Thursday, September 26, 2013

Banned Books Week

Parents challenging schools and books for required reading is nothing new.  It happens here quite a bit and sometimes the parental opinion is based on an online review, not the actual reading of a book.  Rather like when my generation would turn in a book report based on a Classic Comic rather than the actual book.

Never, however, did I expect to see a week designated as Banned Books Week.  But yes.  There is one and it's an annual event sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, the American Library Association and the PEN Center, among other similar associations.  It is designed to draw attention to banned books.  It is marketing the written word in a most unconventional manner.

If it gets people to buy books and read them I guess it isn't all bad.  It seems a shame there is a need for it but then it's a shame some feel a need to ban a book in the first place.

Over the years some of the great classics have fallen prey to zealous critics.  Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn often make the lists.  Little Red Riding Hood because  she was carrying wine as one of the refreshments in her picnic basket.

The Diary of A Young Girl  by Anne Frank because it is a real 'downer'. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz because it described witches, at least some of them, as good. From Grimm's Fairy Tales the story of Snow White because she almost gets killed by a corset and Cinderella because her step sisters cut off parts of their own feet.  Grimm indeed.

For the older set there's The Grapes of Wrath because some thought fictional residents of a real county weren't flattering. Gone With The Wind for Scarlett's immoral behavior and Fahrenheit 451 for the use of an expletive considered blasphemous.

My what starched and proper lives those who would ban books must live.  Without a touch of reality. And they wish to impose it on others not quite so saintly.

Perhaps the most ludicrous of all is the dictionary.  Yep.  Because it has all the words in it including (gasp) sexual definitions! Well, someone had to read it to know that.  My guess is that the 'definition of' is as close to sex as many have ever gotten!  I do wonder, though, how they justified having kids.

The one book I didn't find on the lists is the Bible.  Heck, it has it all of the above under one cover!  I don't imagine the booksellers would be too keen on that if the word gets out.

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