Sunday, September 26, 2010

Banned Books On My Shelves

Happy Banned Books Week, everyone! You've already heard my thoughts on book banning if you read my Speak Loudly post. Instead of becoming a giant squid of anger again, I thought I'd share my thoughts with you on some banned books that I've read.

Anne Frank: The Diary Of A Young Girl by Anne Frank
Why was it banned? Due to discussions of sexuality.
Upon reading this book, I learned a lot more about Anne Frank as a person. I think this is such a crucial aspect of this book because it reminds us that the Holocaust didn't just happen to millions of people who are now dead, but that individuals such as people you and I know were the ones who suffered because of it.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Why was it banned? Because it contains the "n" word.
This is a situation where it becomes so blatantly obvious that if you're banning a book because of one, short word, then you definitely haven't read it. I fully believe that the "n" word is racist and should never be used. However, this book is set in the American south in the 1930s, so yes, it may well have been used then. Furthermore, if you read this book you'll realize that Harper Lee isn't exactly condoning racism.

The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer
Why was it banned? Because of sexual content and for religious reasons.
I don't know about you guys, but I think this reason is pretty far fetched. Yes, Edward and Bella are in love and they have their affectionate moments. Yes, in Breaking Dawn there are moments where they say things along the lines of, "WOW, that was really fantastic sex last night!" but Meyer only writes about the before and after of the sex scenes, as opposed to content such as, "Bella unzipped Edward's pants to find that his penis was large and engorged." I did feel conflicted about the fact that Bella was so bruised afterwards, because I'm concerned that it may send the wrong teenage message to teenage girls. But I still don't think that it or any other book should be banned. Even if I may not care for it, I think this book facilitates some interesting and disucssions.

I could go on, but I believe you get my point. So often books are banned without people really thinking about and analyzing what they're reading, and some books are banned without anyone even bothering to read the book in question. To celebrate Banned Books Week, I'd like to read at least one banned book this week, so here are some that are sitting happily on my shelves, waiting to be picked up. Two of these aren't technically on the ALA banned list, but they've been challenged plenty.
Crank by Ellen Hopkins
By now, I'm sure many of you have heard about Ellen Hopkins being uninvited to a literary festival, a story which piqued my interest in her work. I had seen this book in the library as a teenager and the blurb never appealed to me, but when I picked it up a few weeks ago it sounded amazing. I can't wait to read it.

The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
The title is what really draws my attention this book. I don't know about you all, but I have never heard about a Young Adult novel that deals with reservations. This sounds like a really original and unique read.

Twenty Boy Summer by Wesley Ockler
That's right, world. I am a proud owner of a Wesley Scroggins filthy book, and not one of you can stop me from reading it. Honestly? This entire book sounds beautiful to me. Plus, the cover is jaw droppingly gorgeous.

What banned books do you love? What banned books are you planning on reading this week?


  1. I actually read Speak last week due to, in large part, your post "Speak Loudly" and another blogger's similarly themed post.

    I may actually read Twenty Boy Summer this week, depending on how far along I can get in my read-along.

    On your mentioning Twilight, I actually remember when I read Breaking Dawn I had to reread that particular section a few times to realize that she had had consensual sex rather than being attacked or something else. Granted, that series is one of the few books I've ever read that I would actually be uncomfortable with my children reading, though that scene is just a tiny, tiny part of it.

  2. The Giver has to be one of the most awesome banned books ever (and just one of the most awesome books ever, period.) Also I have a lot of the Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and loved them when I was younger.

  3. I'm glad Diary of Anne Frank is on your shelves. It is such a beautiful book, and the fact that it is banned proves there are crazy people in the world. Have fun with Banned Books Week :)

  4. Liz, have you read Absolutely True Diary yet? It's absolutely fantastic, one of my favorites. I'm going to post a review of that one later this week.

  5. Anne Frank, Banned??? To Kill a Mockingbird, Banned???? Are you kidding me???? WTH???? Those are 2 of the most beautiful, poignant books I've ever read! I read them a long, long time ago and they are still with me. For their lessons, their hope, their beautiful language. Can't wait to read more banned books!

  6. I'm reading Absolutely True Diary this week!
    Crank is fabulous, I think you will really enjoy it.

    Also, I giggled at engorged penis. Plz more of that in YA!

  7. It still amazes me how some of these books are banned! Honestly, I remember my friend saying something along the lines of, "dear GOD when are Bella and Edward just going to have sex already!?"

    I'm not sure what I'll be reading this week. I want to finish my current book but I'm thinking I can squeeze in The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.

  8. tediousandbrief, I'm so glad my post persuaded you!

    Danya, The Giver is also on my shelves.

    April and Tahleen, I'm definitely excited for Absolutely True Diary!



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