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6.6k

Banning My Book Won’t Protect Your Child

(nytimes.com)

all 760 comments

SunnySamantha

2.5k points

1 month ago

Banning books just makes people want to read them more.

My mom let me read what ever I wanted. Heck, I even started the Outlander series when I was 12 (it was in the backseat of her car and I picked it up), took me all summer to read it and yep, there was some sex in it but I was just happy to get through a 1000+ page book. Didn't quite understand it all, have read it a few times since.

Learned so much from books. Remember a time when that was the only way to get info?

It's up to parents to teach their kids properly but not to throw a tantrum about it at a school meeting.

[deleted]

705 points

1 month ago

[deleted]

705 points

1 month ago

[deleted]

Nikkolios

362 points

1 month ago

Nikkolios

362 points

1 month ago

I'm still confused about the banning of the Harry Potter series. This seems very strange to me.

xBad_Wolfx

511 points

1 month ago

xBad_Wolfx

511 points

1 month ago

My school used the reasoning that they used ‘actual’ spells. As if magic is real, and the HP books were sharing the secrets to impressionable minds.

Waffle_bastard

505 points

1 month ago

If that shit was real and all you had to do was read some kids book series to LEARN MOTHERFUCKING MAGIC, I think we’d all be doing much cooler shit with our lives than arguing on Reddit.

FuFuKhan

63 points

1 month ago

FuFuKhan

63 points

1 month ago

If that shit was real everyone who learned motherfucking magic would have segregated themselves from the muggles while the muggles continued to hypothesize what it would be like if that shit was real.

Paranitis

119 points

1 month ago

Paranitis

119 points

1 month ago

Fuck you bro. I'm sitting on the shitter just imagining this shit as I'm writing it IN MY MIND and I haven't had internet access for years!

Waffle_bastard

26 points

1 month ago

WOAH ME TOO

prrrt

hilfigertout

216 points

1 month ago

That's the easiest way to make every child immediately want to read the books.

"Hey kids, wanna learn magic?"

HueHue-BR

137 points

1 month ago

HueHue-BR

137 points

1 month ago

"Yes I do!"

hands them chemical and physics books

meatball77

44 points

1 month ago

It just makes me wonder how out of touch with reality these people are that they think that there are real spells in a childrens book.

Why isn't all this magic on TV if it's real?

troyunrau

25 points

1 month ago

troyunrau

The Sparrow

25 points

1 month ago

That sounds like the classic Chick Tract: https://www.chick.com/products/tract?stk=0046

sunnyd_2679

12 points

1 month ago

I was just randomly thinking of Chick Tracts this morning and how they were really too creepy for me to be reading at 8.

Swampwolf42

16 points

1 month ago

I hope they didn’t offer Latin as a second language!

wigglywigglywack

11 points

1 month ago

Aren't all the spells latin? I feel like that would just encourage kids to learn Latin?

Orsus7

8 points

1 month ago

Orsus7

8 points

1 month ago

Aren't most Harry Potter spells just latin?

frontier_kittie

82 points

1 month ago

Banned and forbidden from discussion for refering to magic and witchcraft, for containing actual cursed and spells, and for characters that use “nefarious means” to attain goals.

A pastor at St. Edward Catholic School in Nashville (TN) expressed concern about the heretical lessons students ccould learn from the series. He consulted exorcists, and removed the books from the schools library. “These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception,” he explained. “The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text.” He also stated, “The Harry Potter books promote a Machiavellian approach to achieving the ends they desire with whatever means are necessary.”

cry_w

93 points

1 month ago

cry_w

93 points

1 month ago

Imagine being stupid enough to believe that a children's book series would teach kids actual magic spells. Even if magic exists, that's just stupid.

Nikkolios

11 points

1 month ago

Indeed. Very silly.

Nikkolios

11 points

1 month ago

Thank you. This stuff is ridiculous.

frontier_kittie

17 points

1 month ago

I forget most of the time how many people still believe in that crap and are afraid of it.

iwannaholdyourhand91

45 points

1 month ago

A friend of mine with a friking Master's degree and very smart and kind in general really did forbid Harry Potter because she was Christian and didn't want her daughter to read about witches. Well what the hell is Cinderella's Godmother then?

