Boxall's 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die discussion

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message 1: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) Is there a competing list?

And pardon my ignorance, but who (what body or panel) decided on these 1,001 particularly?

I would be interested in the 1,001 books a Christian should read before they die (perhaps just 1,000 since every Christian should at a minimum read the Bible).

I apologize if this is not the appropriate place to post this topic. I'm just curious. I'm not trying to offend anyone.

Thanks for your time,


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

If you have the book a bunch of literature professors & writers picked the literature.

I am sure you could find a list of books a Christian should read before you die or a top hundred or more. There are a bunch of lists online outside of GR.

Check with some of the Christian groups here in GR's I bet someone has come up with a list.

message 3: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) Thanks very much for the reply. I will keep looking. And reading, of course. :)

message 4: by Linda (new)

Linda Jon, perhaps another approach to your list of books Christians should read is, books on the 1001 list that Christians SHOULDN'T read! Some may consider me close-minded, or call this censorship, but we are to guard our hearts and minds, and think on things that are "true, honorable, right, pure, lovely," etc. (Phil. 4:8). And there are definitely books on that list that contain garbage that I don't want going into my mind.
I would have sent you this message directly, but it wouldn't go through for some reason.

message 5: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) That's my life verse and I try to live by it as much as possible, including in my reading choices.

I hate to censor others though, but I definitely censor what I take in. "Garbage in, garbage out" I always say.

Sorry to hear you couldn't get a message through to me. I don't have my profile marked as private so it shouldn't have been a problem.

On a different note, a friend of mine started a list at listopia that might help with the thousand books Christian should read in addition to the Bible. Not scientific by any means, but it's a start.

Thanks for the comments.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

If you want to work on the 1001 to read before you die & want anyone in the group to tell you if any are have something that might be unclean/chaste ect I am sure we would all love to help. I've unfortunitly picked up a few that deeply bothered me.

message 7: by Linda (new)

Linda That's a good idea, Emilee. Of course different things bother/offend different people, ie. graphic violence, sexual content, racism, profanity, etc.
So far the only two books that I have read that had offensive material have been: "Lady Chatterley's Lover" which was an assigned book in a college lit. class (too sexually graphic for me) and "The Cider House Rules" which ironically I am reading right now, but it contains description of a pornographic photo, an image which I wish never entered my mind! It also graphically describes the abortion process, which is disturbing.
I'll go check out the list of Christian books at Listopia, thanks

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Linda: I am finishing Cider HOuse Rules and I had to put it down when I got to chapter two because of the "porno photo" and some of the other graphics. I picked it back up because I have this thing about not finishing books. I have to say it's a good book but some things are a bit offensive to myself like the picture-Irving is very descriptive writer I wish he hadn't of been descriptive with that picture!

It's nice to know some of these things before hand. But sometimes we don't find out till we read them!

message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Glad for the warnings you post, thanks! I don't need any graphic photos or to read anything too shocking. I also believe in "garbage in, garbage out". I had planned to read Cider House Rules but now will try to avoid it. I also loathed Lady Chatterly's Lover, what gross trash. Some of the things that pass for art and literature now are just trash and I don't need them. In college we had to read garbage and paint garbage but now I get to chose what to read and what to look at. I like to read mostly pleasant stuff. I have noticed there is lots of stuff on this list I would never bother with. I average 60 books a year and there is tons of great stuff to read. If a book bothers me I put it down. Except I did just read Follow the River and tried 3 times to put it down but was unable to. However, its miles better than Lady Chatterly's Lover which is not worth looking at IMO.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks for the warning Alice.

We should call this the warning thread!

message 11: by Christina Stind (new)

Christina Stind | 183 comments I don't think there's any books on this list that Christians shouldn't read. These books have all been picked out because they have been important and/or influenced people and culture. Even though you don't agree with the author's view or the ethics put forward in these books, you can still learn a great deal about the world and the culture, we all are a part of.
I believe in being open-minded and exploring as much as possible and getting different inputs and this is why, I really like this list because it points me to books I wouldn't have discovered otherwise.
Incidently, The Cider House Rules is a favourite book of mine and even though it's been a long time since I read it the last time, I can't recall anything offensive about it.

message 12: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) Christina,

I appreciate your insights and opinion. I used to hold to the "open-minded and exploring" culture when I was college age and didn't have children or much of faith in my "faith."

