Sunday, 22 September 2013

Banned books week

This morning I was merrily browsing various lists of banned and challenged books as Banned Books Week starts today. I was scrolling through and shaking my head at the stupidity of folk when I came across Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms. Some of you may remember that this is my latest read for the Classics Spin and I actually just finished it a couple of days ago. So imagine my shock and general consternation when I come across it on The Stylist's list of 50 books that were banned. And why was it banned? Sexual frankness. I mean, COME ON. So what Hem writes about a soldier that knocks up a Scottish VAD. They love each other, they live for each other, who the hell cares that they had sneaky relations in a hospital bed and then had a baby out of wedlock. That's life, chaps, best get used to it.

ANYWAY. Once I'd recovered from that discovery I continued to look into book banning. I got a little angry, a little shocked but wound up just having a good old laugh at the wannabe censors in the world. Personally, I don't see the point. There are a lot of things that I don't like. Death and sickness being perfect examples. But if we were to censor shit like that, how on earth would we learn about anything? How would we even function in the world if we hid from facts of life? There are plenty of books that I don't want to read either because of what they represent or just the content but I would never try and control another individual's reading. Can you tell I'm a big believer in choice?!

If you fancy a chuckle, check out this list from the ALA of frequently banned books. Also, Banned Books Week has come at a particularly topical time as people in the US are trying to ban Eleanor and Park for typically stupid reasons. This article over at Book Riot is brilliant on the E&P controversy.

If you don't like the book, don't read it. Simple, yes? Live your life in blissful ignorance but don't ruin it for everyone else.

To put my two fingers up to the book banners I am going to read Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse- Five this week. This 1969 war novel was banned due to the overuse of profanities, scenes of a sexual nature (seriously, you'd think these people forget that sex is universal. In fact, I bet they're all darn filthy and trying to hide it), anti-Christian themes and homosexuality. So it goes...



  1. Totally and completely agree. And also, like, if you don't want your kid to read a particular book, then DON'T LET YOUR KID READ A PARTICULAR BOOK. And then stop. Who even has the audacity to think they can dictate what other people's kids read?! So stupid.

  2. The whole thing with Eleanor and Park is crazy.
    People don't understand that if something offends you, JUST DON'T READ IT. Don't ruin everyone else's fun!

  3. Aw man, I've been trying to avoid buying more books but the attempted banning of a book that the interwebs are all excited about right when I'm about to finish the book I'm currently reading? How could I resist?!

  4. I got the craving to read some Kurt Vonnegut after I finished Alex Woods.

    Can't even begin on banning the books. Can't. Even.

  5. I haven't read it yet but I know enough about it to say seriously? Eleanor & Park? I completely agree with you about needing to learn rather than hide everything, and as you said sex is universal.

  6. "That's life, chaps, best get used to it." Ha ha, YES!

  7. Just thinking about people trying to ban books hurts my brain. I just can't wrap my head around such idiocy.


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