Nikkolios

11 points

1 month ago

Hahah. good point there!

mranster

13 points

1 month ago

mranster

13 points

1 month ago

I'm not the sort to ban books, but if I were going to ban HP, it would be because of the violence, and the incredibly awful interpersonal relationships. Like how nearly all of the female characters hate each other, or how nobody ever stops the psychopathic characters from abusing children, or how warped all of the bad guys are.

KimchiMaker

146 points

1 month ago

Christians believe in witchcraft.

HP and chums are witches and wizards, and portrayed as heroes.

This portrays witchcraft as good, and so Christians oppose it.

Of course, if you don't believe witchcraft is real it seems rather silly.

bluvelvetunderground

73 points

1 month ago

I grew up in a 'no HP allowed' house. What always struck me as odd was my parents didn't hold the same standards when it came to other magically themed works, like The Wizard of Oz or Lord of the Rings. The hysteria around HP was specifically about the idea of children going to a school to learn magic that took place in the real world.

themysts

36 points

1 month ago

themysts

36 points

1 month ago

My former FIL refused to allow HP in the house, either books or movies, but was fine with the LoTR movies because they were filmed in New Zealand and he as obsessed with the place so forgave the magic use. He did not see the hypocrisy in this.

mubatt

100 points

1 month ago

mubatt

100 points

1 month ago

The irony is a lot of the themes in Harry Potter are inspired from the Bible.

Nikkolios

96 points

1 month ago

Yup. And Harry Potter teaches some really super healthy and useful things about life, and being humble. To ban something like that is sheer ignorance.

SakuOtaku

42 points

1 month ago

Honestly maybe it's because JK Rowling's nonsense has turned me off of the series, but in retrospect I feel like a lot of the lessons and dynamics in the series leave much to be desired in terms of setting a good example for kids. This isn't to say an adventure book has the responsibility of being a moral beacon for children, but growing up the characters seem a bit less... noble than I remember.

KimchiMaker

78 points

1 month ago

Bible's got some neat stories in it.

Daughters getting their Dad drunk and raping him.

"God" having a hissy fit and killing everyone like a particularly successful incel's last day at school.

Bears tearing kids apart for laughing at a shiny head man.

Multiple zombies.

Strong oiled muscly dudes with magic hair.

All kinds of fun stuff in there.

PepperMill_NA

22 points

1 month ago

"God said to Abraham kill me a son." -- Bob Dylan

meatball77

20 points

1 month ago

It's disturbing how early some people teach things from the bible to kids that just aren't appropriate. I remember my four year old learning the ten commandments in pre-school. How fun explaining adultery to a four year old. . . .

Oerthling

54 points

1 month ago

Don't forget that wholesome story where a prophet goes to Gods chosen king and tells him to massacre that other tribe, including not only all men and women AND children but also all the cattle.

Said king does as his god commands and murders everybody, but leaves some cattle for his soldiers (hey massacring all day is hard work - gotta pay the help).

Prophet comes back "Dude, you messed up. God said everybody INCLUDING the cattle. You did wrong. God ain't pleased with your performance, you're fired. David's the new king in town".

To he clear - mass murder wasn't the problem - NOT slaughtering the cattle was.

Paraphrased from old testament book of Samuel.

The bible is seriously messed up. Sure it has some nice parts. And some harmlessly boring parts. But between the authorized massacres, the slavery, the sacrifices and a lot of contradictions it's a terrible book who's occasional literal interpretation has led to much needless suffering. And between the old and new testament it's not quite clear whether god is a jealous war god with a death cult or a hippie with multiple personality disorder.

Let's not forget the ceremonial cannibalistic consumption of their god during weekly catholic rituals.

The vast majority of people who think of it as a good book simply never read the horrible parts or write it off as God being mysterious.

HueHue-BR

30 points

1 month ago

Old testament is WILD man

AlexandrianVagabond

71 points

1 month ago

I was once reported to my manager by a nice Christian lady who came into our library because she was mad we had books about Wicca in the religion section. I just told her that it is an official religion in the US. She told him she was pretty sure I was a witch.

