"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Banned Books reinstated...sort of

The Republic, Missouri school board reversed their decision to ban Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five...sort of, according to Husna Haq for the Christian Science Monitor's blog this week.

Instead of an outright ban, the school library will have a secured area.  If parents want their teen to read the book, they can come to the high school library and check it out for them. "Is it the ultimate irony? 'Slaughterhouse Five,' Kurt Vonnegut's novel about life in a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp, will now reside in a 'literary gulag' in a Missouri high school," says Haq.

For obvious reasons this sort of plan will not work to promote the freedom to read.  What high school student wants to have his/her parent come to school to check out a book? And won't this policy of holding books "behind bars" at school make it easier to challenge and ban books in the future?

Two humorous things have occurred because of the ban and now the "sort of" reversal:
1. Book holds for Slaughterhouse Five at the local public library are way up (over 30.)  Nothing like a little "dirt" to make people want to read the book to find out what all the fuss is about. Ha!
2. The Kurt Vonnegut Foundation donated a copy of the book to up to 150 students in the school who requested it. Ha-ha! The School Board responded to one person's request to ban a book and the whole process has made more people than ever want to read it.
According to Julia Whitehead [Director of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Foundation], Vonnegut may have responded best to this sort of book banning when he said: 'All these people talk so eloquently about getting back to good old-fashioned values...and I say let's get back to the good old-fashioned First Amendment of the good old-fashioned Constitution of the United States—and to hell with the censors!  Give me knowledge or give me death!'    ---ACLU Webpage

What do you think of this situation? How do you think it will work holding controversial books in a "literary gulag (a prison camp)?"

Participate in my Banned Books Week Hop Giveaway here.


  1. Ashley loves Vonnegut. I'm giggling about the sudden popularity of the book. It serves them right!!

  2. It is an amusing irony that the attempt to ban a book simply increases the interest in that book. The bigger irony is that these violations of the First Amendment are occurring in the schools, which is the place where students are taught about the Constitution and all that it stands for.

    Donna @ The Happy Booker

  3. Wanted to thank you for your post.

    The American Library Association website for banned/challenged books--short list for classics only--includes To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee; 1984, by George Orwell; A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway; Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell; and Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron. The first four were required reading in my school days.

    A commenter on Murder She Writes, however, took me aback by mentioning the Bible, which of course is banned in some places.

  4. How crazy! The idea of banning/restricting books is so ridiculous. I can understand a parent feeling like their child may not be ready for certain topics yet, but that's something they need to have an open conversation with their child about. It shouldn't be the school's or government's responsibility.

    A lot of the classics that are on the challenged classics list on ALA's website are books that were required reading when I was in school - I didn't like ALL of them, but at least I had the opportunity to read them. I can't imagine not being allowed to read something just because someone else disagreed with something in it.

  5. It saddens me that so many challenged/banned books deal with issues like the Holocaust. People need to know about history! I can't believe Anne Frank's diary is on this list! It's insane.


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