Banned Book Week

Banned Books Week starts today and goes on until October 1, 2011.

I decided I should honor it by reading one. There are probably some in my TBR list anyway and I won’t have to break my rule of no more books until the TBR list is in single digits.

I started by looking up lists of banned books and discovered the American Library Association (ALA) has some excellent lists. They keep track of this stuff.

For 2010 the top banned/challenged books are:

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
    Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
  3. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, and sexually explicit
  4. Crank, by Ellen Hopkins
    Reasons: drugs, offensive language, and sexually explicit
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
  6. Lush, by Natasha Friend
    Reasons: drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: sexism, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  8. Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich
    Reasons: drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, and religious viewpoint
  9. Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie
    Reasons:  homosexuality and sexually explicit
  10. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer
    Reasons: religious viewpoint and violence

I’ve not read Revolutionary Voices or And Tango Makes Three, but they were banned/challenged because of homosexuality. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. I mean, there was a recent furor over agents rejecting books because of gay characters. In this day and age, when people are still trying ban/challenge books because of  homosexuality, it’s a pretty sad state of affairs.

I’ve only read three of these books: Brave New World, The Hunger Games and Twilight.

I can kind of understand of Brave New World and The Hunger Games. I don’t agree with it, but I can kind of understand it. A little. Brave New World’s use of science is pretty scary, not that it’s cited as a reason, but I imagine that’s why someone would ban/challenge it. The Hunger Games are pretty violent, but it fits the book and I am not sure I agree it’s “unsuited to age group”.

But Twilight? Seriously? What’s there to object to in Twilight? I don’t like Twilight, mind, but what about the religious viewpoint and violence? It’s not even that violent. And the religious viewpoint thing is pretty out there. I don’t get it. I really don’t get it. Maybe someone can explain it to me?

Also, for this past decade, from 2000-2009, the top banned/challenged book is the Harry Potter series. I look at that and laugh. It makes less sense than objecting to Twilight (which at least has vampires. Even if they are sparkly.) Harry Potter has the classic fantasy quest thing going on, some of the best world building around, great characters. How can anyone object to it?

Also, I still haven’t decided on a banned book to read, but 1984 appears on the ALA’s list of banned and challenged classics. Should be good.