Banned Books discussion

141 views
BANNED BOOKS GROUP READS > Categorizing the books

Comments Showing 1-27 of 27 (27 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (maybedog) | 623 comments Mod
I'm having a hard time dividing these books into groups that everyone will agree with. I initially wanted to have one children's book and one adult book. But most books fell into the "children's" book category since most of the classics suggested are assigned in high school, and all the adult books seemed modern.

So I switched it to classic vs. modern. But now it seems that we're going to end up reading two adult books and those primarily interested in children's books are concerned that we'll never get to them.

So how do you think we should divide these books up?


message 2: by Pandora (last edited Jun 22, 2009 07:27AM) (new)

Pandora  | 68 comments Forgot about where the classics end up. The division line should be main character. If the main character is eighteen or under then the book is a children/YA book. If older then eighteen it is adult book even if it gets on a reading list. The problem with focusing on school list is in high school (9th - 12th grades they uses titles that are also read by adults.) I think you would find this a simple way to divide the books and also allow for two very different choices.


PS Thanks for the work you put in to get this done.


message 3: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (maybedog) | 623 comments Mod
You're welcome Pandora Kat.

Is Lolita considered a main character in that book? Because that is definitely not a children's book. But I can go by what the intent was of the author who wrote it rather than when people tend to read it. So The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men would definitely be adult books then.

I'll switch to this method of choosing the two books if I don't hear from anyone else, but I would like it if someone else weighed in other than the two of us. :)



message 4: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) Lolita is probably considered one of the two main characters. I had to read it in 8th or 9th grade English class, but I consider it an adult book too.


message 5: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (maybedog) | 623 comments Mod
Wow, you had to read it that young? You must have gone to a pretty liberal middle school!


message 6: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) I'm not going to be very popular for saying this, but I think I would be protesting "Lolita" being REQUIRED reading for 8th or 9th grade. There's a huge difference between required reading, suggested reading, and freely available reading material. Frankly, I think "Lolita" belongs in the third category. I wouldn't have a problem with it in being suggested, but I think it's problematic having it required.

One of the things I have noticed about these lists is that they make no difference between people questioning the appropriateness of certain materials being required reading in the classroom and materials being readily available in a library. I read East of Eden by John Steinbeck when I was in junior high and I think it's great when young teens want to read Steinbeck. However, it's probably not an appropriate selection for a required book.


message 7: by Katharine (new)

Katharine Klevinskas | 7 comments

Is Lolita considered a main character in that book?


I think Humbert Humbert is definitely the main character. Lolita, poor thing, is merely a pawn.


message 8: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) Humbert Humbert is the main character but Lolita was who struck me, as a young girl reading it.

Kelly, When I read it at age 13-14 I "didn't get" it. I took it more literally. I really should re-read it as an adult.

My jr. high (not middle school; yes, I am that old) wasn't really that liberal, but it was San Francisco in the mid 60s.


message 9: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (maybedog) | 623 comments Mod
Sandi,

Thanks for your comments. I do think it's important for parents to be aware of what their children are reading and that books should be age-appropriate. The problem is that we don't all agree on age-appropriate. A lot of people think that gay themes are adult themes (which is ridiculous since gay people have children who know their parents are different!)

I am guessing that Lolita would be an inappropriate book for adolescents to read. They probably wouldn't get it as Lisa says she didn't, and might get the wrong ideas about what it is trying to say. I'm a foster parent and my daughter began having sex at age 13 with much older boys, as well as adult men. She wouldn't have gotten the message at all and instead would have tried to tell me that her school was saying her behavior was okay. I would say East of Eden would also be inappropriate for similar reasons.

I do agree there is a difference between books being available and books being required. I also don't have a problem with rating systems IF they are applied objectively based on equally applied standards rather than a small minority's moral stance. For example, putting a warning label on music that has swear words is fine as long as it specifies that the label is about cursing. (A parent can decided if they care if their child hears cursing in songs.) Putting a general warning label on a CD because it has "adult themes" without saying what that means is problematic to me because it's way too subjective.

I try to read the books my kids are reading and we discuss them. I also try to read children's books that are part of popular culture, again so I can talk to my kids about them. Unfortunately, my daughter no longer reads very much. It makes me very sad.


message 10: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) Kelly, I'm in the same place as you with my 13 year old son. I try to read the books he reads, but he rarely reads anymore unless it is required. Last year, I got him read Little Brother by Cory Doctrow. I didn't read it first and he approached me when he was done and said "Why did you give me a book with adult themes?" I read it and found out that it had a scene with teenagers having a beach party with beer and pot and a fairly explicit scene where the protagonist has sex with his girlfriend. I did talk to my son about these scenes and I do think the subject matter of the novel is so important that I'd like to see all teenagers read it. However, I might question a middle-school teacher having it as a REQUIRED selection, even though my middle-school was blown away by it.

Personally, I would like to see books rated the way movies and video games are. I would want to know the reasons for the given ratings. I don't think it's a question of banning, but a tool for making informed decisions.


message 11: by William (new)

William Samples (WCSamples) Katharine wrote: "

Is Lolita considered a main character in that book?


