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Read a banned book

Twigged to this a little late, but apparently it’s Banned Books Week until the 4th. Now of course, one does not need a formally dedicated week in which to read a banned book. But it’s always good to support the efforts of the American Library Association in bringing to light all of the attempts at censorship that — amazingly, considering it’s 2008 — still go on whenever someone’s precious ideology is offended.

So celebrate by reading a banned book. One that’s on the list of most frequently challenged titles is, of course, Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, which is about six million and three times better than the movie made of it. (So if you saw and disliked the movie, that shouldn’t steer you away from giving the book a shot. Just sayin’.) And its sequels only ramp up the challenges to religion. There’s also Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War, which had the good fortune to be made into an excellent movie, and both versions of which paint a less than flattering picture of the culture within Catholic schools.

Comments

  1. says

    Yes, I just wanted to put in my two cents that the Golden Compass book was much better than the movie and that the other two books in the series were equally as good. I highly suggest everyone read them.

  2. says

    Over here in Malaysia we have banned movies too. We _do_ have banned books but they tend to be on the Salman Rushie end of the spectrum. Dawkins for example is fine, and so is Rowling and Pullman and even Sagan and Douglas Adams. My suspicion is that the people doing the moral judgments (THIS SHALL NOT PASS!!!! *ban*) don’t read very much… I say this cause our banned movies list is kind of absurd. Daredevil was not shown here, for example, because of the name. Apparently it would have been a bad influence. Similarly Hellboy had it’s name changed to Super Sapiens, but the sequel’s named was unedited which gives me hope that someone somewhere is growing up.

  3. Barnetto says

    And technically, the bible doesn’t appear to be much challenged/banned here in the US:www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/oif/bannedbooksweek/bbwlists/TOP_100_in_2000_2007.pdfDoesn’t make the top 100. So, might just be your christian persecution complex.

  4. says

    Jesus Christ, how big of a shameless, arrogant moron do you have to be to suggest the Bible with a straight face. What chrome-plated ‘nads on the guy. Christians – ~80%Other Religions – ~8%Non-theists – ~12%”OMG teh elitist, Hollywood liburl athiezts is oprezing meh1111″I know I shouldn’t use ad hominem attacks. And I know I should avoid feeding the trolls. Also, I don’t want to come down with a case of SIWOTI Syndrome but Lawd almighty, I’m only human.

  5. Martin says

    Well, I imagine if you traveled, say, Yemen, yeah, the Bible would be pretty high on their banned books list. But over here, where there’s at least one copy in nearly every home, and they’re left laying around to be picked up for free in hotel rooms, college campuses, and laundromats, I don’t see the Bible as having a huge suppression problem.But while I wouldn’t call it a banned book, I can say that, from my own days as a bookstore employee and from talking to many other bookseller friends over the years, it is, for some reason, the most shoplifted.

  6. says

    Adrael:Jesus Christ, how big of a shameless, arrogant moron do you have to be to suggest the Bible with a straight face.In one episode of The Atheist Experience, Matt issued a challenge, saying that if you think the Bible is suitable material for children, he’d come over and read a Bible story of his choice to your young children.If a book is going to be banned for sex or violence, then the Bible should be banned for the same reasons.

  7. says

    The Bible suitable reading material for children? Yea sure it is, if you take out all the endless tales of savage battles and horrible descriptions of Hell and other such stories. Yea Dawkins and Sagan are books that are not blasphemous in a very literal sense unlike Salman Rushdie who well, has a fatwa against him. Yet another case of organised religion suppressing free will and thought! I have heard a rumour about the Da Vinci code being banned in a few Middle Eastern countries, wonder if that is true?

  8. says

    arensb: “If a book is going to be banned for sex or violence, then the Bible should be banned for the same reasons.“Nah, I don’t really believe in banning books. Just put it in the cramped little room at the back of the store. You know, the one with the beads/saloon doors and the awful lighting. Oh, and card awful lighting. Oh, and card people before you sell it to them… then hit them with the palm of your hand in the forehead and say “you could’ve had a Carl Sagan.”P.S.: -C, yeah, Golden Compass was THAT bad. It felt like it was narrated by an ADHD-riddled 6-year-old on a sugar high: “Ok so there’s this girl Lyra and she goes on an adventure with her daemon that’s like an animal spirit and get the alethiometer which is the golden compass and you ask it questions and she has to fight the Magisterium ’cause they’re all evil and want to kill daemons so she asks the witches to help them and they fight and stuff… also there’s some armored bears.”

  9. says

    barnetto said:And technically, the bible doesn’t appear to be much challenged/banned here in the USYeah, see, I figured that you, given your obviously superior intellects, would realise there’s more to the world than just the US. I thought it was just fundy Christians who thought that way.And then more of you complain about the Bible’s horrible stories. You should be HAPPY about that – it stretches the envelope in a way that many of the banned books that you’re promoting here do. Try to follow your own arguments, people. It might do you some good.

  10. says

    I actually think the Bible should be required reading just becuase of the million references in Western literature to its content. Other reasons would be that I think it would be nice if the people promoting it stopped for a second to see what’s actually in it.And, finally, I can’t help but be hopeful that the more familiar with the content believers become, the more likely some will be to question whether they can actually believe it.

  11. says

    And, finally, I can’t help but be hopeful that the more familiar with the content believers become, the more likely some will be to question whether they can actually believe it.That’s the effect it had on me Tracieh!

  12. says

    Yeah, see, I figured that you, given your obviously superior intellects, would realise there’s more to the world than just the US.But not really to Banned Books Week, which is sponsored by the American Library Association and is based around books that have been challenged in the United States. Other than that, though, you’re totally right.

  13. Barnetto says

    Yeah, see, I figured that you, given your obviously superior intellects, would realise there’s more to the world than just the US. I thought it was just fundy Christians who thought that way.Here is the stated purpose of banned book week from the ALA: “BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them.”Your statement makes no sense to me. Should I read Alice in Wonderland because China banned it in 1931? Should I read the Da Vinci code because it was banned in Lebanon? The God of Small Things, banned in India? Each banning is due to cultural sensitivities in that particular country. Whether something is unorthodox or unpopular depends on where one lives. I live in the USA. I have had a great deal of exposure to Christianity, Christian stories through years of Sunday school and church, and I still have my own copy of the bible. To read a book that truly speaks to the spirit and purpose of banned book week, it does me no good (and does you no good) to read a book that has been banned in another country when the ideas presented in it are foreign to them but completely commonplace to us. BBW is a celebration of our freedoms that we can read any book that any person can write, especially those books containing ideas that others seek to squelch. So, rho, it sounds like if you really want to celebrate BBW with the bible (I’m surprised you haven’t read it already), you should move to Iran.

  14. says

    Banned books week is lots of fun. My mom used to be a librarian, so, one Saturnalia I got her a “Support Freedom, Read a Banned Book” T-shirt, which listed boatloads of banned books.She wears it every year during banned books week.

  15. says

    tracieh said:“I actually think the Bible should be required reading just becuase of the million references in Western literature to its content.”Maybe not required reading but sure teaching of the more popular references. I don’t want to have to say this to my kid:”Johnny, what that section means is that the woman Aholibah wanted sex partners who had penises as big as donkeys’, and who could ejaculate like horses.”

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