No Alternative Allowed

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It is sad that in this day and age in the vaunted Western Democracies, bastions of freedom and wisdom amidst chaos and fundamentalism, there is still a need for Banned Books Week. This year it runs from Sept 26th to Oct 3. Check out the official website HERE to find information, details, events in your area and what you can do to battle the forces of pernicious and willful ignorance in libraries and schools around the world.

A good cross section of the so called “reasons” for book banning can be found in the list of the 10 Most Banned Books in 2008…quite a disturbing collection all in all. It seems the main element that we feel we must protect our children and ourselves from is sex (‘natch) but also right up there and far more chilling is a fear of ALTERNATE VIEWPOINTS, be it alternate views on religion, politics, the family, race or lifestyle in general.

That these titles are usually branded “unsuitable for age group”, meaning they are usually barred for the young adult/teen they were intended for is especially disappointing. Those are the years we most need books to guide us, inform us, challenge us, comfort us, make us feel not quite so freakish. That grups assume that anything a teen reads they will then slavishly emulate (“Gee, a character in this book just had unprotected sex with a stranger, got pregnant, upended their life and had an abortion…where do I sign up, baby???”) just shows how stupid and forgetful we can be as a species.

Check out the list after the jump….a couple may surprise you.

And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

   Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group

His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman

    Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence

TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle

   Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz

Reasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence

Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya

   Reasons: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint,  sexually explicit, and violence

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

   Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group

Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar

   Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, by Sarah S. Brannen

   Reasons: homosexuality and unsuited to age group

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

   Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

Flashcards of My Life, by Charise Mericle Harper

   Reasons: sexually explicit and unsuited to age group

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3 Comments

  1. His Dark Materials was written as a young adults’ book! What on earth…

    (Though, off the topic entirely, I am deathlessly amused that someone found this blog by searchng for “Andy Hallett” and “flirting”.)

  2. Miss Orr, that’s exactly WHY it’s so dangerous … it’s meant to introduce Godless atheism in a seductive form to the youth of America, with the likable plucky heroine, exotic locales and personality-filled talking animals! Won’t someone think of the children?! **

    Seriously, for far too many people in far too many communities, any YA lit that includes same-sex characters who aren’t miserable or otherwise “punished” is seen as being ‘unsuited to age group’. And these tend to be the same people who also shout the loudest for filtering software on Internet terminals in public libraries.

  3. ** Maude Flanders mode (oh how I miss using EmoTML on the web …)


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