However, there comes a point when I decided the garbage and filth wasn't worth it. What was I learning about? Was I expanding my horizons or just digging myself deeper into mess of the world. I should aspire to be of this world, but not in it. It's a difficult tightwire to tread.

I still read and watch things I probably shouldn't. As my pastor recently mentioned in a sermon, if you wouldn't let a child watch it, you shouldn't be watching it (or reading it) either.

I also don't want to go around with blinders on in the world. I need to recognize and be cognizant of the suffering of others and be an example and a witness to a better way.

This is just my opinion, and my own struggle on the journey that is my walk with Jesus. I'm not perfect, so I stumble. He helps me back up and provides the light to keep me on the path.


message 13: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) Need to fix part of a quote:

I'm to be in the world, but not of it (I had it backwards in my previous posting).

Some relevant verses:

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.

-- Romans 12:2 (NIV)

They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.

-- John 17:16,18 (NIV)

message 14: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca Christina,

I agree completely. I'm probably not as religious as most people reading this particular thread, but I don't think any book or movie or discussion topic should be considered forbidden. Life is full of dichotomies. To understand good, you need to understand evil.

message 15: by Dianna (last edited Nov 06, 2008 02:52PM) (new)

Dianna | 82 comments This is an interesting subject. I am usually pretty liberal but one book I probably won't ever read is A Clockwork Orange because of the violence. I didn't find any redeming qualities in the movie.

I am a teacher and there are a couple of books I had to read when I was getting my certification that I would not recommend for students; The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier and Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers. (These are not on the list though.)

One book I did love was The Giver by Lois Lowry. Some people have had trouble with it because of some of the themes but I thought it was wonderful to teach children about the dangers of totalitarianism.

A series that I do not like is the Goosebumps Series. I have trouble deciding if those books have redeming value because they did cause a lot of student to pick up a book when they may not have read one otherwise.

I probably err on the side of being too liberal because I think kids need to learn to think for themselves.

message 16: by Christina Stind (new)

Christina Stind | 183 comments Actually, A Clockwork Orange discusses what it takes to be good - can you be a good man if you don't choose it but are forced to only do good acts by becoming violently ill otherwise? It's not violence just for violence's sake but has a purpose.

And good point, mlady_rebecca - I agree. And often theologians and philosophers explain why there are evil in the world if God is good by saying that the evil is needed for us to see the good...

I'm not that religions either - or at all - but I still believe that there are no books that a Christian shouldn't read - or that a buddhist, a muslim, a Jew ... shouldn't read...

message 17: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Well since I believe the bible is a work of fiction rife with violence, sexuality, and some pretty good stories that have been adapted over the years by many authors on the Good Reads list, I would suggest that you not worry about all of us. Books are like tampons - not every one fits everyone.

message 18: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca Actually, A Clockwork Orange discusses what it takes to be good - can you be a good man if you don't choose it but are forced to only do good acts by becoming violently ill otherwise?

Sounds intriguing. Might have to push that book further up in my "to read" list. I like dystopias. Thanks, Christina.

Stephanie "Jedigal" (jedigal) | 271 comments Good discussion.

I totally understand and sympathize with the idea that a person might want to consider the spiritual impact that their reading is having on them. Although I am totally not RELIGIOUS, I do consider myself spiritual, and I have noticed that when I go long periods where my reading is totally dominated by (I don't have the right word here, so bear with me) "secular" material, that I feel less connected with my (again, I'm not happy with word choice) "higher power".

So I think prioritizing a given amount (how much is everyone's personal choice) of "spiritual" material into your reading schedule makes sense.

OTOH, I also think that there is nothing that "shouldn't" be read. One of the main reasons I read is to open my awareness to other thoughts and experiences and viewpoints. Just because I am aware of them doesn't mean I agree with them.

Of course, for the best "awareness" of a viewpoint, one actually has to at least TRY to empathize with it, and see how it could seem reasonable. I see how that could LOOK like a slippery slope to some people, that could be spiritually "dangerous", but I trust in my conscience and heart and mind and ability to discriminate and choose appropriate action.