I think Humbert Humbert is definitely the main character. Lolita, poor thing, is merely a pawn."


Hardly. Humbert is Lolita's pawn.



message 12: by Pandora (last edited Jul 03, 2009 03:19PM) (new)

Pandora  | 68 comments Of course Lolita is an adult book. You are going have to use some common sense with this. My point though is most books that take place in school settings with teenage or younger characters are children/YA books. You focal point is who it telling the story and who is the main audience.

Hope this does sound to harsh but, I think for the most part the idea of focusing on the main character (narrator) will work.


message 13: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (maybedog) | 623 comments Mod
Of course not, Pandora Kat. Please feel free to say whatever you wish. Your post seemed black and white to me so in my first post I was just saying we need to be a little more careful but we can go by author's intent as well, in other words, audience. I think we pretty much agree.

In my later post I was referring to Lisa saying that she was required to read it in 8th or 9th grade and Sandi's response that she didn't think she would be popular for saying it bothered her. I haven't read the book yet so I was trying not to make assumptions.



message 14: by Pandora (last edited Jul 11, 2009 12:24PM) (new)

Pandora  | 68 comments I do have a tendency to see things black and white but, I do try to temper it. My main point though was providing a way for children books not to have go against adult books. For professional reasons I have a keen interest in talking about children literature.

Sorry I wasn't able to take part in the current selection but, I was away when the choices were made and didn't have an opportunity to read the books. This is another reason why I think have the books broken down by children and adult would be a good idea. If one can't finish the adult book the person will probably be able to finish the children/YA book.


message 15: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (maybedog) | 623 comments Mod
We're definitely going to try it for the next month. I'm going to put the polls up soon.


message 16: by Pandora (new)

Pandora  | 68 comments Cool I can hardly wait.


message 17: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (last edited Jul 14, 2009 01:30AM) (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (maybedog) | 623 comments Mod
Actually, since we haven't really had anyone talking about the books yet and the month is half over, I was thinking of starting the next one halfway through August and end it at the end of September. Then go to monthly on Oct. 1.

Any objections?


message 18: by Ruby (new)

Ruby Emam (goodreadscomruby_emam) Hi, Kelly. Why don't you try
The Little Black Fish? You and I have had some discussions on adding this book and I can assure you that it fits both categories: children and adults. The older the readers, the better they understand the amazing messages contained in this book. I can only reiterate here that the author of the book was executed for his ideas, and I will leave the rest to the group members.


message 19: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 485 comments Oh, yes, I would dearly love to read The Little Black Fish.


message 20: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (last edited Apr 15, 2010 02:09AM) (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (maybedog) | 623 comments Mod
It's already been added. I will make sure it's one of the selections this month. The only problem I can see is getting that version/edition of the book. I don't know how widely available it is. It's not available from either of our library systems here. If we could accept any translation but put that one as primary, it would be easier. What do you think?


message 21: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 485 comments Kelly wrote: "It's already been added. I will make sure it's one of the selections this month. The only problem I can see is getting that version/edition of the book. I don't know how widely available it is. It'..."

I think with translations, especially with books that have had different translations, we should accept any translation. I also think that we should generally not discuss the translation (style, flow of the narrative etc.) of these books, but rather their contents, as it is the latter which has generally caused controversial translated books to be banned/challenged. And, also, with controversial translated books, some individuals might want to (or be able to) read the book in the original language.


message 22: by Ruby (new)

Ruby Emam (goodreadscomruby_emam) Thanks for your interest in reading and discussing The Little Black Fish. I guess I couldn't make a strong statement about my book. The list of 10 banned books in children's category was announced for this month and The Little Black Fish was not included. I will try again for the next round.


message 23: by Sheila (new)

Sheila Ruby, are YOU the author of The Little Black Fish?


message 24: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 485 comments Sheila wrote: "Ruby, are YOU the author of The Little Black Fish?"

I think that she did the most recent translation available. It was originally written in Persian.


message 25: by Ruby (new)

Ruby Emam (goodreadscomruby_emam) Hi, Sheila. I have translated the book into English. The author is Samad Beh-Rang. I have created a website in his honor www.samadbehrang.com (which I am trying to update periodically) as there is so much to say about him and his works.


message 26: by Ruby (last edited Apr 20, 2010 11:16AM) (new)

Ruby Emam (goodreadscomruby_emam) There are other translations to The Little Black Fish.
Authorities can find so many reasons for banning books. This is a political book and as the author's viewpoints are mostly written in codes or a language that could not be detected by the authorities and could reach to many readers, a person's understanding of those underlying messages becomes very essential. Therefore I can only talk about my book and reiterate here that my version is accurate and holds true to the original text, as it was intended by the author.


message 27: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (maybedog) | 623 comments Mod
Ruby, I very much want to read The Little Black Fish, in particular your version. I choose the books by random number generator so there's no preferential treatment just because I like someone. :) So each month there will be an equal chance that book will be included. But folks are always welcome to discuss any book they like in the general book discussion section. There's already a topic for this book there so have at it!


back to top