and I know quite a few victims. If the ALA can fake its own list, certainly I can lead an effort to change the list as well.
If we do this, it is *certain* to make news, for one reason or another.
Lol, I’ll have to look you up when I get published. 😛