Monday, September 26, 2011

So what's your favorite banned book?

Via the General, it's Banned Book Week. So what's your favorite banned book? Mine is To Kill A Mockingbird, it has one of the more unique heroines in literature and tackles some of the toughest themes of our time.

UPDATE: Got an upset email from World Nut Daily. They're upset that many of the banned books on the ALA list feature gay people (the prototypical one being of course "Heather Has Two Mommies") and whine that the ALA shouldn't have put them on that banned books list. Because, y'know, if it's a book about gay people, it's not *really* banned if it's banned. Alrighty, then!

-- Badtux the Literary Penguin


  1. My favorite books that should be banned are bibles, I like to start campfires with them being as the paper is too course to wipe my ass with.

  2. Because, y'know, if it's a book about gay people, it's not *really* banned if it's banned. Huh? (Of course, I say that in response to a lot of WND-speak.)

    I agree with you about To Kill A Mockingbird; I read it first when I was really too young to understand the subtleties of it, then read it again later and was wowed by it.

    But for Silliest Choice For Banned Book (series), I'll go with Harry Potter. I enjoyed the books (as a 40-something adult)and can't imagine children old enough to read them who wouldn't understand that the magic was imaginary.

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  5. Put me down for "The Grapes of Wrath".

  6. BBC, The Bible is a cool sci-fi novel, full of sex, rape, incest, and violence, as well as plenty of places where cool technology masquerading as magic does "miracles" like curing leprosy (which, I might point out, simple antibiotics will do). I wouldn't burn it. I'd just file it in the appropriate area of the bookstore / library -- i.e., under "Fiction".

    Karen, the odd thing is that children understand that magic is imaginary, but apparently their parents don't. If you read the complaints filed against Harry Potter, they're filled with nonsense like "teaches children that witches are good" -- uhm, WTF? These mouth-breathing cretins actually believe there's such a thing as witches?!

    Ted, given that we're re-living Grapes of Wrath right now, I'm not keen to re-read it for Banned Books Week...

    - Badtux the Literary Penguin

  7. I don't even know what books are banned. Mockingbird is a great choice, not that you tell me it's on the list.

    I'll go with the potter books, too, just because of the sheer stupidity of the ban. That series is Christian allegory at the level of C.S. Lewis - fortunately, without the train wreck . . .

  8. I kinda find it funny that some comments were banned in a post about banned books....


  9. To Kill a Mockingbird is both one of my all time favorite books but also one of my all time favorite movies. Gregory Peck = yummy!

    I've always been a fan of racy and edgy fiction so a whole lot of my favorite books have been banned. I have to give my folks credit in that area. Their policy was that if I was old enough to read it, I was allowed to read it. I think the first banned book I ever read was Flowers in the Attic. Not exactly something likely to be taught in a literature class but it did influence me greatly (and not just with a distaste for powdered sugar donuts either).

  10. Huckleberry Finn. Read it as a kid, enjoyed it but didn't truly appreciate Twain's writing. Re-read it as an adult, and got the stuff I missed as a 12-year-old.

  11. Before there were Harry Potter books to be banned, "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine l"Engle go that treatment in certain retrograde libraries for the same reasons. It dared to imagine a reality outside of the dominant Xtian Skyspook mythology. I liked it so much that I read it twice in elementary school, but that was in the 1960s, before officialdom got so fucking stoopit. There were always stupid PEOPLE, but the folks in charge of running things were usually more intelligent. Sadly, the American people now have a leadership class filled with authorities who are as ignorant and venal as general population.

  12. The Iron Dream by Norman Spinrad was banned here in Germany for a while.

    Whose 'bans' are we talking about? I'm sure the Vatican has a long list ;-)

  13. Stu, any list of banned books is fine. ALA most-banned classic books, and Most-challenged by year are good places to start looking for great books that the Reich Wing doesn't want you or your children to read.

    Bukko, I read A Wrinkle In Time while exactly at the right age, around 12 years old. I assumed that the "witches" were travelers in space-time of some sort, and that any "magic" they did was some technology that we didn't have words for. But then, I was a bright 12 year old, unlike the dull clods who see the word "witches" and think it's got something to do with "real" magic (which, BTW, doesn't exist, regardless of what the bad sci-fi novel they call their holy scriptures insists).

    Nan - I didn't read Huck Finn until high school. I think that was the right age to read it because I did "get" most of the subtexts. Unlike the folks who tried to ban it, I "got" that it was an anti-racist novel and that the use of language was authentic for its time and place (heck, I heard some such language myself growing up in the South in the 1960's).

    Lynne -- I read about a page and a half of Flowers in the Attic and gave it up. Clunky writing at its finest(?). But can't understand why it would be banned. Just goes to show how stupid the book-haters are.

    Purple, the deleted comments were basically BBC's first comment re-posted with slightly different words, and deleted due to redundancy.

    JzB, I'm not sure I'd read the Harry Potter books as Christian allegory, but they certainly aren't *ANTI* Christian, and even an imaginative 10 year old can understand that there's no real witches that fly brooms around and play quidditch. It's not quite as dumb as the ban on A Wrinkle In Time where it's quite clear that the "witches" are space-time travellers rather than magical beings, but close.

    One banned book series that should be mentioned here, since we're talking about books and religion, is Phillip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy. Let's just put it this way: Pullman's trilogy is to religion what a match is to a can of gasoline. He lights it on fire gleefully while singing and dancing "Burn, baby, burn!". Plus he has some of the most engaging heroines since, well, To Kill A Mockingbird.

    - Badtux the Literature Penguin

  14. Flowers in the Attic is a terrible book, no doubt about it. But I was around 11 or 12 when I read it so in my defense, my tastes were not especially sophisticated at the time.

    I don't remember who initially purchased the book but a single copy got passed around my junior high school until some parent discovered it and got upset. I am sure the reason it was banned is that it contained a lot of weird sexual themes including incest. It is a novel about two siblings who married each other and about their children who were locked in an attic by their evil grandmother who then tried to murder them. On the one hand I can see why someone might discourage a kid from reading the book but on the other hand, I and most of my peers read it at a very young age and none of us are the worse for wear.

  15. From what little I know about the Dark Materials, it's intended to be the antithesis of the Narnia series.

    And I'm pretty sure that Harry Potter actually is Christian allegory. Rowling is a devout Christian, and has suggested as much herself, I believe.

    You can start with Voldemort = snake = satan.

    Very late in the series, when Dumbledore is drinking all that vile potion in the cave, it struck me as being very much like the agony in the garden.

    Behind all the good vs evil tropes, it's all about faith, sacrifice, redemption and salvation.



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