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Book burning fun time!

So, how many of these have you read, and did you find them controversial? Thoughts?

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curseangel
Feb. 27th, 2008 06:19 am (UTC)
I read Catch-22 (by Joseph Heller) in a class in high school. It's still one of my favorite books. I can't imagine why anyone would want to ban it!

...well, okay, more than half the class was completely confused by the whole book, but that's not really a good reason. :P

Edited at 2008-02-27 06:19 am (UTC)
kebechet
Feb. 27th, 2008 06:38 am (UTC)
I loved Catch-22!
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kebechet
Feb. 27th, 2008 06:38 am (UTC)
I'm still trying to figure out why menstruation is controversial.

Damn that scandalous Judy Blume! LOL!
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anmorata
Feb. 27th, 2008 06:35 am (UTC)
1984 is, by far, one of my most favorite books. It might have been controversial for its time, but eh, not now.

The Catcher in the Rye was controversial because Holden attempts to solicit a prostitute. I could have cared less, but I didn't like the book whatsoever. I think I was too old to have read it when I did. Too jaded. Heh.

You know, I could probably come up with a reason for all of the books that are on that list that I've read. Doesn't mean that I find them controversial in the least bit. But it questions you on how you define art, even in the literary form. Isn't art supposed to provoke you to get a response? Isn't it supposed to be controversial to some degree?
kebechet
Feb. 27th, 2008 06:37 am (UTC)
Isn't art supposed to provoke you to get a response? Isn't it supposed to be controversial to some degree?

I ask myself that same question every time I go to MOMA, and am subjected to giant paintings of single yellow dots. >;)

I was baffled when I saw that list. I don't even consider some of them provocative, much less controversial.

Edited at 2008-02-27 06:39 am (UTC)
(no subject) - squeeful - Feb. 27th, 2008 07:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kambriel - Feb. 27th, 2008 08:18 am (UTC) - Expand
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hurrigirl
Feb. 27th, 2008 06:39 am (UTC)
I've read over 25 books on that list and I don't think any of them were controversial. Are you there, God? It's me, Margaret is about wanting to be a woman and wondering about what religion one should be. I think the people who want to ban/remove them are the ones that should have their narrow little brains examined. How is Call of the Wild controversial? I don't understand why these books would be considered controversial.
kebechet
Feb. 27th, 2008 07:14 am (UTC)
Maybe Call of the Wild is controversial for people that don't like the Charlton Heston rendition?

XD
asqmh
Feb. 27th, 2008 06:40 am (UTC)
I've read 94 of them.

I think people get confused and think "controversial" = "uncomfortable." *headdesk*

If it makes you think, it IS NOT DANGEROUS. Thing is, quite of few of these are dystopian - and what's funny is that the people challenging them are the stereotypical "bad guys" of the stories.

It seems to break down in such a way that if your book deals with human sexuality (whether relational or developmental), human interpersonal relationships, masturbation, God, magic or communism, you're "controversial."

Excuse me. I have to go write a book about a gay commie priest who is invited to a magical school where they teach questionable quantum physics.

kebechet
Feb. 27th, 2008 07:14 am (UTC)
You make me laff!
(no subject) - asqmh - Feb. 27th, 2008 07:31 am (UTC) - Expand
squeeful
Feb. 27th, 2008 07:00 am (UTC)
Quite a number of them. Some through school, some from my parents or grandparents, some I found on my own. Thought-provoking, yes. Controversial, not to me. Worthy of banning, no. Provoking thought and self-reflection as a person and a society prevents stagnation.

I still love Lord of the Flies. But I am a twisted person like that. ;-D
kebechet
Feb. 27th, 2008 07:15 am (UTC)
I love Lord of the Flies, too.
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the_only_babbs
Feb. 27th, 2008 07:24 am (UTC)
I have read a few of those and intend on reading a few of them with my daughter! Of course, Where's Waldo is my favorite and I will be keeping Henry Miller to myself. Oh, how I love Henry Miller.
kebechet
Feb. 27th, 2008 08:45 am (UTC)
I love that goddamn Waldo.

XD
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alicia_stardust
Feb. 27th, 2008 07:25 am (UTC)
I've read 46 books from that list and many of those were read in school.

