Banned Books Week 2017 (September 24th – September 30th)

It’s that time of year again. When we bookworms all gather around to wonder at the sheer stupidity and close-minded ignorance of people who think banning books is a good idea. Banned Books Week has been held the last weekend in September since 1982. But hatred against certain books and bookworms’ puzzlement and indignant reactions have been present for much, much longer.

It goes further than just bookworms, though, and, honestly, we can understand why some books get challenged. Most of the time, it’s complete bollocks, but it’s not bollocks all the time, and therein lines the problem.

Banned Books Week 2017

Books are challenged and sometimes (more than they should be) banned for a variety of reasons. Most of the time, just looking at the reasons they’re banned can give you a pretty good idea of what prejudices, idiocy, and prudish beliefs still have a foothold in society. Like banning a book because it’s got LGBT or transgender characters in it.  That’s just bullsh*t.  On the other hand, banning books that promote racism? Yeah, that’s a good idea. Banning books that spread hatred and bigotry and intolerance is a fantastic idea. However, that means books like various religious texts would get banned too, and religious fanatics just can’t stand to confront the idea that their preciouses might actually not espouse ideas that are, y’know, decent. So, unfortunately, that’s unlikely to happen in general. And in the current climate where the Oval Office is currently the litterbox of one of the most repugnant examples of a Walking Compensation Case, well… yeah. Human decency isn’t exactly going to be making great strides for the foreseeable future, is it?

Book challenging and book banning can be a tricksy subject. It’s easy to say “I’m against banning books…except those books. Oh yeah, those should definitely be banned”, but everyone has different ideas of what books should be in that “except those books” category. And so what do we do? Where do we draw a line? Or do we do refuse to draw any at all? It’s one thing to keep an open mind, another to keep a mind so open our brains could fall out. I believe the solution is to teach people that “Just ’cause a book exists doesn’t mean you have to read it.”  Unfortunately, some people are like “but…but…it exists! And therefore I am OFFENDED!!”  So, are we up crap creek without a paddle?

G- I think if we could all get off the “I’m offended” carousel people would enjoy their lives a lot more. Are there things that cause just offense? Yes. But when they get lumped in with virtue signaling then the larger offenses are trivialized. (And, by the way I think it’s a little weird that music and books, which are primarily non-visual media, face far more censorship than movies and television.)

Banned Books Week 2017

 

I found it a little surprising that most books are challenged at the public library level. I honestly thought it would be more from parents not liking what their kids bring home from school to read.

Actually, on one hand, I kind of get it. A book gathers buzz for being naughty, offensive, or whatever, so Mrs. Smith (or Mr. Smith) gets his ire up and marches down to the library to demand a book be pulled from the shelves. That’s actually the only way I can see this happening, because in my visits to the local library to pick up books for the week, I have never came across a book that offended me to the point I considered throwing a hissy-fit to the librarians about. (Well, there was 50 Shades of Gray, but that was more because the book itself sucked, not because of the subject matter.)

Now, regarding schools and parents in fine fiery form, take a look at this Goodreads listopia of Popular High School Reading List Books. Just out of curiousity, I opened a second tab in my browser whilst perusing the list, and started asking if each book had been banned or challenged. I didn’t get all the way through the first page before giving up, because the answer was “yes” to being banned or challenged with every single book. The reasons varied, but ultimately each one of them could be handled by the parents untwisting their knickers and accepting that the teachers are using the books for a reason.

I mean, if you’re offended by:

