Banned Books discussion


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message 1: by Alex (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:38AM) (new)

Alex (alexinmadison) | 9 comments A Wrinkle In Time was "The Book" for me. You know the one? The first book you read and realize that reading can be a totally fabulous experience? My parents drown us in books as kids. Our house even had a library - not just bookshelves in the living room. But it wasn't until A Wrinkle In Time that I became a self-propelled (and pretty voracious) reader. I literally can't think of any reason this book would be banned. Anyone have any insight?

message 2: by Nated (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:38AM) (new)

Nated Doherty | 24 comments Whatever it was, it probably had something to do with the ability to inspire that you found. I think banning is generally exercised, consciously or not, in an effort to control the audience, to keep them from being inspired in one way or another. It's closing doors for people, or trying to tell them they're dangerous.

I suppose it could have been the anti-totalitarian section towards the end, where they fight that 'central intelligence' thing, that thinks for all the people on the plane, or something, I'm thinking of the right book, right?

message 3: by Alex (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:39AM) (new)

Alex (alexinmadison) | 9 comments Right... "IT" is the centralized brain that thinks for the entire planet. Regardless, to ban a fantasy book for fear that some children might actually GET the analogy is pretty lame. I read this when I was, like, 11 or 12. I took it at face value, not understanding that some people write in metaphor.

message 4: by Carly (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:40AM) (new)

Carly I highly doubt a book could be banned in America for being "anti-totalitarian." In public school, most of the required reading is anti-totalitarian. Take, for example 1984, Brave New World, Anthem by Ayn Rand, and Night by Elie Wiesel, all of which I read in Texan public schools. Actually A Wrinkle in Time was challenged for the same reason as the Harry Potter books: a positive portrayal of witchcraft. One complaint referred to some senseless crap about anti-Christian sentiments, I believe. Weird considering that Madeline L'Engle is in that exclusive canon of great Christian children's writers which seems to only include her and C.S. Lewis.

message 5: by Trevor (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:41AM) (new)

Trevor I've never read this particular book, but recently my daughters have just finished reading the last of the Potter Books. I started out reading them to my daughters when they were too young to read them to themselves and now my daughters read them to me. Yes, it's all be very cute. Now, the other day they asked me why we started reading them in the first place.

Well, the answer was that I saw a news report saying that Fundamentalist Christians in the US wanted this book banned - and I could think of no higher recommendation for reading any book than that.

Of course,this isn't a fool proof method of choosing books to read - sometimes (as hard as it sounds to believe this) even Fundamentalist Christians select books to ban that aren't worth reading. But then, even the best of critics recommend rubbish books some of the time.

message 6: by Carly (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:43AM) (new)

Carly Makes sense. Usually the first criteria for banning a book in the US has nothing to do with how offensive the material is; it usually has more to do with how popular the book is among the nation's youth. In the view of your average fundamentalist, any book that children get excited about is bound to contain some sinful, seductive ideas. Which is sometimes true & accounts for those rubbish books on the banned list. But personally, I can't wait to have kids so I can recommend banned books to them.

message 7: by Alex (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:43AM) (new)

Alex (alexinmadison) | 9 comments Well said Carly.

message 8: by Mark (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:48AM) (new)

Mark Stone (electricpaladin) | 1 comments I think it's a little hysterical to say that fundamentalists want to ban a book because it's good or popular. The reasons that A Wrinkle in Time was banned seem clear to me.

1. Witchraft - a character named Mrs. Which is portrayed sympathetically. Magic is present and benevolent.

2. Religion - spiritual themes not exclusively Christian are presented. For example, Jesus is listed as one of many guides who fought to keep Earth free from the darkness. He is described as peer to Buddha, Gandhi, Bach, Einstein and Euclid, some of whom are (gasp!) scientists and religious figures from other faiths.

What makes Christians banning A Wrinkle in Time absurd is that L'Engle is a liberal Christian theologian. She has written more Christian philosophy than she has fantasy. Of course, the sorts of Christians who go about banning books aren't the liberal types.

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that A Wrinkle in Time was banned for specific and predictable reasons, not because it is anti-authoritarian or exciting.

message 9: by Wendy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:49AM) (new)

Wendy Wanderer | 5 comments While Wrinkle In Time may have been "banned" for specific reasons there's no doubt that many books with similar themes are completely ignored. While being anti-authoritarian or exciting or even popular may not be the actual reason for "banning" a book certainly most people don't bother looking beyond the simplistic reason some authority or another has given for "banning" a book and simply accept as fact that the book is somehow a danger to their own faith or the faith of their children.

