Banned Books Week!

Welcome to the Banned Books Week takeover of my blog!

Please welcome Colleen @ Lavender Lines! Colleen will be introducing us to the idea behind banning/challenging books. Please have your sense of humour and sarcasm handy at all times!

Banned Books FTW!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am so all about the banned books these days. See, my To-Be-Read pile is HUGE and I have no idea how I’ll ever get through them. So, in honor of Banned Book week, I’ve decided that all the books that probably should be banned won’t get read. Here’s just a few and the clear reasons why no one (especially teens) should read them.

Soulless by Christopher Golden – No idea what this one is about, but does it really matter? The title is sacrilegious. We shouldn’t read books about not having a soul because anyone without a soul goes to Hell. And that’s bad.

Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson – A young, rich, spoiled girl living on her own. Where are her parents? Surely it is the lack of parental supervision that leads her into thievery and romantic “missteps” as the blurb on the back states.

Stork by Wendy Delsol – Um, the main character is said to “connect unborn children with the right mother”. Sorry, only God can do that.

You know, this makes me think that most of the books I’ve read should be banned and kids and teens shouldn’t be allowed to read them. I read a lot of naughty, dirty books that would totally give kids the wrong idea.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan – Do teens really need to learn the best way to kill zombies and how dangerous they can be? Doesn’t that just promote random acts of violence against zombies? If you don’t put the idea in teens’ heads, then they won’t be tempted to pull a gun on the first zombie they come across.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater – OMG the two leads in this book – gasp! – have sex! Honest to goodness sex. You don’t see it or read about it, but you know it happens. It could totally make other teens have sex. Especially if one of them is a werewolf. Wait, isn’t that bestiality? Double reason to ban it.

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss – Should kids really be allowed to read about all these different fish? After all, the fish aren’t anything like them. Face it; fish are inferior so why even bother learning about them?

Good night Moon by Margaret Brown– Conversing with the moon? I sure as heck wouldn’t want MY kid learning witchcraft at such a young age.

The Bible – Really, I have no idea why people let their kids read this! It’s full to the brim with pregnancy, drinking, violence, murder – some pretty nasty stuff. None of which kids should learn about. It might lead them to a life of debauchery for sure.

You know what? I say let’s ban all books. Kids don’t need to read to learn, right? And the more sheltered they are the less trouble they’ll get into. Sounds like the perfect plan to me.

- Colleen, Lavender Lines

Thank you so much Colleen! If the above guest post confused you, made you mad, had you wondering why anyone would question those books on those grounds, than good. It worked. Welcome to the crazyness that is Banned Books Week, and the disbelief we feel when finding out a book we love has been challenged or banned from schools, libraries or even countries.

This week, rather than reviewing a number of books, I’ll be giving a general overview of their content and looking at reasons why they were challenged/banned. So, WARNING – it is quite possible that all posts about books this week will contain spoilers. Also, author Kathleen Peacock will be joining me later this week to relive her journey reading The Catcher in the Rye.

Bloggers Speak Out – link collection

Natalie @ Mindful Musings has compiled the following list of links as part of her Bloggers Speak Out event.

Bloggers Speak Out is a movement sparked by the recent article, “Filthy Books Demeaning to Republic Education” by Dr. Wesley Scroggins that was published in the Springfield, MO News-Leader on September 18th. In this article, Scroggins vehemently advocates the censorship of books in schools, and specifically requests that the following books be removed from the Republic school system: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, and Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. To show our support of these authors and to fight against book banning and censorship, we have decided to take action and speak out.

Below is a list of links of bloggers speaking out against book banning and censorship–in the form of giveaways, posts, and reviews. Some are “officially” participating in what I’m calling Bloggers Speak Out, and others are posts that I’ve found around the blogosphere. If you get time, you should definitely check them out!

Giveaways of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

**All giveaways will end on 10/3, unless otherwise noted**

Papercut Reviews
Braintasia Books
Escape Through the Pages
Tina’s Book Reviews
Sea of Pages
Mrs. Deraps Reads
Moonlight Book Reviews
Cari’s Book Blog
Just Your Typical Book Blog
For What It’s Worth
Wondrous Reads (Ends 9/27)
Frankie Writes (Ends ?)
The Elliot Review (Ends ?)
The Bookologist (Ends ?)
La Femme Readers

Other Giveaways

**All giveaways will end on 10/3, unless otherwise noted**

-Lisa Schroeder: ARC of The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney (Ends 9/23)
-Will Write for Cake: Win Speak, Twenty Boy Summer, or Slaughterhouse Five
-Mindful Musings: Win Speak, Twenty Boy Summer, or Slaughterhouse Five
-Teens Read and Write: Win The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
-Mundie Moms: Win Speak, Burned, Twenty Boy Summer, or The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Ends 9/26)
-Wicked Awesome Books: Win a “Filthy Books” Prize Pack
-Carol’s Prints: Win Speak and The Mockingbirds
-Myra McEntire: Win Speak, Twenty Boy Summer, or Harry Potter
-The Bookish Type: Win Speak or Twenty Boy Summer
-Bea’s Book Nook: Win Speak & an ALA Challenged Book (Ends 10/2)
-Sarah Ockler: Win a Wesley Scroggins Filthy Books Prize Pack (Ends 10/1)

