Tomorrow is the kick off of Banned Books Week 2011, and to applaud the work of all the people who keep books on the shelves, let’s look at last year’s most challenged books. What was the first book you remember reading that completely Blew Your Mind?
I remember being delightfully surprised by the sexual content/suggestion in Dean Koontz books (mild though it
is was), which was a nice advance beyond the teenage angst and lust of the Christopher Pike books I had been reading. And, I never heard of a Koontz booked being challenged or banned. A short google search will tell you that just because I haven’t heard of something doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Apparently “Night Chills” has been repeatedly challenged for its explicit sexual content, or is it sexually explicit content? Either way, it sounds like I should have kept reading me some Koontz (except his ideology leaks through too much, which is kinda why I stopped in the first place, and it sounds like it’s gotten worse). Then again, it sounds like this book features sexual violence against women, so my instincts were right after all.
While Koontz tickled some fancies, I don’t know that I’d say he Blew My Mind. That honor would most likely go to “Kindred” by Octavia Butler, or “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley. And even those books are maybe books that pushed my mind further open. Books from my youth blew my young mind, first: “A Bridge to Terabithia” showed me how much magic I had in my own imagination, “The Secret Garden” taught me to nurture myself, and “Where the Red Fern Grows” was like “Little House on the Prairie” on crack, in a good way. Recognize these books? Did you participate in 5th Grade Book Feud, too? “Superfudge” exposed me to the idea of living in an apartment in New York City – that actually did blow my mind a little bit, and Judy Blume was a solid part of my childhood library. I am stretching my mind to think of “classics” that really knocked my socks off, or stunned me. To help, I returned to the list of banned books, and although I didn’t see it there, I was reminded of reading Flannery O’Connor and Toni Morrison in college, loving each woman’s books, and seeing the breadth of female authors works expanding across the horizon.
I’d love to hear about some of your favorite books, or books you remember opening your eyes to the sparkling possibilities of this beautiful world.
For now, here are 2010’s most challenged books, I think I shall try to read some of them, how about you?
The 10 most challenged titles of 2010 were:
And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: offensive language, racism, religious viewpoint, sex education, sexually explicit, violence, unsuited to age group
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit
Crank, by Ellen Hopkins
Reasons: drugs, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit
The Hunger Games (series), by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: sexaully explicit, violence, unsuited to age group
Lush, by Natasha Friend
Reasons: drugs, sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group
What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
Reasons: sexism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich
Reasons: drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint
Revolutionary Voices edited by Amy Sonnie
Reasons: homosexuality, sexually explicit
Twilight (series), by Stephanie Meyer
Reasons: sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence, unsuited to age group