I read banned books!

The ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom has released its annual list of the top ten most challenged books of the year. For 2011 the books were:

  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (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.

I’ve only read four of these, the ones with asterisks. I’m torn because although I love reading banned books on principle — and I require my kids to read them — I have to say most of these books don’t sound very appealing. No, not because of their offensive language or “religious viewpoint” but rather because… well… I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that books with titles like “ttyl” and “Gossip Girl” are a lot more suitable for their intended age group than my age group. Last year I read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian in honor of BBW and I didn’t like it very much. Not for the reasons it was challenged, but because I just don’t think it had that much literary merit. Now that’s a type of challenge I could support: I’m sorry, this book doesn’t belong in our school library because it’s way too cheesy & contrived and the prose is terrible, ha ha ha.

Sooooo, I think that this year perhaps I’ll revisit Brave New World. I read it in high school, I know I did, but I don’t remember much about it. And check it out, one of the grounds for challenge was “insensitivity.” Hmmmm.