We’re halfway through banned book week and I feel as though I’ve slacked by not writing about it. There have been other better written, more thought-provoking posts than what I could come up with (The Rejectionist, Nathan Bradsford for example).
So what’s my spin? Jewelry! That’s right, you can flaunt those banned books with bangles. Jingle those banned bangles!
*Ahem* Ok, seriously. When I hear that a book I’ve read was banned, obviously I’m outraged by the censorship itself, but then I’m just dumbfounded. I mean, really, why? What’s the point? Of course, I read The Color Purple in elementary school, so I suppose having any reading material censored is foreign to me.
When I first read The Color Purple, I didn’t exactly understand what was happening. Lesbianism? Over my head. Abuse? Albert was just mean. Sex? Boys had cooties, so that was just gross. But I loved Celie and Shug, and really liked the book, despite the fact that I was disappointed that the color purple wasn’t featured more prominently…I mean, it was all over the cover and what little girl doesn’t love purple?
It turns out that my high school syllabus was very permissive: The Great Gatsby, The Grapes of Wrath, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Sun Also Rises, As I Lay Dying and A Separate Peace were all banned somewhere, at sometime. See the ALA’s full list of frequently challenged classics. I only liked one…the other five I found rather boring. I would have much rather read a banned book like the one that was “challenged in Vernon-Verona-Sherill, NY School District (1980) as a “filthy, trashy sex novel.””
A “filthy, trashy sex novel?” Sign me up! Sounds like a fun read for a high-school assignment. Oh wait, that was A Separate Peace…my sophomore year assignment of pain. If that is a “filthy, trashy sex novel” then either I drastically misread it or someone in the Vernon-Verona-Sherill, NY School District needs a visit from Dr. Ruth and Dr. Drew.
Ignoring how you feel about the banning, how do you feel about the banned books themselves? Are they some of your favorites? Did they leave you feeling “eh?”