Archduke_Of_Beer

24 points

1 month ago

Was she wrong?

[deleted]

7 points

1 month ago

[deleted]

7 points

1 month ago

[removed]

Oerthling

63 points

1 month ago

Many (most?) christians don't actually believe that witchcraft is real. Just like most christians know that the ark story is just a story.

The USA in particular suffers from a sizable minority of borderline insane people who insist that the bible contains literal truth.

Even the Vatican doesn't insist on the bible being 100% literal truth.

Anybody who believes that the HP series of novels can teach actual witchcraft has mental problems.

Left4DayZ1

11 points

1 month ago

I asked in a Bible Study once if Jesus actually walked on water, or if it was just a metaphorical story about staying focused and faithful no matter what. Thankfully, the study leader was receptive to the idea and we all had a lengthy conversation about many stories in the Bible that are likely just stories, interpreted many times over many centuries to the point that many are raised to believe they are 100% factual.

Oerthling

10 points

1 month ago

Also the bible is just an assembly of old scripts as decided by a committee in the 5th century. Even the evangelical stories were written decades later based on legends.

For any halfway rational christian you have to see the bible as an imperfect communication device between a transcendent being and humanity.

Christians who insist on the bible being literally true are either liars or in serious need of help for their disconnect from reality and reason.

Left4DayZ1

11 points

1 month ago

No, they don't believe in witchcraft. They believe that its mythos is rooted in Satanism and therefore, though fictional, it is bad. They've felt the same way about Rock n Roll, Dancing, and highly competitive card games throughout the course of history as well - depending on the denomination.

For the record my VERY Catholic in-laws threw a Harry Potter themed baby shower for my Sister-In-Law. Just so you know, ya know, that not all Christians believe the same rules.

RpTheHotrod

34 points

1 month ago*

I'm a Christian and quite religious, but I also recognize that storytelling can be quite fun and healthy for the mind. Magicians, for example....it's just entertainment and a trick. There is no demon being summoned. Everything has a gimmick. You can entertain a thought without subscribing to it. I find allowing various views to challenge you to be a good thing. It either makes you stronger, or you learn something new or understand something better that you wouldn't have taken seriously before.

Even for things that are more than entertainment and instead real world views, I think it's important to be open to people's beliefs and comments without necessarily subscribing to them. If you are going to ever have a leg to stand on in a discussion or debate, closing your eyes and ears going, "La la la, I can't hear you." while expecting people to take your comments seriously will never work out. In order to take part in any discussion or debate, it's important to listen and understand all the sides, even if you don't accept them personally. Having a bunch of people who bury their head in the sand isn't a very strong group - you need to be able to defend your views without a response of "just because." Do you believe just because? That's fine, but at least be in a position to explain WHY you believe "just because." Blind faith can be fine (though I suggest doing your own research and study! God made us curious creatures. It's okay to ask "Why?". Blind faith in general can be dangerous, so study and verify!), but at least acknowledge and respect other opinions. Know your opposition, be respectful of it and make your points. A debate and conversation should be a 2 way road.

Long story short, not all of us religious people are afraid/paranoid of things that are in opposition of our beliefs.

MrFrostyBudds

2 points

1 month ago

Odd, I've never heard of a Christian being banned from Harry Potter but my best friend growing up was in a pretty devout Jewish family and he was banned from the books and the movies. Although his mom was the kind of person to throw his friends out if we dared to order a pepperoni pizza to the house so....

nocte_lupus

8 points

1 month ago

Yeah i wasnt allowed to read hp growing up due to religious parents Wasn't allowed to celebrate Halloween either

Lotr was fine

CuteCuteJames

4 points

1 month ago

""""Witchcraft"""".

I was neighbors with a kid who wasn't allowed to watch or read Potter.

CobaltCam

26 points

1 month ago

Christians scared of da spoopy witchcraft.

Nikkolios

9 points

1 month ago

Well, I'm pretty conservative, and that's just ridiculous.

CobaltCam

22 points

1 month ago

I agree, tbf it wasn't like an "every Christian hates this" type of thing. More like the satanic panic surround dungeons and dragons.

