Monday, September 29, 2008

I Choose to Read Whatever I Choose

The American Library Association is celebrating Banned Books Week this week. This is the 27th year of celebrating the freedom to read any book that is written. They have a list of the 10 Most Challenged Books of 2007:

1) “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

2) The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence

3) “Olive’s Ocean,” by Kevin Henkes
Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language

4) “The Golden Compass,” by Philip Pullman
Reasons: Religious Viewpoint

5) “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain
Reasons: Racism

6) “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,

7) "TTYL,” by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

8) "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou
Reasons: Sexually Explicit

9) “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris
Reasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit

10) "The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

I haven't heard of six of these books but it seems that sexually explicit writing is particularly troublesome for those trying to keep books on the library shelves. I would argue though that it should be grouped in with the "Religious Viewpoint" complaint because I'm fairly sure that members of the religious demographic are the ones complaining about sex. And it's always surprising that Huck Finn is still being challenged after all this time. It is a relic of another era but necessary to understand another time. I'm glad that someone is out there defending my right to read it -- and any of these other books -- if I so choose.

Read what Sassymonkey wrote about banned books on BlogHer this past weekend.

Choosing to read and not judge what others read,

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