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Banned book week.

So, banned book week is upon us once again (and I only noticed because Yahoo posted something about the searches on banned books).

The American Library Association has a list of the 100 most challenge books over the previous decade (1990-2000). I have read a lot of them (many of the ones I skipped are very esoteric...like books to tell a girl about menarche...Not something I need do). I am of strong opinions. For one thing, there is no book on this list that I can understand banning. There's no A Pedophile's Guide; How to exploit children without risk or The United States Government Computer Assessment: A guide to users with Top Secret or higher security clearances and easily guess passwords. (You know GWB's password is sparky or laura.) There's nothing in the list that will definately get someone hurt or killed. So, what's the big deal, aside from religion, which I admittedly have no respect for?

However, there are a lot of books on the list that I think really suck, for one reason or another. They are boring, or tedious, or poorly written. For instance, I think Toni Morrison is an awful writer (I don't care if she won a Nobel for Lit...that is more a political than qualitive prize anyway, IMO). I have read The Bluest Eye and Beloved both. And while I recognize they address topics that many consider important, they are terribly terribly boring.

Similarly, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is just bad poetry. In fact, most modern poets are bad. But Angelou is the most challenged, for some reason. And that one I really don't understand. She has nothing to say that others haven't said in a better, more challenging, and/or more inspiring way.

The only book on the list I find offensive is Sex by Madonna. Why? Because I have never before seen someone go so far out of their way to make the topic of sex...well, unfun. And I find that offensive.

But the vast majority of the books on this list were written for young adults. And contained topics that religious zealots find problematic, like sex, and puberty, and being happy. You know, things you go to Hell for. So read a banned book. It does the mind good.