To me the benefits of learning more about the world outside my narrow personal life vastly outweigh the negatives. Just one small example, in todays' USA, it seems obviously important for us all to understand other cultures and how our culture and our actions look to them. Or for a person contemplating a divorce, how important could it be to try to understand the viewpoint of their spouse? (Many other interpersonal conflicts can be inserted here.) Okay that was 2 examples. I feel my reading expands my mind and heart and consciousness, and increases my ability to consider the possible thoughts, feelings and motivations of others.

I personally feel that "better-than-thou" type judgementalism can result from keeping too insular. This is why many people get annoyed by some religious folks. Judgemental talk doesn't always jive with the well-publicized tenet of tolerance and genuine brother-love for the fellow man. How can you love the fellow man if you cannot understand them?

Thankfully my religious friends are all open-minded, loving individuals, and do not give me that judgemental vibe at all. In fact they are some of the most open-minded well-educated people I know, and I feel privileged to call them friends.

Okay, sorry for running on. I feel passionately on all this, which had previously made me avoid posting anything in this thread, but Christina et al have inspired me to stop lurking in the background.

message 20: by Laura (last edited Jan 19, 2009 11:32AM) (new)

Laura (laurita) | 44 comments I've also been lurking around this thread for a while and I generally avoid anything political or religious on this site unless it is within the context of fiction. You guys have been so respectful and mature about the topic, however, that I'm compelled to partake. I'm not religious - my core belief is that life is about growth and experience so I, of course, believe that to live fully, one must experience as much as possible, and that even bad things have a measure of worth for their promotion of personal change and growth. I am curious, though, where people draw the line. Hear me out.

I saw something, a horrid science experiment from the forties involving a dog (trust me, you don't want details) that for the first time, I wish I could un-see. I have watched some incredibly graphic movies and always force myself to endure them for the sake of giving them the analysis I feel they are due, so I'm not feint of heart in the least. I have never until now wanted to go back in time to before an experience and choose another path. This makes me believe that everyone has their level of tolerance for bad taste/offensive material/whatever you want to call it .

This is a little bit devil's advocate, but who is to say that those Christian readers that don't want to have a pornographic image described to them simply have drawn the line in the sand a little closer than others. I just finished reading A Clockwork Orange and I think it is a very valuable book, especially for what it has to say about Christianity (it is a not unpopular belief that the book was a Christian propaganda, interestingly enough), but I look away during the rape scenes in the movie every time I watch it. I've seen it, it turns my stomach, I don't care to see it anymore.

My question then, is what's the difference between me and someone who finds a sexually explicit photograph offensive? I'm not trying to get into the whole define pornography argument; I'm just curious.

message 21: by Charity (new)

Charity (charityross) I'm just going to throw out this line from the book I'm reading:

"If you can't love crudeness, how can you truly love mankind?"

message 22: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca Laura, I think we all have lines in the sand. I guess I don't like the idea of other people or groups of people defining that line for me.

The idea that "this book is not good for Christians to read" inspires the opposite reaction in me. It makes me want to read it just because I've been told I shouldn't read it. It's the banning books reaction.

If your religion or philosophy or what-have-you can't stand up to being challenged, then what use is it to begin with?

message 23: by Linda (last edited Nov 08, 2008 04:33PM) (new)

Linda I agree with Laura that, regardless of whether one is religious or not, each individual chooses (and has the right to) where he/she will or will not draw the line regarding what he/she will expose himself to. For some it is reading or viewing violent acts, for others it is graphic sex, etc. I am sure there are some people who place no limits on themselves as to what they will read or watch. I hold to the "GIGO" concept for myself that Jon mentioned earlier. However, what one person may call "garbage" may not be considered so by another person. M'lday, I think there is a difference between alerting people about a book that may be offensive and telling them they shouldn't read it. Then they can make the decision for themselves and not be blind-sighted when that graphic scene suddenly appears. Reading about different views and perspectives can challenge and strengthen one's faith and prepare them to better defend their beliefs. It's more an issue of the negative impression or taste the literature (or movie) leaves with me that I want to avoid.
Now, I don't like the taste of beer - it leaves a bad taste in my mouth - so why would I choose to drink it when there are other things to drink that I enjoy? However, if you like beer, I'm not going to tell you not to drink it. But if you've never tasted it before, I'll tell you beforehand that it tastes nasty - at least IMHO!

message 24: by Rod (last edited Nov 09, 2008 03:14AM) (new)

Rod | 6 comments You can add The Story of O to the list of books Christians won't want to read. It's just erotica.