  • Profanity – I guarantee you your precious little high-schooler has heard (and probably said) 99.9 percent of the words that offend you.
  • Sexuality / Sex Education – They’re teenagers, for Cthulhu’s sakes. TEENAGERS. Do I really need to say more? Trust me, those thoughts you afraid of them having? They’re already having them, sweetheart. 
  • Blasephemy and/or Religious Viewpoints– Here’s a clue: Your omnipotent religious figure doesn’t strike people dead for daring to take his name in vain, for God’s sake, so I’m sure your babies will survive hearing / reading it. And, coming from a couple of females that are frequently exposed to religious viewpoints they don’t appreciate, trust me, they will survive coming face to face with a different religion!
  • Too Violent – Er… seriously? When was the last time you even watched cartoons?! And you’re going to grouch about violence in *books*? Here’s an idea! Instead of whinging about your little snookums doesn’t need to be reading about violence in books (because maybe it’ll make them have bad thoughts) you should spend more time teaching your kids that violence isn’t the answer. (Plus, these same high schoolers are probably playing Call of Duty on the weekends, so..-G)
  • Racism – Here’s the thing, you have to ask what and why is it being taught? If it’s being taught to encourage racism, then of course it’s not okay. But, if it’s about racism and helping kids to understand it and have dialogue about why it was/is wrong, then it needs to be discussed. How do you think kids are going to learn if we don’t teach them?
  • LGBTQ characters – Get over it. Intolerance towards others just because they choose to bang the same sex, sometimes like to bang the same sex, don’t wanna bang anyone at all, or feel they were born in the wrong body is just stupid. Maybe if y’all spent a little more time practicing the peace and love parts of your religion, you’d understand this. If it isn’t related to your particular sexual organs, then you don’t have a say! Sweet baby Cthulhu, I wish I had as much time to sit around bitching about people loving each other as some of you seem to. Where do you get all that free time to foster all that hatred?
  • Uneducational – and you wonder why your kid doesn’t like to read? Educational reading is great. It’s fantastic. But it’s not everything. Kids need to read for fun. They need to have their imaginations prodded. They need to experience things outside of the box that they’re living in. And books are a fantastic way to do that. Books make you think. They make your mind work. They don’t hand everything to you on a platter like films and television. If you’re stuck on a problem or project you need creativity to be able to think around it. Lateral thinking, you know? -G

Sometimes there are good reasons to dislike a book. But most of the time? Most of the time it isn’t the book that needs to be changed. It’s you. 

Having an echo chamber that doesn’t challenge your beliefs and ideas is dangerous. -G


www.bannedbooksweek.org

http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/bannedbooksweek/rebelreader

 

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association

Top Ten Stupidly Banned Books

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This Top Ten Tuesday topic is supposed to be “Books on my Fall TBR”, but given that this Banned Books Week, I’m doing something different. Interrupting our normally scheduled programming, I bring  you ‘The Top Ten Stupidly Banned Books” Banned or Challenged.  This is only my opinion, of course. The list is populated with books that – if I have not read them, I can at least immediately see the stupidity behind challenging/banning them. I’m sure there are lots more that should be on this list. Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you courtesy of Broke and Bookish.

Top Ten Stupidly Banned Books

  1. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss was banned because forest industry people thought it made logging look bad. Imagine that, people chopping down our tree and ruining our environment concerned about looking bad. Huh. Who’d’a thunk it? This one definitely deserves the number one spot for stupidly banned books.the-lorax

2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Coming in a close 2nd, we have the book about banning books that was banned because (shock and horror!) one of the books banned in it was The Bible. One mustn’t mess with religious texts, you know. They’re sacred. (Coolthulhu henceforth bans the burning of scientific texts because they’re sacred to him.)

3. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Apparently it’s pornographic. But, er, having read the book multiple times, I can tell you that absolutely nothing pornographic happens. I mean, there is a scene with two boys wrestling naked whilst one is covered in soap, but considering it’s Ender fighting for his life… I don’t really think that can be considered pornographic. Unless maybe the person who was reading it got their rocks off on the idea of idea of someone fighting naked for their life… maybe that’s why they thought it was pornographic? (Coolthulhu says: “Don’t let your fetishes get in the way of my books!”)and-tango-makes-three

4. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson. It’s a fictionalized account of the true story of two male penguins who became partners and raised a penguin chick.  So, excuse me for a second… *drags soapbox over, climbs up on it, shouts “You homophobic ignorant unwaxed, unwashed arsehats!” several times, then climbs back down and pushes the box to the side.*

5. Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. God forbid a young girl in a horrible situation take a few minutes to talk about the fact that she’s going through puberty.

6. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. The Dark Arts! Occult! Satanic! Vioooooooolence. What I worry about, honestly, is the kids who live in families where they can look at Harry Potter as an evil/bad thing because of a little wand-waving. I mean, it’s not like it’s a pretty epic story of a young boy going up against great evil or something. Not like it points out to abused young children that they can still find acceptance and friendship. These same people are who are trying to ban it for violence..er..have they ever read the Bible? Like, truly read it? Because, uhm, thats violent. Like, really really really really violent. Harry Potter has a few fights and a few deaths. So…. yeah.