Shel Silverstein, WTF? The Giver? I cannot figure out why many of those even made the list.

My first grade teacher read How To Eat Fried Worms to us and then served us crunchy chow mein noodles covered in melted chocolate at the end of it. I still can't see it as controversial.

If uncomfortable and difficult = controversial, then why isn't Old Yeller on that list? When I read that as a child I cried so hard that I caused myself to throw up.

Fuck, now I'm on a roll. Even the content in Lolita doesn't, IMO, justify being taken out of circulation. There's so much more to Nabokov's writing besides the "uncomfortable parts" that someone apparently found issue with...

*flail*
kebechet
Feb. 27th, 2008 08:44 am (UTC)
My first grade teacher read How To Eat Fried Worms to us and then served us crunchy chow mein noodles covered in melted chocolate at the end of it. I still can't see it as controversial.

You know that, because of your post, I'm going to do this to my kid, right? LOL!
(no subject) - alicia_stardust - Feb. 27th, 2008 08:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
tjcrowley
Feb. 27th, 2008 08:27 am (UTC)
Weird -- just like the last person, I've read 46 of those books. Of them all, the only ones that seemed the least bit scandalous to me were Lolita and Naked Lunch -- the latter mostly because it just seemed to be presenting shocking imagery with no rhyme or reason, and the former for the kidfucking.
kebechet
Feb. 27th, 2008 08:45 am (UTC)
I totally agree with you about Naked Lunch.

For my part, I've always hated 'art' that was shocking for shock's sake.
t3andcrumpets
Feb. 27th, 2008 01:27 pm (UTC)
I've read at least half of them. Some of them, I read when I was under 10. My parents honestly didn't care what I read so long as I read them, and I never found anything odd or controversial about them. *shrugs*

Some people are just so TOUCHY when it comes to the written word.
supervillainess
Feb. 27th, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC)
Me too, dude. I think I read half of those (the kids' books) by the time I was in 5th grade. I remember something like "A Day No Pigs Would Die" or "My Brother Sam Is Dead" sort of disturbed me, but that had more to do w/ the emotional tenor of the books, and not the actual content. The Gift of the Pirate Queen hit me just as hard, and the most controversial element in THAT book was diabetes.
(no subject) - t3andcrumpets - Feb. 28th, 2008 02:27 am (UTC) - Expand
avidbeader
Feb. 27th, 2008 01:46 pm (UTC)
I have read (or tried to read or used the cliff-notes) 35 of those books. And I'm with Judy Blume when she says that kids are their own best censors.

Example: In elementary and middle school, I was a big Judy Blume fan. And when I was 11, I noticed some girls at another lunch table passing around a Blume novel I hadn't read before. I added it to my Christmas wish list and my grandma got it for me, obviously not looking very closely at the contents.

That afternoon, I opened the book to a random page. It happened to be the scene where Kath gives Michael a handjob. I read it two or three times, not quite understanding what was going on. Then I took the book to my mom and asked her to put it away until I was older.

About two years later, something made me remember the book and I went and asked for it. My mom read it first, and gave it to me with the firm admonition that what the kids were doing was wrong because they weren't married yet. I read it, understood a lot more of what was going on in it, and took yet another step away from my parents' conservative values.

If my mom had refused to give it to me, I know I would have torn the house apart looking for it while she was gone. Banning something only makes it all the more attractive.
naeelah
Feb. 27th, 2008 02:05 pm (UTC)
I've read maybe half of them (although that estimate may be optimistic). I can understand the challenges in a few cases -- Naked Lunch was, after all, a pivotal case in obscenity laws -- but... Where's Fucking Waldo? I've read explanations of that one, so I know why, but it is still the pinnacle of idiocy for me that people want it banned.

edit: speaking of using those books in school -- that's where I read many of them. I even did a report on Naked Lunch for my psychology class (in high school). Ha.

I speculate that the only reason half these are up for challenge all the time is because they're classics and widely read. If they were less common books, they wouldn't be challenged so often, because far fewer people would be reading them. No matter what you write, someone is going to be offended by it and want it banned. I could write Fluffy Puppies in Unicorn Land Enjoy World Peace and people would probably challenge it for including magical creatures that don't exist, for saying that it has world peace without any mention of JEAYSUS being responsible for it, etc.