Other Posts Against Book Banning and Censorship

Braintasia Books
Escape Through the Pages
As Told by Jen
Aine’s Realm
The Compulsive Reader
Once Upon a Bookcase
Daily Dose
Speak Loudly Book Drop @ Late Bloomer Online
A Life Bound by Books
Red House Books
Frankie Writes
Michelle’s Bookshelf
I Should Be Writing
The Undercover Book Lover
Punk Writer Kid
Lisa and Laura Write
Between the Covers
Another Book Junkie
Jenni Elyse
Eve’s Fan Garden
The Ultimate Dumpees
Reading the Best of the Best
The Pirate’s Bounty
Reclusive Bibliophile
Book Faery
Bloggers Heart Books
Book Swarm
Fantasy 4 Eva
The Ladybug Reads
The Lady Critic’s Library
Emilie’s Book World
Jacob’s Beloved
Just Your Typical Book Blog
Maggie’s Bookshelf
Basically Amazing Books
Novel Thoughts
Random Ramblings
Holes in my Brain
Readligion
Vision Quest Fail
Shelby Barwood
Supernatural Snark
Consumed by Books
Ann Marie Gamble
The Darker Side of the Fire
Katie’s Book Blog
Sassymonkey (BlogHer)
GreenBeanTeenQueen
Jessica Lei
Maria Romana
Abby Minard
The Mimosa Stimulus
Books and Things
Beyond the Trestle

Authors Speak Out

Laurie Halse Anderson: This guy thinks Speak is pornographic
Laurie Halse Anderson: The power of speaking loudly
Author Gayle Forman @ Eve’s Fan Garden
Author Saundra Mitchell @ Eve’s Fan Garden
Karen Rivers
Sarah Ockler: I Speak Loudly for Speak
Sarah Ockler: On Book Banning Zealots and Ostriches
Author Laura Manivong @ Page Turners
Cheryl Rainfield: Fight Against Ignorance
Myra McEntire: Speak Loudly: In Defense of Laurie Halse Anderson
Andrea Cremer: Speak Out
Natalie Standiford on Censorship @ Emily’s Reading Room

Important Articles on the Subject

“Filthy Books Demeaning to Republic Education” (the article that started it all)
Scroggins’ Official Complaint to the School Board (PDF)
“Republic School Book Choices under Fire” (Springfield News-Leader)
Laurie Halse Anderson’s Editiorial in the Springfield News-Leader
Sarah Ockler’s Editorial in the Springfield News-Leader
Natalie @ Mindful Musings’ Letter to the Editor in the Springfield News-Leader
Essay: Kurt Vonnegut’s Thoughts on the First Amendment

Bloggers Speak Out & Teaser Tuesday (7)

Bloggers Speak Out is a movement sparked by the recent article, “Filthy Books Demeaning to Republic Education” by Dr. Wesley Scroggins that was published in the Springfield, MO News-Leader on September 18th. In this article, Scroggins vehemently advocates the censorship of books in schools, and specifically requests that the following books be removed from the Republic school system: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, and Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. To show our support of these authors and to fight against book banning and censorship, we have decided to take action and speak out.
– Natalie @ Mindful Musings

Speak is just one of three books that have recently been challenged in a school district in Missouri, USA. Natalie @ Mindful Musings decided to put together an event in which bloggers write reviews, host giveaways and post about the three novels, and book banning/challenging in general. The event runs from today until October 3, one day after Banned Books Week ends. If you’d still like to sign up, e-mail Natalie or comment on her blog letting her know you’re interested. I’ve just started reading Speak and will have a review up during my own Banned Books Week event, and I’ve already written a post about the subject. The giveaway can be found below today’s Teaser Tuesday.

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading.

Speak
by Laurie Halse Anderson

I am a good girl. I go to every single class for a week. It feels good to know what the teachers are talking about again. My parents get the news flash from the guidance counselor. They aren’t sure how to react – happy because I’m behaving, or angrier still that they have to be happy about such a minor thing as a kid who goes to class every day.
– page 120

The only extra entry I am offering is a chance to spread the word about banned books, Speak, Twenty Boy Summer, Slaughterhouse Five, this event and this giveaway. No matter how many times you spread the word, only one extra entry will be given. I want this contest to be open and approachable to as many people as possible. Because of that, this giveaway is also international.

RULES
– You must be 13 years or older to enter
– duplicate entries will be disqualified
– open until 11:59 pm EST, Sunday October 3
– open to everywhere the Book Depository ships
– winners will be contacted by e-mail and have 48 hours to reply
you must fill out the form, entries in comments will not count

Fill Out The Form

Speak Loudly

Speak out against censoring books.

I came home from work today to a flooded google reader, and a busy twitter feed. The subject?
Wesley Scroggins, a professor at a University in Missouri is calling for the removal of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler and Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut from schools in his area.