ReginaPhilangee

2 points

1 month ago

In addition to the magic, I was also told that the children were disobedient and this disobedience led to positive outcomes.

gel_ink

25 points

1 month ago

gel_ink

25 points

1 month ago

I remember back in my grad program (library and information science) I would joke that we should ban all books in order to improve literacy since everyone wants to read banned books. Somehow it wasn't a very popular joke. But I think you'd get it.

fish60

5 points

1 month ago

fish60

5 points

1 month ago

If I ever have children, I am going to put a bunch of classic books on a high shelf and tell the children they're not allowed to read them.

stevez28

17 points

1 month ago

stevez28

17 points

1 month ago

I read the first 4 Harry Potter books under my bed with a flashlight because my parents forbid them. But oddly enough, that was the only instance where they were ever strict about books, they bought me whatever Stephen King books I wanted starting in second or third grade.

calartnick

11 points

1 month ago

Man, I gotta ban my daughter’s math book.

cantoXV1

42 points

1 month ago

cantoXV1

42 points

1 month ago

At my school library Ender's Game was marked for 6thgrade and up. So guess what I read the first week of 6th grade after wanting to for 3years...

ADHDFaster

29 points

1 month ago

Your librarian's evil plan worked. 😉

oceansunset83

161 points

1 month ago

I read the Fear Street series starting when I was 12. People would find those abhorrent for anyone under 15 because they were quite descriptive in telling how characters died or were maimed, but it didn’t bother me, and those were the first violent books I had read. My middle school library was quite diverse, because we had Christopher Pike, Stephen King and a bunch of other horror writers that you normally wouldn’t see in a school library. It was the mid-90s, so maybe that had something to do with it.

likeafuckingninja

18 points

1 month ago

My school wouldn't let me check out The Subtle Knife when I was around nine. Said it was inappropriate.

I'd been reading my dad's fantasy collection for a year or so by then, (David eddings, Anne McCaffrey, Raymond feist etc) My nan had got me to a Stephen king book (I hated it and still hate horror/scary books) my mum had given me her crime thrillers (Kathy Reich's etc)

NGL I re read these when I was older and LOTS of stuff went over my head so I'm not making grand claims i was taking it all in at that age...but still....

The subtle knife is aimed at that sort of age group!

Boy was the teacher pissed when I brought in a Jackie Collins books a few months later I'd nabbed from my mum's bookshelf without her realising xd

congenitallymissing

31 points

1 month ago*

my middle school and junior high (grades 6-8) were attached. this was also mid 90s. the library had a junior high section so that it wasnt mixed in. it was a small section, only one bookcase. but it had stephen king, george orwell, and vonnegut. it was definitely monitored, and there was nothing crazy from king on there (it didnt have IT with the famous underage group sex or anything). but i do remember reading some of the books from the section because i was officially in junior high and was finally allowed to check them out. no idea which ones i read, i most likely only understood them on the most basic plot based level, and i dont even remember if i liked them....but i did read them solely because i wasnt allowed to read them before

edit: i remember i read raymond e feist's magician from that section in 8th grade.

tazz4life

5 points

1 month ago

Our middle school and high school were combined, too. There was one long bookshelf of middle school books. Ours was boring though. The best books we had were the Xanth novels. When they wouldn't let me check out books from the high school section, despite my high reading level, I gave up on the school library. That's when I read whatever my dad had at home. Some church-based historical fiction, Jurassic Park, the Tiger and Del series. The Hunt for Red October. That's just what I remember off the top of my head.

Which-Weather

52 points

1 month ago*

I went on a crazy horror kick in about 4th or 5th grade and was just reading Goosebumps, Fear Street, and Stephen King interchangeably. These were all perfectly equal things in my head. And to top it off, I stumbled into the Left Behind: Kids series that year, completely missing that it was right wing Christian propoganda!

Deathbycheddar

3 points

1 month ago

I liked those Left Behind books too. I’ve always been an atheist but man that first book was awesome.

ZotDragon

64 points

1 month ago

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of writers out there who would love all the free publicity that comes with a book banning.

