Banned Books Week

My favorite piece on this subject this week is here.

Book Ban1

Looking back, I recall a few odd moments of individual efforts to limit access to books. These efforts fell far short of anything remotely approaching a total ban.

When I was a freshman in high school, there was a move afoot to remove The Valley of the Dolls, by Jacqueline Susann, from the high school library. I was reading a lot of science fiction then and had not paid much attention to the Hollywood tragedy-type stories. After the parental dust-up, the book was kept at the librarian’s desk and you had to ask for it to check it out. Fortunately, there was no such rule at the public library, where all of Susann’s work was readily available on the shelf. I read everything she wrote after that. I do not think that was the result that the parent-banners had in mind. Bwahahahaha.

Also in high school, I read a lot of paperback Shell Scott mysteries that my step-father left lying around. My mother, more than once, complained that the books were completely inappropriate for me. I suppose so – they were hard-boiled mysteries populated with violence and sex. She needn’t have worried – sex scenes have always been boring fill that I skip right over. The only sex I am interested in is my own, and I am not telling you about it. It is a mystery to me that anyone cares about reading those scenes.

In my early 30’s, a friend of mine announced that she was supporting a church-led ban on required reading of The Diary of Anne Frank. She had joined a non-denominational Evangelical church. She did this primarily, in my un-Christian, judgmental opinion, to annoy her Catholic mother-in-law. She explained that Anne Frank was unsuitable reading for Christian children because at some point in the book, Anne opined that “all religions were pretty much the same. “ This was, I was informed, an unforgivable affront to Christians because they were NOTHING like the [ahem] Jews. It is not even possible to have a conversation with someone whose thought process works this way. We eventually took different paths in life.

My path now is to finalize my Ancestry book this weekend. I have puttered with this off and on for the last two years and I would like to get it printed in time for Christmas.

Then I am back to my 1920’s cozy mystery. Sadly, the protagonist will not be able to enjoy a glass of wine with me. I will have to drink one for her, as well.

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