Monday, October 12, 2009

My Little Banned Books Protest

I know we already had Banned Books Week, but I'm a little behind the eight ball since I've been busy and not feeling great. A couple days ago, I saw a post about the American Library Association's list of the most banned books from 1990-2000. The list is here:

I was quite surprised by some of the books on the list, like Where's Waldo?, To Kill a Mockingbird, and How to Eat Fried Worms. Others, I was not so shocked to see because of their subject matter, like Madonna's Sex, Curses Hexes and Spells, and The Anarchist's Cookbook. I have read quite a number of these books but was surprised by how many I had not. So, I decided to read them... all of them... as my personal protest to people trying to tell us what we cannot read. No, I don't think kids should have access to be able to read some of the adult books on the list, but I don't think books should be banned from libraries because someone deems them controversional or against their own morals and beliefs.

So, over the next year, I am going to read these books under the following guidelines:
1) If a series is mentioned, I will read at least one of the books.
2) I will re-read books that I have already read.
3) I will not read the following books, only because they don't apply to me now or never did: The New Joy of Gay Sex, What's Happening to My Body: Book for Girls, Asking About Sex and Growing Up, Boys and Sex, What's Happening to My Body: Book for Boys, Girls and Sex.
4) I will keep a list of the books on this blog and will update it as I cross them off. I will report on these books and their appropriateness from time to time.

Anyone who cares to join me in reading the books on this list is welcome to. Now I just have to pick which one to start with! :-)

P.S. Why are the books "What's Happening to My Body" banned so frequently?! Maybe if kids had more information on what was going on with their bodies they wouldn't "experiment" on each other at the age of 10!

Update- have decided to start with A Wrinkle in Time. Have no idea what happened to my original copy but saw it at Half Price Books a few weeks ago and picked it up. I figure it's a good start!


  1. I swear I'm not a stalker. This is Aya from the DSisBETTER Twitter account. I followed the link off your Twitter page and...what a neat idea! I read "A Wrinkle in Time" way back in grade school, so it's not fresh in my mind, but I'm totally at a loss to figure out why it's on the banned books list. Was it weird? Yes. Offensive? Not particularly. I had to read it for school.

    I think I might just start doing this myself...after law school's done and I've taken the bar. Thanks for the idea!

  2. When are people going to get over their anal-retentiveness? For the LOVE of all thing GOOD, TV is and always Will be way worse than sitting and reading any of these books on this list!! Judy Blume?? She is an excellent children and YA author!! People have nothing better to do! You should see the books at our library that the kids don't even have to check out-- the paperbacks-- you just bring them back when you're done reading them... all these 101 new series that started like Gossip Girl... um, you watch that show. They started as books!! And I would rather my daughter read all of these books on this list than watch that show regularly! Since when is Maya Angelou controversial? Plain and simple: these books will not destroy the minds of our youths'.
    Great idea, Jess! I guess I will start checking them out and reading them! I read the same one you are. We can discuss... or something. Hope you're feeling better. I sure as heck am NOT! But thank you for the well-wishes! :) Take care of yourself!

  3. Well, looking back over the list, maybe not ALL of them. But still, banning books in the 21st century while it's becoming legal in more & more states to get high? Hm.

  4. UGH! stupid blogger didn't let me know you'd commented. GRRRRR

    Aya- feel free to stalk away :-) I'm guessing the only reason for that book to be on here is because of the magic in it. So stupid. I'll be doing my blog review of it in a week or so.

    Amanda- I would love to read them together :-) Yes, I think the whole idea is stupid. This list, mind you, is for libraries as a whole- so public libraries as well. Of course Madonna's Sex should not be in a HS library, but why should a librarian get to tell an adult what he/she can check out?! Fine- do a restricted section behind the counter so adult would have to come with placemarker or something so kids can't inadvertently see it, but don't tell adults what to read. Oh, and hello, there are some romance novels I've seen that the sex scenes are pretty darn graphic and I've felt like I was reading some kind of dirty magazine! lol

  5. This is a great idea and, if you are interested in learning why they were banned you can go here. It may not have all the books but you get the idea. Most of these were banned by people who had not read them or read parts out of context. Stupid people. Guess we should just put kids in a bubble.

  6. Thanks Heather! I've gotten behind in my reading and blogging for the challenge- have a few saved up that I need to report on. Will probably end up doing one blog for every 2-3 books I read. I had wanted to do some digging on the reasons for the banning and discuss that so that website will be helpful!