7. It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health by Robie H. Harris. Because it’s been proven without a doubt that avoiding talking about puberty, sex, and sexual health is the best way to make sure kids don’t do anything they’re not supposed to do with their ‘private parts’.

I mean, the best thing to do is definitely just to ask them to take a pledge to avoid sex all together. SO effective!! See, look at this example:

According to Columbia University researchers, virginity pledge programs increase pledge-takers’ risk for STIs and pregnancy. The study concluded that 88 percent of pledge-takers initiated sex prior to marriage even though some delayed sex for a while. Rates of STIs among pledge-takers and non-pledgers were similar, even though pledge-takers initiated sex later. Pledge-takers were less likely to seek STI testing and less likely to use contraception when they did have sex. – Advocates for Youth

8. Earth’s Children Series by Jean M. Auel. Now, I’ve read this whole series, and – on the whole – I love it, but I can see where parents might have thought about challenging it for graphic sexual content. ‘Cause wooo…yeah, uhm, it gets a little explicit.  However I still think it’s completely ridiculous because no one picks up these books for the sporadic intercourse contained within. They pick them up, and then get fascinated with them, because it is a richly detailed, wonderful immersion into the pre-written history world. Auel has a talent (and did tons of research) for painting such a vivid picture of not only the plants and animals from that time, but also of society, culture, and the trials and tribulations early man faced.  Challenging or banning these books because of the sex is just stupid.  By the time you get old enough to read and understand these books, trust me you know about tab into slot b and all the things in between.james-and-the-giant-peach

9. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. Are you freaking kidding me? Apparently this book encourages disobedience towards parental figures, and has bad language in it. (Coolthulhu would like to take a minute to note that if the parents who challenged this book want to hear a real example of bad language he’d be happy to oblige.)

10. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer apparently got banned or challenged regularly for “religious viewpoint” and “violence”.  Yep, take a badly written high-school drama about sparkly pedo vampires and personality-challenged young girls that you could rant about for ages because of the controlling, emotionally abusive relationship ……and grouch about the fact that it doesn’t conform to your religious beliefs, and that two groups of people beat each other up in. That makes perfect sense. Bravo. (and if you’re one of the people who think Twilight should have been banned for the religious viewpoint, etc, let me just take a moment to make sure you understand that “That makes perfect sense. Bravo” was sarcasm.)

Reblogged – Banned Books Week – What, Who and Why?

Banned Books Week is coming to a close, and I know I’ve re-blogged y’all to death, but… well, its not over yet!

Another excellent post about Banned Books. Go read!

Source: Banned Books Week – What, Who and Why?

Reblogged: Banned Books Week Giveaway

Lookit what I found! Another Giveaway. This time for a banned book.

She’s a great blogger, and its a chance to get a free book, so click on the pic to go check it out!!

Source: Banned Books Week Giveaway

Reblogged: Truth Seeking in Banned Books

This is a very well-written article presented from someone with strong religious views. As I tend to think of ‘book banners’ hand in hand with ‘strong religious views’, I was very surprised (and happy!) to see this blog post today.

Go check it out! She gets you thinking, and asks the right questions!

(click the pic to be taken to the original post.)

Source: Truth Seeking in Banned Books

Reblogged: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

gave a great review of another frequently banned book – Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood.

Do you remember reading Persepolis in school? I didn’t like it, but not for any ‘real’ reason. Mine was more simply a “I don’t like graphic novels” than any true distaste for the material.  Even so, not liking the book, the fact that idiots try to ban it just ticks me off!

(click on the pic to be taken to the original review.)

Source: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

Reblogged: Ban This!

Fantastically well-written piece on banned books, reading too soon, and the importance of letting kids explore the literary world. Highly recommend you go check it out! (Just click on the pic below.)

Source: Ban This!

Top 5 Wednesday: Banned Books You’ve Read

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It’s Banned Books Week, so this week’s topic is “banned books you’ve read”. I was happy to see this because I felt like it was one I could easily participate in!