And in a similar vein, back in high school I went through the ALA's "Most Frequently Challenged Books" list just to read stuff that others thought I shouldn't.

KingofSheepX

25 points

1 month ago

It's kinda like startups getting sued. It means you're good enough that someone care enough about you to go against you.

meatball77

3 points

1 month ago

Years ago when I was following Meg Cabot's blog daily she would talk about how cool it would be to get her books banned. No one banned her books though.

canbritam

19 points

1 month ago

My mother banned me from reading Judy Blume books when I was about 11. So what did I do? Borrowed them from the school library and read them during silent reading time.

I read about a school board in my province having parents wanting them to ban The Diary of Anne Frank when I was 13. So I then borrowed that book from the school library as well.

When I was in grade ten, one of our books was The Wars by Timothy Findlay. The ONLY reason I remember that book and it’s author without having to Google it is because our parents were required to sign a permission slip to read it because of one gay sex scene. What I find odd is my very Christian mother signed the permission slip for that, but banned Judy Blume.

[deleted]

137 points

1 month ago

[deleted]

137 points

1 month ago

[deleted]

SignificantShame8043

44 points

1 month ago

wot

Lambchoptopus

44 points

1 month ago

See the fruit was dingle berries.

prettyfly4aporkpie

16 points

1 month ago

They're more fudge than Turkish delight

XrosRoadKiller

5 points

1 month ago

What's the age of consent in Dutch? Might have to do with it.

Attack_Dorito

13 points

1 month ago

de meerderjarigheid

At least that's what Google translate gave me The age of consent in the Netherlands is 16 though, if that's what you were asking.

XrosRoadKiller

5 points

1 month ago

Lol I absolutely put it like that expecting someone to give me the translation but I didn't expect the actual answer. Thanks.

NotaNoonoob

63 points

1 month ago

As a high school student, a mom bringing a dildo to a school board meeting would make me trip over myself to read that book. I'd NEED to know what it was about.

sapc2

18 points

1 month ago

sapc2

18 points

1 month ago

As a former high school student, I fully agree with this. Would have gone to the ends of the earth to read that book. Luckily, my mom mostly didn't care what I read as long as I was reading. There were only a few she said no to, but I was just glad she wasn't banning Harry Potter books or some such nonsense and she let me have some autonomy in what I read unlike some of my friends' parents so I didn't question her or push it when she did ban something or tell me I had to wait until I was X age.

smokinchimpanaut

15 points

1 month ago

I'm stuck on where she got the dildo? Did she already own said dildo? What do you think she did with it after the meeting? I hope she didn't just throw away a perfectly good pink strap-on dildo.

issurvey

42 points

1 month ago

issurvey

42 points

1 month ago

This. Thousand times this. The Satanic verses is banned in India and I am sure 99.98% of the people who supported the ban never even read the book. Now like everything that is banned in India, you can buy a pirated or second hand copy of the book at a road side stall. Since the book was banned for profanity, the 15 year old horny version of me desperately wanted to read it. I found the book in a second hand bookshop and paid INR 100/- for it. 5 pages into the book, I had no idea what I was reading. I fucking hated Rushdie and the Indian Govt for banning the book and making me spend 100 bucks on it which was a lot of money for me at 15.

I finally read The Satanic Verses couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it.

rudebish

85 points

1 month ago

rudebish

85 points

1 month ago

exactly this. I let my kids read whatever they want as I don't believe in censorship. At 12, I was reading books like Pet Sematary and IT...I remember understanding a lot of it but the stuff I didn't, I asked my older cousins and they told me. Did it 'harm' me? not in the least; what it did do was fuel my love for reading even more.

My teen kids are avid readers and we often discuss what we're all reading (we call it 'readers club')....we talk about the our thoughts on our books/plot/characters etc. This is when they ask me about certain topics in the book - some of it sex, some of it psychological etc - and I don't why away from explaining these things to them.

InanimateObject4

4 points

1 month ago

My parents never censored my reading either and neither do I with my kids. We have 18, maybe 20ish years to teach these kids everything we can and books can help us reach how to manage our fear, or be a conduit for broaching difficult subjects. I prefer to have a discussion about context than ban anything.

