THE DEFENDANT: The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold
THE VERDICT: The Lovely Bones comes in at #74 on The ALA’s Most Frequently Challenged Books list for 2000-2009 and has been challenged in some US schools and libraries.
THE CHARGES: The challenges surrounding this book are centered on the “mature” content, sexual content, the “graphic” nature of the book, or religious viewpoint (as much of the book takes place in heaven). However, one crusade to ban the book in a Massachusetts school took issue with the book’s lack of clear-cut morality and ideal behavior on behalf of the protagonists. As the mother behind the challenge put it, “I read it cover to cover. They say this book is about healing and hope, which it’s not. The guy committing the crime doesn’t get punished. The mom runs away from her family” (qtd in “Parent wants book out of library“). The school in question kept the book but required a permission slip from students before getting access to it. This was still not enough for those upset by the book’s content who continued to lobby for its removal.
Stumbled upon this article from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund today. It discusses the growing presence of (and demand for) comic books in libraries; how the medium is beginning to be taken more seriously; and why some libraries (especially school libraries) are hesitant, either out of a dismissal of the genre as vapid and pulpy or out of fear of frequent challenges to comic books and graphic novels.
“What’s the difference?”
“One is my name; the other is not.”
– Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data correcting a woman who mispronounced his name
I’ve posted before about languages and the politics therein, as banning or not speaking languages has a similar although magnified impact as banning or not reading books. It is a loss of knowledge, ideas, and history, whether an intentional destruction or an accidental loss. Recently, I happened to stumble upon a blog dedicated to telling personal or family stories about reclaiming one’s name in the wake of colonialism and it seemed relevant, if more personal. The Reclaim Your Name blog features stories from people, be they Irish, Inuit, Maori, or Navajo, about their experiences with personal or family names being changed, assigned, anglicized, or standardized and their attempts to reclaim them. You can add your own story to the blog. Read More…
Hayhay, mín frændur! In honor of The Da Vinci Code turning 10 this year, I thought I’d do something fun today and give you guys a puzzle. I took the liberty of making some anagrams of famous authors, historical figures, and fictional characters. Bonus points to whoever can solve all thirteen of them. Also, it’s FridayReads! What are you reading this weekend? Read More…
REPEAT OFFENDER: The Da Vinci Code (2006)
THE REVIEW: Back in high school, I eagerly looked forward to this film (despite or perhaps encouraged by the presence of protesters in my sleepy little corner of the world). However, the longer I sat there in the theatre the more frustrated I became, as much of the film read as one big apology letter.