Edited at 2008-02-27 02:14 pm (UTC)
myskat
Feb. 27th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC)
I'm pleaed to say I've read about 80 percent and the other twenty are great fodder for my reading list. Book banning is a sad lost joke on us all. The greatest internal debates on who we want to be or not to be come from the written work and propel us to make better decisions without having lived the content.
juniperus
Feb. 27th, 2008 03:06 pm (UTC)
43, if you include all books in series, and I'll actually list as I bet there's an age-group thing
Some of them I can see being an issue at time of publication for mention of sex, or drugs, or violence, or race, or politics, or religion, or whatever...but others, not so much (the Hinton, Blume, and King titles are just issues of age appropriateness for, say, middle school v. high school, IMO, and having the Dahl, Rowling, George, and Silverstein titles on the list is just silly). I don't think any I've read on the list are really particularly controversial now, given what kids ingest from games and movies and television, except maybe Killing Mr. Griffin, since any discussion of killing teachers (or classmates) given the incidents of school violence in recent (and not-so-recent) years is going to set people off in a big way.


1984- George Orwell
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn- Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer- Mark Twain
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret- Judy Blume
Beloved- Toni Morrison
The Bluest Eye- Toni Morrison
Blubber- Judy Blume
Brave New World- Aldous Huxley
Carrie- Stephen King
Catch-22- Joseph Heller
Cat's Cradle- Kurt Vonnegut
Christine- Stephen King
The Color Purple- Alice Walker
Cujo- Stephen King
The Dead Zone- Stephen King
Deenie- Judy Blume
A Farewell to Arms- Ernest Hemingway
Flowers for Algernon- Daniel Keyes
For Whom the Bell Tolls- Ernest Hemingway
Forever- Judy Blume
The Grapes of Wrath- John Steinbeck
The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Handmaid's Tale- Margaret Atwood
Harry Potter (Series)- J.K. Rowling
In Cold Blood- Truman Capote
James and the Giant Peach- Roald Dahl
Julie of the Wolves- Jean Craighead George
The Jungle- Upton Sinclair
Killing Mr. Griffin- Lois Duncan
A Light in the Attic- Shel Silverstein
Of Mice and Men- John Steinbeck
The Outsiders- S.E. Hinton
Slaughterhouse-Five- Kurt Vonnegut
Song of Solomon (novel)- Toni Morrison
The Sun Also Rises- Ernest Hemingway
That Was Then, This Is Now- S.E. Hinton
Tiger Eyes- Judy Blume


Some of the above I was assigned in class (high school, the Morrison and Twain titles, mainly), or just chose to read on my own. Others, however, were pointed attempts to increase my banned-book repertoire: When I was in high school [mid-to-later-80s] and those lists came out I used to make a point of choosing a few new titles from that list and reading them...as can be expected, there are those I never got to or started and didn't finish (for a variety of reasons), and I've noted those below. Often Stranger in a Strange Land- Robert A. Heinlein was on earlier lists, I should note, and I made a point of reading that, too. (so should you - good book!) There are books on the list I'm just not interested in, but expect I may see them in my house in the hands of my children at some point (like the Stines).


Bridge to Terabithia- Katherine Paterson
The Catcher in the Rye- J.D. Salinger
A Clockwork Orange- Anthony Burgess
A Day No Pigs Would Die- Robert Newton Peck
Go Tell It on the Mountain- James Baldwin
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings- Maya Angelou
In the Night Kitchen- Maurice Sendak
Invisible Man- Ralph Ellison
Lady Chatterley's Lover- D.H. Lawrence
Lolita- Vladimir Nabokov
Lord of the Flies- William Golding
Naked Lunch- William S. Burroughs
To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee
Ulysses- James Joyce
The Witches- Roald Dahl
A Wrinkle in Time- Madeleine L'Engle


I'm aware of the content of Lolita and A Clockwork Orange, and I can see why those would still set people off. It's interesting to see what books that include a certain topic (main character suicide, for example The Awakening- Kate Chopin) don't make it while others do. Hm.
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