Just to “bookend” Banned Books Week, I decided to read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. This book is a dark vision of a dystopian future where everyone is conditioned for their specific slot in life. It starts out simply giving detailed descriptions of this world and the people that live in it, and I loved it.
Then, it kind of veered off track. Some of the “civilized” people find a “savage” living out on a reservation, and bring him back to civilization and parade him around at parties. There’s a Matrix-style “confrontation” (meaning one guy asks a lot of questions and the other guy explains it, for pages and pages), and then it ends, rather abruptly.
Overall, it was very creative, but anti-climactic. It also has some sex stuff in it, so I understand why people try to keep this book out of schools. I liked the world Huxley created, but I feel like he under-utilized it; it became a vehicle for an overly simple story. On the Clever Chick Scale this gets a “somewhat disappointing, but I’m glad I read it”.
Banned Books Week runs from September 24th to October 1st this year. You may have noticed my most recent post was a review of To Kill a Mockingbird, which is one of the most banned books of all time, which I even discussed in the post. Was this all a part of some subtle plan of mine to raise awareness about the dangers of censorship in our society? I wish. I can barely plan dinner from day to day lately, much less picking up a book WEEKS in advance of an event. But let’s all pretend that was on purpose, mmkay?
Banned Books Week is a celebration of our right to read, and to bring awareness to books that are challenged in our school systems. On their official website they list the ten most challenged books of 2010. One of them was Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich. I have read that book, and it’s fantastic. The excuses people use for challenging some of these books are so specious it’s insulting, however number 10 on the list is the Twilight series, so I can’t dismiss all the challenges.
Here are a few links for your edification:
I honestly don’t understand the reasoning behind some of these challenges. The Great Gatsby is a terrible book, but that doesn’t mean other people shouldn’t have access to it. By the way, I cannot honestly believe that anyone thinks The Great Gatsby is the best novel of the 20th century. Have these people actually read beyond the dust jacket??
Anyway, as I said in my blog post the other day, the people who want to ban books often miss the point of the actual book. To Kill a Mockingbird is a record of how black people were actually treated in the deep south during that time period, and the whole book is dedicated to showing this as injustice. Why would anyone, especially black people, want to ban it? Unfortunately, that was the case: “After unsuccessfully trying to ban Lee’s novel, three black parents resigned from the township human relations advisory council.”
I wish people could look beyond the surface of the novel, and actually understand what it’s about. It’s unfortunate that people lash out in their ignorance. For that reason alone, I can’t imagine ever trying to ban a book.
Let’s all defy the people who would reduce our choice of reading material. Yes, even you Twi-hards. Let’s all read and buy and love books that other people think we aren’t smart enough or mature enough to read. Forget those people! Do what you want! (But, still do what I say, obviously). Read lots of books! BOOKS ARE THE GREATEST!!