Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ban these books!

Happy Banned Books Week, everyone! I just looked at a list of "most commonly challenged" books in the U.S. and see some great work I've read over the years, such as Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Young Huck uses the "n" word about 200 times, which irritated me on second reading--but the kid's voice was that of the 1850s and bore no malice. We need to read this book to help us understand how far our great country has come.

Also on the list is Bless Me, Ultima by Rodolfo Anaya, which I'd never heard of until I moved to the southwest. The eponymous Ultima may or may not be a witch, which apparently had some readers' knickers in a twist. So what? It's a touching story.

Then there are To Kill a Mockingbird, a beautiful book that's only objectionable to people who hate justice; Lady Chatterly's Lover, of which I avidly read select passages as a teenager; the likes of Hemingway, King, Angelou, Sinclair, Capote, Morrison--so many scurrilous scribes--little wonder I have grown up to be so depraved.

Perhaps it's the combined influence of all these bounders that influenced my writing a banned book of my own. Did you know that When Pigs Fly was banned in Alamogordo, New Mexico, the same city that burned Harry Potter and other un-Christian books in 2000? In '07 the city's Friends of the Library first invited me to do a reading, then disinvited me because my antagonist (you know, the bad guy) lacked moral character.

In one of my frequently recurring daydreams, enemies of iniquity light a bonfire made exclusively of copies of When Pigs Fly and Getting Lucky--all having been purchased at list price, of course.

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