But understand that this is a secular list. It lists books that are significant in some way, in any way. Some of these books (The Story of O) are significant only because they are erotica that has entered into the mainstream of literature.

I am a member of Christian Classics Ethereal Library ( which consists solely of Christian literature. There are discussion groups there, as well. I belong to both because I desire spiritual growth but I also enjoy worldly literature. I once, but no longer, read things such as The Story of O - and I have read that particular book - feeling that I needed to experience the genre. I have since observed that some people think we should all experience illicit drugs or illict sex for the same reason. I find that argument distasteful at the least, so I no longer poison my mind with 'literature' whose primary purpose is to stir sexual feelings. As the cliche goes, "Lord, don't lead me into temptation; I can find it all by myself!" But leaving the erotica aside, there is a lot of good literature out there that I enjoy, so here I am.

message 25: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) Rod,

Thank you for the link to the Christian Classics Ethereal Library. I look forward to reviewing it.

And thanks to everyone else for your opinions. I will continue to be my own best censor, with God's help, of things that are distasteful, deceptive and pure temptation.

My intent with this thread was just to gather information in the hopes of finding an alternative non-secular listing for my own edification and spiritual growth.

Thanks again, everyone, for a great discussion.


Stephanie "Jedigal" (jedigal) | 271 comments More good discussion. I agree with the concept that we all have our own line as to what is offensive and pointless. I also agree with all who made the point that we should all have the opportunity to draw our own line. I am definitely one who is offended by outwardly imposed censorship. For those who have drawn their lines rather closer than others of us, they definitely need more information. Fortunately, quite a bit of information seems to be easily available with the internet. I hope that the folks looking for it are able to find it easily.

For those who are interested in reading from the 1001 books list, but want to avoid certain things, maybe you can start a thread with an obvious title - "List Books that MAY be offensive" or something. As we all read books from the list we can post anything questionable we notice that wouldn't necessarily have been obvious. For instance, I assume that anyone reading a summary of Clockwork Orange would have known it contained offensive violence. But the porn photo in "Cider House" may have been more obscured.

Happily for me, I have a fairly loose line, b/c TOO much information in advance drives me crazy. I like for books (and especially movies) to each be an experience that exposes (no irony intended w/word choice) itself to me as I go along. Often the portions of a work that are offensive to many, are not intended to be gratuitous, but are placed just so in order to focus the reader's thinking/feelings/attention. This makes it nice to have books on my TBR shelf. When I buy them I probably know more about them, but if they are shelved for long enough, I forget, and then it can be a fresh experience.

Just like to say that I appreciate the respectful tone here, and am glad to see folks speak up - liberal and conservative line drawers alike. Hurray for kindness and tolerance!

message 27: by Becky (new)

Becky (behop31) | 1 comments I am really bothered by book banning. I noticed that The Giver (Lowry) is on a banned book list, and I cannot for the life of me see the point in that. So many people want to ban what kids read, and I guess, as a parent, I can understand wanting to shelter your child from truly offensive material. If we are teaching our children and ourselves what we will do in the event we find ourselves in a position that makes us uncomfortable, then we must trust that we are doing what we can.

We have free agency (in my belief) and have the right to choose. If we limit everything by banning books and such, are we not eliminating that free will? We need to be able to choose for ourselves (once we are able to distinguish good from evil) to progress. Sure, it would be great to have a little insight before we pick up a book (like a rating system) to be able to make a more informed choice.

Last year there was an email flying around my school (I am a teacher) regarding The Golden Compass and the rest of the books in that series warning us that they are really awful and sacraligious. Our community wanted the books removed from the library. I would hate to think of the uproar an athesist might cause were they to come in demanding The Chronicles of Narnia be removed. We need to really read the Bible, and not just the parts we like, and remember Christ's warnings to the hypocrites!

message 28: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) I don't like censorhip or book banning. I do not want to limit (or force limits) on other people.

I do want to censor myself (and if I still had young children to raise censor them as well).

That's why I love GoodReads so much. I can read reviews of books before I attempt them. I'll even read the ones with spoilers just so I don't thrust myself into something that will truly offend me.

I have avoided The Golden Compass to date. I will eventually read it (perhaps when I've made it through my to-read shelf). I want to familiarize myself with the arguments atheists use in fiction. Since it was written for young readers, if I still had young children, I would have read it before my children did or with them, so I could point out and discuss those areas that seemed to clash with our Christian worldview.

message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

I concur with Stephanie & Charity.

