God wrote a banned book
Among the challenged classics
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
The Holy Bible by God
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
Ulysses, by James Joyce
Beloved, by Toni Morrison
The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
1984, by George Orwell
Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Animal Farm, by George Orwell
The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
Native Son, by Richard Wright
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron
Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs
Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence
The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser
Rabbit, Run, by John Updike
EDWARDS — Civil disobedience can be fun, and that’s why you should march straight into your local bookstore or library and declare in a clear and steady voice, “I’ll have a banned book, please.”
It’s Banned Book Week across this great land of ours.
To celebrate, The Bookworm of Edwards, in The Riverwalk at Edwards ordered all kinds of banned books and has a couple of extensive displays that spark thoughts such as:
• “Which banned book character would you want to have lunch with?”
• “Which banned book would you go to jail defending?”
• “What on God’s green earth was coursing through James Joyce’s brain when he wrote that?”
“It’s one of those things people get excited about,” said Mackenzie Poffenberger, of the Bookworm.
Topping the full list throughout the past decade is the Harry Potter series. Toni Morrison and Judy Blume make multiple appearances. Kurt Vonnegut wrote a couple of banned books.
So did God. The Holy Bible’s religious perspective makes it an annual target.
Robin Bryant has been a children’s librarian with the Eagle Valley Library District for a long time. Chances are she helped teach you or your kids to read — or maybe both.
Bryant was bemused and encouraged when she was putting together her Banned Book Week display. She discovered that lots of the banned books she wanted to display were already checked out, bless their semi-subversive little hearts.
Bluster for fun and profit
Books are rarely challenged these days, but when they are, the challenging usually begins in a public library or school, somewhere the body politic retains the illusion of influence.
Carrie Mae Wack works in the Avon Public Library’s adult services section. Occasionally people question some of the books, DVDs and media in the library. Some express concerns about inappropriate content, religious views and sexuality, Wack said.
At Avon and other local public libraries there’s a procedure. If you think something is inappropriate, you say so and fill out a form. Several librarians will give the book a thorough going-over.
They have not yet yanked anything from their shelves, but sometimes books are moved to a different category, from the youth to the adult sections, for example.
Wack says the conventional wisdom among authors and other capitalists goes something like this: “The best way to make sure your book is a best seller is to make the list for Banned Book Week. As soon as people see they’re not supposed to read it, they’ll go buy it,” she said.
Hardly an epidemic
The thing about banned and challenged books is that you can get them nearly anywhere — most libraries, bookstores and online, points out Jonah Goldberg. He’s editor at large for the National Review Online a fellow with the American Enterprise Institute.
“It’s all so very brave and subversive!” Goldberg wrote sarcastically for USA Today.
Most banned books are not really banned, he says.
The American Library Association lumps together banned and challenged books, he says.
Banned books have been removed from a library’s or school’s shelves. A challenge is when someone questions the suitability of a book, he says.
“If you complain that your 8-year old kid shouldn’t be reading a book with lots of sex, violence or profanity until he or she is a little older, you’re not a good parent; you’re a would-be book-banner,” Goldberg writes.
It’s all perspective, Goldberg says. The U.S. is home to more than 98,000 public schools, educating roughly 50 million students. It’s also home to 33,000 private schools and around 10,000 public libraries, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Reported challenges run about 350 a year, according to the American Library Association.
That’s about one parent complaint for every 100,000 students.
That’s hardly the epidemic it’s purported to be, Goldberg says.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and email@example.com.
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