You can find his entire 29 page letter to the district HERE. On top of calling for the removal of the above mentioned books (in which he equates the novel Speak with soft core porn – a book that deals with the subject of rape), he also calls for the removal of any similar books and high rated movies, the teaching of sex education to any grade, and the teaching of evolution, to name a few.

Slaughterhouse Five has already been removed, and Twenty Boy Summer is being reviewed.

I’ll say right up front, I have yet to read any of the three novels mentioned, but that all three have spots on my TBR list (in the cases of Speak and Slaughterhouse Five, they’ve had spots for some time). This news has come hard on the beginning of Banned Books Week starting September 25th, and I’m disgusted. NO ONE has the right to tell anyone what they can and cannot read (parents and their own children are an entirely different matter). Who has the right to judge what is vulgar or inappropriate for anyone?

I say that we need to SPEAK LOUDLY, read banned/challenged books, make your own decisions, reach out to others, spread the love, and LISTEN to those who do SPEAK.

Below is a heartwrenching poem that Laurie Halse Anderson wrote for the 10th year anniversary of Speak. In it, she uses words and phrases from the thousands of e-mails and letters she’s received since the book was published. It moved me to tears, and I have no doubt the book will as well.

Some links of interest:
A collection of SPEAK LOUDLY related posts from around the net compiled by Reclusive Bibliophile.
Laurie Halse Anderson’s initial blog post.
Censorship by Sarah Ockler, Twenty Boy Summer.
Sarah Ockler’s post on the subject.
A post on SPEAK by Cheryl Rainfield, author of Scars.
Speaking Out by C. J. Redwine

BBW Day 8: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Banned Books Banner

 

Friday – Contest to win The Chocolate War
Saturday – The Giver by Lois Lowry
Sunday – Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
Monday – Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Tuesday – Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Wednesday – 12 hour shift at work and sickness =(
Thursday – re-cap of the week so far
Friday – The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Saturday – Today’s review of The Perks of Being a Wallflower

 

I decided that during Banned Books Week, besides just blogging about it, I would also read a book from the banned/challenged lists found on the American Library Association’s website. After coming across The Perks of Being a Wallflower so many times, I figured that would be the one I read – especially since I’ve been meaning to read it for a while now.

 

perks of being a wallflower The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
ISBN – 13: 978-0-671-02734-6
Published: 1999
My edition: published in 1999, 213 pages long, Simon & Schuster

Standing on the fringes of life offeres a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.
Since its publication, Stephen Chbosky’s haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion has received critical acclaim, provoked discussion and debate, and grown into a cult sensation with over half a million copies in print.
It is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates, family dramas, and new friends. The worl of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, where all you need is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

 

REASONS FOR CHALLENGES/BANNING

The Perks of Being a Wallflower has been on the Top 10 Challenged Books in 2004 (#5), 2006 (#8), 2007 (#10) and 2008 (#6). The book was on the list in 2005-2006 (lists prior to 2004 are unavailable). Stephen Chbosky has been on the Most Frequently Challenged Authors of the 21st Century in 2006 and 2008. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is not found on the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books: 1990-1999 due to being published in 1999. We’ll have to check back in 2010 to see what number it comes in at for 2000-2009.

Most common reasons that were noted in suggestions for banning were: homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group, drugs, nudity and themes of suicide.

 

REVIEW…beware of possible spoilers

I’m not usually one to pick up life stories. I tend to pick up a book because I want to escape life, not live it through other people in the pages of a novel. I like my stories to have fantasy elements to them, be it through fantasy, sci-fi, apocalypse, the future, etc. I avoid coming-of-age, real life, fiction – I usually just have no desire to read novels like that (this is not to say I haven’t. Scribbler of Dreams, Lombardo’s Law and My Sister’s Keeper are good examples of life stories I have read and loved). I can add The Perks of Being a Wallflower to that list, now.

The novel, written through letters that Charlie is sending to an anonymous friend (presumably you, the reader), the story is an engaging telling of one boy’s journey through freshman year of high school. Charlie’s letters walk us through his first dates, kisses, girlfriends, drugs, alcohol, sexual encounters and more. Through Charlie’s voice, we come to realize that there are things going on in his world that we are unaware of, and the big reveal at the end of the novel, though surprising, really isn’t, in the fact that we should have known something like that was coming.

I can understand why parents may take offence to some of the subject matter in Perks, but the writing style and characterization of the novel is brilliantly done and this novel deserves to be read and not locked away from libraries or school reading lists. Most teens will encounter at least one, if not all, of the things that Charlie talks about during their high school career, and maybe this book will help them see what not to do, or what to do in certain circumstances. Maybe it will help them avoid situations they don’t want to get into, but can’t recognize the signs. Maybe, it will just be a great book that they read one weekend.

heart 4

And with this review, Banned Books Week comes to an end. The contest will continue to run until midnight tonight, and I’ll announce the winner tomorrow evening after 5:00pm AST. I had fun this week and I will definitely continue reading banned books. I don’t let people tell me what to eat, or wear, why would I let them tell me what I can read?