"Just like to say that I appreciate the respectful tone here, and am glad to see folks speak up - liberal and conservative line drawers alike. Hurray for kindness and tolerance!"

Very true.

Jon: I've heard mixed about the Golden Compass. I try to read almost anything suggested to me. I will give it a try. I did see the movie and it was clean not offensive. But granted I was also folding clothes while I watched it so I know that I did miss some parts of the movie.

message 30: by Kristen (new)

Kristen (ravenskya) I agree with most everything that has been said here. I have a very loose line in the sand because I like knowing the driving forces of other people and exposing myself to everything in order to make the best decisions in life based off of a wide variety of knowledge and viewpoints. Since my favorite genra is Horror, I pretty much have to leave my line in the sand a bit more lose than most. But as an adoptive mother of two little boys who have already had a rough start in life I really have to censor what they are exposed to. So as a Mom, yes I get upset when there are profanities and sexual innuendo in what ought to be chilren's movies and books. I was very upset at the movie Transformers for being PG13 at all... in my mind a movie made from a children's cartoon should be acessable to children.

FYI on the Golden Compass - the movie cut out all of the atheist bits from what I have been told. My kids have seen it and I've watched most of it and we've never picked up on anything that offended us. However, from what I understand the books are very anti-religious as a whole (I'm just going from what I've heard because I haven't read them) and the fear was that kids would watch the movie then parents would buy them the books without knowing the agenda behind them. Right now the books are a bit above the reading level of my children but before they do pick them up, I'll be sure to read them first. And don't forget, people were upset about the Harry Potter series as well because they viewed the magic as witchcraft.

Most of what I have my kids reading are historical or educational in nature... ex the step in to reading series for my little one, and the older one is reading the "Dear America" series.

As far as myself - I read everything and tend to only find myself offended by gratuitous (sp?) anything, be it violence, sex, or profanity. I hate when authors or film makers throw garbage into what I consume just because they can. I'm okay with just about anything providing it serves a purpose in the story.

For example - one of the most disturbing books I've ever read was "The Girl Next Door" it was truly horrific - and it was based on a true story... but everything that was in there served a purpose. It didn't make the story any easier to make it through, but it all belonged... versus some writers just throw in sex and violence for the shock factor... I'm not so interested in reading those books.

message 31: by Christina Stind (new)

Christina Stind | 183 comments As others have stated, I'm impressed with how respectful this discussion is. And I find it very interesting.

However, when people suggest that Harry Potter or The Golden Compas should be banned, I get scared. I also get scared when someone whats a list over books, Christians as a group shouldn't read.
I believe that everybody has a line in the sand and that it is up to each individual where they want to put the line. But I don't think you can say about any book that it shouldn't be read by a Christian person. And if somebody claim this, I believe it to be censorship and a way of keeping something from these people.
As far as I see it, often banned books have something interesting to tell and apparently, somebody wants to keep that from people.

Books are a way of learning, of educating yourself. Of course we all listen to advice on what to read and what not to read - but if you take away all books that have anything, someone might call offensive in them, not many books are left.
I'm still confused that one of the books discussed in this thread is John Irving's 'The Cider House Rules'. Now I could understand that some people might not like it because of the abortion theme but to pass this excellent book up because of some pornographic image somewhere in it - a pornographic image that I have no recollection of, even though I have read the book several times ... maybe I ought to read it again ...

Of course, if you have small children, you should censor them. But that starts already with the News - they are often too scary for little kids. When my daughter gets older, I will of course not allow her to read anything - but I plan on reading Tolkien, Harry Potter, Narnia, The Golden Compas etc to her or recommend them to her when she has the appropriate age.