1.) Fahrenheit 451  by Ray Bradbury – CHALLENGED/BANNED in 1987, 1992, 2006 because of…the dirty words. Because banning a book about banning books is pretty much the ultimate irony. Idiots.

2.) 1984 by George Orwell – Because banning a book about Big Brother watching everything you do, and making sure everything you read/watch/engage with is ‘approved’ is pretty much the one way to make even NON-paranoid people give you the stink-eye.

3.) The House of Night series by P.C. & Christine Cast:  CHALLENGED in 2014/2015 at a library in Texas (Shock! Horror! Surprise!) because of the vampire theme.  Uh, these books are vampire-lite. Don’t get me wrong, I like them well enough, but they’re school-aged vampires, for crying out loud!  Good god, if you’re going to ban a vampire book, ban Twilight (its the one that’s got the pedo-vamp in it!) Oh wait, nevermind, they tried that too!

4.) The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer: Challenged in 2014/2015 at the same location as number 4 on the list. Apparently the minister of that town really had something against vampires, or a secret fetish for them. I’m voting fetish.

 

5.) The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank: Challenged in 2013 (but retained) at a school in Michigan because of the anatomical descriptions in the book. Holy shit, cause God forbid someone going through puberty read about someone going through puberty.

Y’know what…lets keep going…

6.) Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood  by Marjane Satrapi:  REMOVED in 2013, via a District Directive, from all Chicago, Il, public schools  due to “graphic illustrations and language” and concerns about “developmental preparedness” and “student readiness”. I bet the same people who pulled this complete and utter shit have no problem letting their kids play…hmmm, basically ANY action video game out there, and I can almost promise you those contain more graphic depictions. This is a black and white graphic novel, for Circe’s sake, about growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. No, its not gonna be all sunshine and cheerios. Its, you know, important!

7.) Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – Challenged in 2012 by one parent and one student who saw Ender’s Game, as well as a couple other novels the teacher read excerpts from, as being “pornographic”. …..Pornographic? ENDER’S GAME? Its about adolescent kids being worked to the bone learning to fight aliens, FFS! How the heck do you get ‘pornographic’ anywhere in this novel?  I imagine the parent and student who read this probably would see my description of a pencil as “smooth, rigid hardness with a tip that begged to be used” as pornographic too.  Good god. People scare me.

8.) 50 Shades of Grey trilogy by E.L. James – REMOVED (but later returned) in Brevard County Libraries in Fl (2012) due its graphic sex scenes and… okay, we all know why this book was banned. Should it have been banned based on content? No. No one makes you read a book like this. Now, if you ask me whether I think it should be banned due to quality of writing, that’s a whole ‘nother story…                      

I… was going to keep going because I’ve read a lot of  banned books, but the more I write this article, the angrier I get.  Books should be the very last thing you try to ban. The. very. last. Tell you what, once you clean up the tripe on our airways, then we can start talking about books, but until that happens (and we all know it never will) BACK. OFF. THE. BOOKS!!

Geeeeeeesh.

Top 5 Wednesday was created by gingerreadslainey. If you want to join Top 5 Wednesday take a look at the Goodreads group!

Reblogged – A Book Review: 1984

1984, like Fahrenheit 451, is one of those books where, upon learning about it being banned, you end up tilting your head to one side and saying “Whaaaa??? Well, that’s just stupid.”

I chose to share this blogger’s review because, like myself, they were not a ‘fan’ of the book, and, like myself, they recognized it was still/ IS STILL very important.

Click on the pic to see the review.

Source: 1984

Reblogged: The Absolutely True Story of Banned Books by Aaron Burkhalter

Found this while browsing for material to share with you during this Banned Books Week.

In the article, Burkhalter discusses what books are banned most, and why they are banned.

One quote, in particular, from Chris Finan, director of the American Booksellers for Free Expression, really hit home to me. It was

“There’s no question that minority authors tend to get hit more often because they are raising issues that people don’t want to deal with,”

Imagine that “raising issues that people don’t want to deal with”. As I stated before in a previous article, at one point Anne Frank was challenged/banned because it was “too depressing”. If that doesn’t perfectly illustrate the point, I don’t know what does.

Anyways, click here to be directed to the original article.