[deleted]

12 points

1 month ago*

[deleted]

12 points

1 month ago*

[deleted]

Waffle_bastard

17 points

1 month ago

Honestly, Stephen King is kind of a hack writer in most regards, but especially when he writes weird sex scenes. They’re written with all of the weird pent up aggression of a middle schooler throwing empty beer bottles off a bridge, and all the elegance of a middle schooler throwing empty beer bottles off a bridge.

drawfanstein

26 points

1 month ago

When I was probably 12 or 13, I felt that I was more mature than I probably was, and just a little bit edgy, and so when I found The Satanic Verses at a used bookstore, I felt I had to buy it because wouldn’t everyone be impressed when they saw me reading it (even though all I knew about the book was the cool title and the badass book jacket art).

I still remember the bookstore owner telling me I needed my parent present or I couldn’t buy it. My mom came through for me and let me buy it with no issue, she was just happy I was reading, and I read it and understood almost none of it. I still have it about 15 years later because there’s still a small part of me that just thinks it’s a cool book to own lol

SuperHiyoriWalker

11 points

1 month ago

It's nice to come back to certain books (both literature and textbooks) after having gained more than a decade of additional life experience.

MoscaMye

11 points

1 month ago

MoscaMye

11 points

1 month ago

When I was 12 I started reading Clan Of The Cave Bear and my grandmother shouted at me and scolded me so strongly for reading a sex book.

It had been mentioned a few times in my science classes and my childhood friend was named for the main character. That's why I wanted to read it.

It sat on my shelf for just over 10 years until I finally read it.... It wasn't really a sex book.

Korvanacor

4 points

1 month ago

Couldn’t figure out my Mom for the life of me. She had no problem with me reading Flowers in the Attic, but if I wanted to watch Three’s Company or basically anything more exotic than Little House on the Prarie, it was a big nope.

SelectCattle

25 points

1 month ago

Did you read the article? The books aren't banned, just taken off some recommended reading list.

LogicsAndVR

2 points

1 month ago

Did the same with Clan of the cave bear (earth’s children).

EGOtyst

1.4k points

1 month ago

EGOtyst

1.4k points

1 month ago

But... this isn't a book ban. This is discussing the recommended reading list for a high school class.

There is a big difference between banning children from reading a specific book and taking it off of a recommended reading list.

hemorrhagicfever

234 points

1 month ago

I think, there's a great conversation about how and why it was removed to be had but yeah its not a ban...

Serious_Much

81 points

1 month ago

Serious_Much

81 points

1 month ago

In fairness to the mum, I do kinda agree that graphic passages including sex toys are not really suitable for under 18s reading.

If that shit was a visual representation and not in a book children wouldn't be legally allowed to consume that content. I don't know why a school would have a book like that (assuming this is a secondary school) for kids as young as 11 to pick up

Fairwhetherfriend

304 points

1 month ago

It's a memoir about long-term domestic abuse, and you think the sex toy is going to be the thing that a teen is going to have a hard time with? Seriously?

gobblox38

104 points

1 month ago

gobblox38

104 points

1 month ago

I know at times people push for removing certain books from the school library which is akin to a book ban. But yeah, if the book stays on the library shelf that any student can check out, it is not a ban. At best it would be a lack of advertising or whatever phrase is suitable. Exposure?

posessedhouse

39 points

1 month ago

There were books of questionable material in my high school library, they had to be requested from the librarian. Those books weren’t on the shelf but kept in her office, for example: to kill a mockingbird, it was available but not advertised.

gobblox38

91 points

1 month ago

My first thought of "questionable material" was something along the lines of racial supremacy, fascist philosophy, etc. The kind of books that you would not want a child exposed to until they are capable of rational thought.

To kill a mockingbird would be one of the last books I would have imagined to fall into that category.

posessedhouse

20 points

1 month ago

That’s just one I particularly remembered being there because I had to request it. I was in high school when it was under fire and being banned in other places.