And Becky - good point about free will! And about book banning. I saw somewher that 'And Tango makes three' ( a book about gay penguins adopting ) was banned and that surprised me in some ways especially since I am sad that it hasn't been translated (yet) so I could read it to my daughter - it sounds like such a cool book and a great book for children to learn what it is to be gay and to be respectful of it.

message 32: by Rod (new)

Rod | 6 comments As with all things, there are abuses. When I found out my children's teachers were reading Harry Potter to them (the first book had recently come out) I read it myself because of the controversy. Now I am a big Harry Potter fan! And certainly some people have very different standards about what should make a book unworthy to be read. But a discussion, reasoned and reasonable, should never be discouraged. Let the people decide for themselves what to read. As for children, parents should have the right to weigh in on books they feel are inappropriate for a school library. It's certainly understandable that any book touching cultural hot-spots such as homosexuality would be questionable for school libraries. It's not appropriate for a school to promote gay rights any more than it should be promoting a religious viewpoint.

message 33: by Linda (new)

Linda I agree with the point Jon made: I don't believe books should be banned to public access, but I do practice censorship for my children, and impose some limits on myself. As others have said, I try to read most things before allowing my kids to read it, especially if there has been any controversy surrounding it. This summer my daughter wanted to start the Twilight books, so I bought it and read it before giving it to her - she's 15; I just wanted to be sure there wasn't anything overly graphic, especially sexual in nature, in the book. She has since read the whole series. And since our family is "religious," I
avoid books that denigrate religion, church, or God. That doesn't mean that I will only read Christian authors or works, or that a book can't have a character that is irreligious. It's more about what agenda or themes the book appears to be promoting.

I have wondered about The Giver as well; I'm actually teaching it for a homeschool Jr. High class. It has some themes that I think are too mature for elem. grades - euthanasia and repression of sexual feelings for example - but it has a lot of good issues for discussion, like choice/free will, individuality, etc.

message 34: by Charity (new)

Charity (charityross) It's not appropriate for a school to promote gay rights any more than it should be promoting a religious viewpoint.

Rod, I don't believe I understand what you mean by this. Can you clarify?

message 35: by Rod (last edited Nov 12, 2008 04:52PM) (new)

Rod | 6 comments I don't think anyone questions that religious instruction in a public school is out of place. The subject of gay rights is at least as sensitive a topic as religion. The current situation in California should be ample illustration of that. The books that have been discussed as being controversial in a school setting are all supporting the gay lifestyle. Is there any school library that would carry a book sharply critical of homosexuality? Certainly not. In such a case, you would see book banning. Neither then, should books be supported that support gay marriage, etc. At least half the population does not support gay rights; Prop 8 passed in California, the most liberal state in the country. We should be respectful of the feelings of that portion of the population and not attempt to convert the children of that population to a different viewpoint through literature.

message 36: by Charity (new)

Charity (charityross) I think you are confusing information with advocacy. And frankly, I think if more information were available, bigotry and intolerance wouldn't run so rampant.

message 37: by Kristen (new)

Kristen (ravenskya) I personally think that libraries should carry books of all types, including the Bible and the Koran and any other religious text, as well as pro and anti gay/abortion/insert controvercial topic here books... I draw the line with assigned reading being questionable. I wish that schools had the funding to be able to categorize different books and mark them as questionable in the computers so that if your child is not allowed to read religious material, it would come up in the system and not allow the child to check it out. However since the schools in our area are lucky to even have books, that's a pipe dream.

message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

I completely agree with you Kristen. Libraries should carry all types of books.

I don't believe in book banning but yes I do censor a lot of the books my children read. I don't want them reading some things that are too adult for them or violent. I figure when they are old enough to handle it I can let up. I do the same with TV & Movies. We have to protect them a little.

message 39: by H.J. (new)

H.J. Swinford (hayleejalyn) I agree with a certain level of control over the content of books we expose children to. School libraries especially should be careful in the books, religious, political or otherwise, they offer to children. However, no matter what we do, no matter what the schools do, those children actively live in the world--one that is very open to discussing issues and we can hardly help that children will be exposed to certain things. The biggest influence a parent can have is not by shutting these things out of the kids' exposure, but by communicating with them and helping them to understand what issues mean and why they are right or wrong. Maybe instead of sheltering our kids from everything we need to help in educating them. After all, if the parents don't discuss these things with kids and help them to learn it in a Christian, caring way they will most likely just learn about it at school when they meet Joe Bobby who has two daddies.

It is obviously an issue that needs to be handled with care but I don't think avoiding issues is the best way to guide our kids through a world surrounded by them.

message 40: by Dianna (new)

Dianna | 82 comments I don't think the Giver would be taught to elementary school students. When I did my student teaching I taught 8th graders with the book.

message 41: by Dianna (new)

Dianna | 82 comments I have a question about the book on gay penguins that adopt. This may sound stupid but is it a true story? If it is based on real facts then I don't see a problem with it in the schools to teach that homosexuality exists throughout the animal kingdom. If, however, it is fiction then I think it should probably not be in the schools because it is kind of putting forth a world view that may be contrary to Christians.