If I was worried about my own children, or the children of fellow believers being exposed to things in opposition to my specific faith I would take the time to review the books available to my children that contain these themes and not just raise a fuss over a very few. I have often been vaguely amused to see the children of fundamentalist friends reading vampire themed books without a word from mom and dad yet they are not allowed to read Harry Potter... I guess these days if James Dobson doesn't send out an email about it some parents don't feel the need to look into their children's bookshelves.

message 10: by Carly (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:49AM) (new)

Carly I never suggested that certain books were banned just because they're popular & exciting. However, popularity is usually the first criteria for a book to be banned. Thousands upon thousands of books present a positive portrayal of witchcraft, but these books aren't even examined unless they are widely read & therefore pose a threat. I really think that A Wrinkle in Time was picked out of a crowd of similar books because it was a book that lots of children enjoyed. Like Wendy suggested, no one's going out of their way to ban the thousands of trashy vampire books because they simply don't have the millions of readers that Harry Potter does.

message 11: by Alex (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:49AM) (new)

Alex (alexinmadison) | 9 comments "If I was worried about my own children, or the children of fellow believers being exposed to things in opposition to my specific faith I would take the time to review the books available to my children that contain these themes and not just raise a fuss over a very few."

Oh my god, what a novel idea! LOL!!!

Seriously, this is my same argument with people who want to censor television. For godsake, the damn thing has an off button, a channel changer, AND most of them have parental controls. WTF?

I always knew what my son was reading, watching, or surfing. He never suffered for it and I felt as though I had a good handle on what he was being exposed to and could mitigate anything I found "bad" either through banning it from his media diet or explaining the "bad" bits to him. When are people going to take responsibility for raising their own children and stop trying to regulate it through government control.

message 12: by Wendy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:50AM) (new)

Wendy Wanderer | 5 comments "I always knew what my son was reading, watching, or surfing. He never suffered for it and I felt as though I had a good handle on what he was being exposed to and could mitigate anything I found "bad" either through banning it from his media diet or explaining the "bad" bits to him."

:) Like you I always know what they're reading, watching etc. I would rather discuss something than ban it (for the most part) When I was concerned something might be over their head I sometimes read a book first - same with movies they desperately wanted to see but I wasn't sure of.

As a parent I figure if my beliefs are that strong then I will have successfully laid a foundation for my children that can be questioned without being shattered.

message 13: by Nikki (new)

Nikki Boisture | 8 comments Trevor-I started reading Harry Potter for the exact same reason! That's so funny. My son is only 18 months, but he's heard all of the Harry Potter books read by Jim Dale on audiobook. I'm hoping he become a little bit of the fanatic that I am. I told my husband he can try to make him into the Pittsburgh Steelers fanatic, and I get to try to make him a Harry Potter fanatic....we'll have to see if he takes to either :)

I also agree with Carly that these books are not banned exclusively because they are popular. But because they are popular AND have supposedly dangerous themes. If Harry Potter had just sold a handful of copies in the UK and had never been brought to the US, no one would have tried to ban them. There are a lot of fantasy books out there that sell poorly which are ignored by the fundamentalist regime.

message 14: by Trevor (last edited May 03, 2008 04:37AM) (new)

Trevor Hi Nikki, My daughters and I moved onto Harry Potter after we'd read all of the Roald Dahl books. Now, there are books that someone should have thought about banning. There are witches, magic and rivers of chocolate and they are incredibly popular.

Perhaps the Baptists might like to think about banning these books - surely that sort of thing eventually leads to dancing.

Dahl is incredibly dangerous to young minds because he is brilliantly funny - and nothing is more subversive than humour.

I could not commend him more highly for your son. I've no idea what the Pittsburgh Steelers are, but I assume they are involved in some sort of sport, rather than people who once worked in industries that have now probably been moved to third world countries. All the same, I could not be more sincere in hoping you're more successful than your husband in your endeavours to direct your son's future fanaticisms.

message 15: by Nikki (new)

Nikki Boisture | 8 comments Hi Trevor-
Yes, the Pittsburgh Steelers are an American Football team. I think I'm winning the war with my son so far is waaay more into looking at books than watching sports on television. It's funny, although I really enjoy this age (18 months), I just can't WAIT for him to grow up and be a little boy who can really understand what I'm reading to him.

I loved Roald Dahl as a child, and that is definitely on the list to read to him. In fact, I can just take a look at any challenged books list and get great ideas of books we should read together!

message 16: by Debbie (new)

Debbie I do believe that many of Dahl's books have appeared on banned book lists.

I think people more often raise a fuss about the best-sellers simply because more people know about them.

message 17: by Wes, Grand Poobah, Ministry of Controversial Materials (new)

Wes (pricerightbooks) | 33 comments Mod
I just read A Wrinkle in Time ... fun book
sorry not really contributing to conversation

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