Friday Five: Five Banned (or challenged!) Books, in no particular order

Banned Books #4
Image by ellen.w via Flickr

I am only listing books I have actually read in this list. For a bigger list of banned or challenged books, I recommend checking out the ALA’s website. It’s probably impossible to get a comprehensive list, but they do a good job nonetheless.

  1. 1984, by George Orwell. A novel about a dystopian future, so naturally I love it. I read this when I was 15 — by choice, because I wanted to read it. The counselor at Band Camp thought that was really effed up. Not her choice of words, but I’m able to read between the lines. She said “Please tell me you’re reading that because you’re required to read it for school.” I said, “No, I’m reading it because I want to.” She shook her head and made a comment about how messed up that was.
    Because 15 is too young to read about dystopian futures. Obviously.
    Anyway. I digress.
  2. The Golden Compass, by Phillip Pullman. The entire His Dark Materials trilogy has been challenged, actually, but I’ve only read 2/3 of it. Have yet to pick up the final book. It’s a dark book, definitely. Not as light as the movie makes you think it is. However, it gives you hope: the main character is a young girl who survives some really harsh stuff, against all odds, and continues on with courage.
    I read this around the time it came out in the States.
  3. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley. What can I say? I have a thing for dystopian futures (probably because I’m pretty convinced we’re headed for one). I read this one when I was 16 or 17, at Fat Camp. (I went to a lot of camps.) I remembered thinking I wouldn’t mind being engineered from conception to be perfect. Many parts of it I found absolutely hilarious, and some parts I found pretty creepy. It’s a good read. I suggest it.
    (Coincidentally, my purchase of this book also coincides with the first incidence of a boy flirting with me. Ever. I was terrified and didn’t know what to do, so I made my purchase quickly and fled the Waldenbooks and the cute boy behind the counter.)
    Also, it’s strangely appropriate to be reading a novel of a dystopian future at a camp where they don’t let you handle your own money and your packages from home are checked for food.
  4. Harry Potter (series), by JK Rowling. Yeah, that was obvious.
  5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker. Don’t watch the film. Read the book. The adaptation to cinema is really bad.

Also, here is a list of 5 banned books turned film, complete with trailers for said films. (I have yet to see The Handmaid’s Tale, which is the only one of those books I’ve read, but I do want to.)

So I guess that makes it Friday Ten? Whatever. Happy reading! See you tomorrow for SFFSat, and Monday for another random rant.


Writer Wednesday: 2011 Banned Books Week and full disclosure about my adolescence

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September 24th through October 1st is Banned Books Week. Over the years, many books and writers have been banned or challenged — for political reasons or just some vague feeling of “needing to protect the children”.

Until this year, I’d never sought to read a banned book. Then I decided I’d try and find one, and saw on the list of top ten challenged books for 2010 were two books I’d already read this week — The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. I’d picked these up because I’m on a bit of a YA bent right now, and because I’m a First Nations major who had the privilege of seeing Alexie speak at a conference several years ago.

What’s amazing is the amount of YA novels that get banned or challenged. We feel that we must protect children and teenagers from darkness, danger, naughty words. The fact is most kids these days already live in hell, and as Sherman Alexie says, those dark, dark books give them weapons with which to fight for their lives.

When I was 11 I was sneaking booze from my dad’s liquor cabinet. By the time I was 15 I had already tried to kill myself numerous times. When I was 18 and my mom sent me to get tested for diabetes (it runs in my family and I was showing symptoms), the doctor asked me what I would have done had I tested positive.

“I’d probably just let it kill me,” I said, completely serious.

He said he was going to recommend me to a therapist, and I said that was probably a good idea.

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