Do you all understand what I mean?

message 42: by Kevin (new)

Kevin I know there have been many comments about how respectful this conversation has been, but I have to add mine too. I don't know if you all understand just how impressive it is to see people with different view points carry on such a peaceful and meaningful discussion.
I do have to agree with what Christina said. I don't really understand what the problem is with the Golden Compass. I'm pretty socially conservative, but it just seems like a nice young adult novel to me.

message 43: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Scott (jdscott50) And Tango Makes Three is based on a true story.

We should have public access to a variety of material, but it's the parents decision on what the child will read. A library doesn't act as the parent.

A good parent will review anything that the child is reading. It makes the parent more involved.

A library can't anticipate sensitivity over certain viewpoints and shouldn't make that decision for the public. I've had someone complain that an adult fiction book has swear words in it. It's not for us to rate and censor the books, but the public to rate and censor for themselves.

Rod, just on that issue of lifestyle/anti homosexual material. It's difficult because one is supporting someone's lifestyle. It doesn't say this is good or bad, but these people exist.

Anti says they have some kind of disease and it demeans them.

message 44: by H.J. (new)

H.J. Swinford (hayleejalyn) Kevin - The Golden Compass it written as a parallel to atheism, much in the way the Chronicles of Narnia are written as a parallel to Christianity. The story itself can simply be looked at as a young adult novel, but because of the reason behind its publication most people stay away from it. I intend to read them soon and I'm very conservative in my beliefs.

Many people criticize him for written "such a terrible thing" for kids to read, but he's just sharing his beliefs. I think as long as we read it knowing what it is and, once again, are able to discuss it and understand it, there's absolutely nothing wrong with reading it.

message 45: by Kristen (new)

Kristen (ravenskya) When I was little and read the Chronicals of Narnia... probably about age 10-12... I never would have known that they were Christian based books. I was probably in my 20's before I had even heard that. I am kind of assuming that the Golden Compass is the same way, since kids tend to take everything they read as literal and can very rarely read into allegory etc. So in reality unless they are blatantly atheist (again I've never read the Golden Compass Series) stating things like "God is Dead" or "There is no God" then I don't know that the age group that this was written for would even pick up on the Atheist undertones.

message 46: by Dianna (new)

Dianna | 82 comments Jeff, I agree with you about libraries but there is a distinction between school libraries and public libraries in my mind. I definitely think And Tango Makes Three should be available at the public library though I think, depending on the views of the surrounding public, it may not be. I tried to find the book Lolita at my public library and I could not find it.

School libraries, on the other hand, are not as easily subject to scrutiny or supervision by parents. I can see how a person with the conservative Christian ideology would be very disturbed if his/her child came home with that book. Teachers with a liberal mindset may think it is fine... (I would not have a problem with it personally but I would not think it should be in the schools because I would not want to offend someone who may have a problem with it.) But that does bring up an interesting thought. Should The Chronicles of Narnia and The Golden Compass be in the school library since they put forth a certain "religious" view? I really don't know. Some people seem to like being offended and it wouldn't matter what one did; they would sill complain. So it is a difficult thing for administrators to know where to draw the line, isn't it.

Stephanie "Jedigal" (jedigal) | 271 comments Stepping aside from the "school library" vs "public library" ideas for a sec....

Dianna's comment
"I would not have a problem with it personally but I would not think it should be in the schools because I would not want to offend someone who may have a problem with it."
brought to mind this thought.

If we voluntary censor out everything that might be offensive to someone - what are we left with? I'm imagining a pretty vanilla world. (No offense to the delightful flavor of vanilla, just an expression.) The older I get, the more that I can see that various things are, or could be, offensive to SOMEone.

For example, many people know the Seinfeld episode featuring the "Soup Nazi". And we are probably familiar with other uses of this - ____ Nazi to mean someone that is militant and extreme about something. Well, ONE of my Jewish friends is VERY offended by that use of the word "Nazi". She thinks it waters down and makes less horrible the actual history of the Nazis and what they did to her people. Of course, none of my other Jewish friends seem to object to this.

