Thursday, April 12, 2012

Suggestions for your book club's reading list

Well it's that time of the year again. It's time to read a banned book. Whether your flavor be offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexuality or racism, the American Library Association has you covered with their list of 2011's most banned books.

So, without further ado, here's your reading list for the next twelve months:

1)      ttylttfnl8rg8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
Offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
2)      The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
Nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
3)      The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
Anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence
4)      My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
Nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
5)      The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
6)      Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint
7)      Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit
8)      What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
Nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit
9)      Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
Drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit
10)  To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Offensive language; racism

The most ironic entry on the list is, of course, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. The book made the list of Top 10 banned books and the movie made AFI's list of the Best 10 Films Ever. AFI even named Atticus Finch as the No. 1 movie hero. Yes, the book contains some offensive language and yes, the book depicts racism in the South. But since when is accurately portraying "the other America" grounds for banning a book? I guess the imagery conflicts with the rosy picture conservatives want to paint of the "good ol' days."

Maybe one day the wingnuts will realize that banning books doesn't change the past. All it does is create ignorance. Racism is part of our past. Religious intolerance is part of the fabric of this country. Kids have sex.

You don't like what an author wrote? Great. Tell people you disagree. Write a rebuttal. Debate the points over coffee or beer. Parse the words. Democracy flourishes with the free exchange of ideas - whether you agree with them or not. Kick back and enjoy the cacophony of discordant voices.

Don't ban books. Read them.

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