Thursday, October 2, 2008

Happy National Banned Books Week!

Yay! It's national Banned Books Week! We get to speak out against book burnings and support the American LibraryAssociation! Honestly, who doesn't love a librarian?

... actually, to be honest, the fact that we need to speak out against book banning and/or challenging is about an eight out of ten on my grr-o-meter. I'm sure most of you already know how I feel about those who seek to ban or challenge books (hint: two syllables, second syllable is "holes"), and I think we should do everything in our power to keep our libraries free from conservative radicals who seek to banish "unwholesome" literature. In fact, I even despise those who inquire "rhetorically" about banning books, which is why I started volunteering for the Obama campaign approximately forty-eight hours after Governor Palin was named as John McCain's choice for VP. She does know that Nazis also banned books, right?

Politics aside, however, I agree that there are some books that are disturbing to read. There are books that portray evil and disgusting things in a positive manner. Is banning these books really the way to go, however? Isn't it much more productive to look at them as studies of how some people think so that we can successfully construct arguments against those evil and disgusting things?
In addition, a lot of challenges to books are absolutely ridiculous. For example, take a look at the ten most challenged books from 2007:
1. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
2. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
3. Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes
4. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
7. TTYL by Lauren Myracle
8. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
9. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Ooh, And Tango Makes Three is an incredibly dangerous book. Want to hear what Julie Roach, of the Watertown Free Public Library, had to say about it?

This tale based on a true story about a charming penguin family living in New York City's Central Park Zoo will capture the hearts of penguin lovers everywhere. Roy and Silo, two male penguins, are "a little bit different." They cuddle and share a nest like the other penguin couples, and when all the others start hatching eggs, they want to be parents, too. Determined and hopeful, they bring an egg-shaped rock back to their nest and proceed to start caring for it. They have little luck, until a watchful zookeeper decides they deserve a chance at having their own family and gives them an egg in need of nurturing. The dedicated and enthusiastic fathers do a great job of hatching their funny and adorable daughter, and the three can still be seen at the zoo today.

God forbid! It's a blemish on the publishing industry! Ready the Book Burning Mobile!

Come on, guys, can we at least pretend to be reasonable, rational adults? If anything, we should ban books that are advertised as nonfiction that turn out to be false, not books that are actually based on true, heartwarming stories. Jeez Louise. I'm going to buy that book for my nieces just for the hell of it, I think.

Anyway, here's the website for the ALA if you're interested. It lists Banned Books events that might be happening near you (there aren't any near me, unfortunately, but I figure it's kind of like Christmas: the real joy is in your heart), books that have been banned in the past, etc:

http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/oif/bannedbooksweek/bannedbooksweek.cfm

2 comments:

Chatty Cathy said...

Ugh, any person who wants to ban books disgusts me...that is one of the reasons why every time I see Sarah Palin I want to vomit.

Lindsay-with-an-A said...

Seriously. I want to do what Jon Stewart suggested: go en masse to the streets yelling, "Be reasonable!"

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