So, should the adaptation of the word "Nazi" for such purposes be censored? And I am personally that words like "orientated" (instead of oriented) and "irregardless" (instead of regardless) have become so accepted that they are found in some English dictionaries. I understand that language evolves, but how fast should we accept evolutions that initially began b/c people use our language incorrectly.

I understand that those examples may seem trivial, compared to censoring works involving homosexual lifestyles, or abortion, etc. But I think that it is all to the point. Whether something is mildly offensive or greatly offensive - it might make us think. Or make other people think.

Of course, I have to say that I love variety and diversity. We moved into the city limits of St. Louis a few years ago partially b/c it offered a more diverse community that in the suburbs. I feel that my life is enriched by all the different people and outlooks that I am exposed to.

Back to the topic of kids:
Is part of the desire to specifically shield children b/c parents these days don't have the time to open dialogs with their children? Or are they really afraid that if their children are exposed to a different view of something that they won't be able to stop their children from adopting that view?

message 48: by Laura (new)

Laura (laurita) | 44 comments What about the idea that the ability to judge with full knowledge between good and evil and choose good is what makes a Christian a Christian. If we remove the option of choice by censoring what we find evil from others, we remove the option for them to choose 'good'. Once man received knowledge, he received the burden of his choices.

Even the bible itself is fraught with violence, sexual acts unacceptable by today's standards, and people profiting by the deception of others. Regardless of this, though, it would be a shame to turn away from such a fascinating cultural, linguistic, and historical artifact, whether you agree with it or not. In spite of the fact that I am not a Christian, I would encourage my children to read it, and as many other books of religious and cultural merit, so that they could make educated choices about their values and beliefs.

message 49: by Beth (new)

Beth I have nothing to add to this conversation at this point, but thank you to everyone who has contributed to this thread. It is one of the most fascinating talk threads I’ve encountered in a long time and I hope it continues, because, wow.

I am especially appreciative of the comments directed towards censorship and children. I don’t have children right now but hope to start a family within the next year or two and these are all very interesting points that I’d never thought of but realize I will have to put some serious thought into in the near future. So thanks again, all!

message 50: by Kristen (new)

Kristen (ravenskya) Stephanie:

To answer your question about children, being a parent in this day and age is an insane experience. No generation of children until this one has been exposed to so much at such a young age. Through TV, Radio, Music, etc, they are exposed to sex, violence, foul language from almost infancy.

What parent here has had to explain sex to their child? You know the dreaded "birds and bees" talk? None of the parents I know, because my 7 year old knows all about it from TV and the kids at school. We've never had "the talk" granted I DID have to talk to him to get the warped perspective out of his mind... but it disturbed me that at such a young age he's talking about rapes, child molestation etc. as if it were nothing... just normal dinner conversation.

My grandparent's generation was lucky to have a handful of books to read, my parent's generation DID have TV, but everything was an agenda to promote better living (see Lassie or Andy Griffith) my generation was the start of the violence in cartoons... GI Joe, Transformers... Kids movies were filled with profanity - Goonies, Monster Squad... some had nudity - Beast Master. Now the cartoons are all about defying authority, they are filled with questionable language and humor. As a parent what do you do? Sure you can turn the TV off... but how do you keep them from it when they watch the same shows at school, or even worse at a friends house?

I can't watch a football game with my husband and boys without being pounded with Viagra commercials, and Cialis, and that new car rental commercial that all but shows the couple going at it in the hotel room. Meanwhile I am getting nasty note after nasty note from my kids teachers because they use words like "Sucks" in class... these are the same words that are in the cartoons on cartoon network. (See Ed, Edd and Eddie to be really appalled).

Am I a Bible Thumping religious freak? No, I'm just a parent that feels like I'm fighting a losing battle to try to keep my kids halfway decent. My 10 year old told me that kids in his class had sex already... my 7 year old told me that he's seen drugs... and we're NOT in a bad neigborhood.

To get back to your question, I guess yes, I am trying to shelter them a bit... because there are some things that their minds just aren't ready to grasp yet. And you can talk until you are blue in the face... but a 10 year old will always believe their friends over you. Do I believe that a 7 year old can fully grasp sex as it is meant to be? No, not really... the same as I know for a FACT that they have no true concept of death, so all of the violence they see means entirely different things to them than to an adult who can comprehend the finality of it all.

Ugh... getting off the soap box now.

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Boxall's 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

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