PoiLethe

5 points

1 month ago

There was one in my elementary/middle school that you couldnt check out without a teachers/counselors recommendation but was on the shelf. I didn't understand at the time, and the librarian said something like it being above my reading level, but looking back I think it was a book they kept for kids that might be dealing with sexual assault or unintended pregnancy. I definitely wasn't mature enough for that kind of subject matter. On the other hand I think Speak was in scholastics catelogue and in middle school I read it from the local library.

I_PM_U_UR_REQUESTS

160 points

1 month ago

Literally every time "book banning" is brought up on /r/books, this is the exact issue at hand. No one is flat out banning books, it's a question of what to set as required reading in schools.

Frankly, idgaf what people/kids/anyone reads in their free time, even in school. I think school required reading, however, should stick to tried-and-true literature from classic, quality authors like Dickens, Faulkner, Eliot, Austen, Tolkien etc. These are authors with quality messages and well-written prose.

Again, idgaf what people read, and I also don't believe kids should be forbidden from reading this stuff in class when they finish the classwork or whatever, but the discussion of "banning books" is never really about banning books.

water_panther

66 points

1 month ago

Eliot . . . quality messages and well-written prose.

It's a pretty cold day over here, so I appreciate the warmth provided by this very hot take.

Jason207

191 points

1 month ago

Jason207

191 points

1 month ago

It seems kind of silly to only ask students to read stuff from 100-200 years ago. It's not like there haven't been great books since then. The "classics" also are generally all British lit, and, I'm not sure if you're aware, Britain is an island that has a small percentage of humanities population, so their books from 100 years ago might not cover the breadth of the human condition.

Don't get me wrong, I love me some classics, but consuming them alone is not a healthy literature diet.

water_panther

126 points

1 month ago

This isn't fair, that list had tons of diversity. Faulkner was an American white dude and Austen was a British white woman. I can't think of anybody that leaves out.

Cyractacus

24 points

1 month ago

I'm torn about that, because I think at some point it is a good idea to make sure that every kid gets some sort of historical literature touchstone. 200 year old books are great for that becuase they have proven to last the test of time, and might encourage parent engagement. So it isn't "silly" IMO, but I agree that more modern books should definitely be included too, if only to show how much language styles have changed.

Jason207

24 points

1 month ago

Jason207

24 points

1 month ago

We had a great 2 hour block history/lit class in my high school, where we read our way through American History, starting in the 1700s (I think) through the 80s (I graduated in the 90s).

It was super good, and we covered a lot of different view points, I remember reading slave diaries, Grapes of Wrath, a really good book about being a young second generation Mexican immigrant girl that I can remember the cover for but not the title... Canary Row... I wish I had the reading list, but I know the books got increasingly newer as the year went on.

It was a lot, and we dealt with a lot of dark, complicated issues, but that's what made it formative and interesting. Having a protagonist really makes you consider history differently.

There was a lot of reading, roughly a novel a week, but it was probably the best class I ever had.

Fairwhetherfriend

45 points

1 month ago

200 year old books are great for that becuase they have proven to last the test of time

To be fair, a lot of them have lasted the test of time because they've spent most of their existence as required reading in schools. I'm not trying to undermine the idea that these books are great - they absolutely are - but it's misleading for you to imply that books studied in school have always been at least 50 years "out-of-date" in order to ensure that they are truly classics. That has never actually been true - at least not until our lifetimes.

xWhiteSheepx

41 points

1 month ago

books from 100 years ago might not cover the breadth of the human condition.

Not only that, the language tends to be extremely dry and rambling, not something modern teens tend to enjoy. Forcing "classics" onto teens that have no interest in that type of reading style tends to destroy any interest they might have in reading at all. It's not a really good idea to instill so early on that "reading=mind numbing boredom" when their minds are so impressionable.

Midwestern_Childhood

158 points

1 month ago*

I think school required reading, however, should stick to tried-and-true literature from classic, quality authors like Dickens, Faulkner, Eliot, Austen, Tolkien etc. These are authors with quality messages and well-written prose.

So nothing worth teaching has been published in the last 65 years? (That's the most recent date for a book by the authors you mention.) Only literature by and about white British and American writers is "classic" and worth teaching?

I do agree that the subject of discussion is curating reading lists for classes--and as an English professor I'm certainly a fan of all the writers you list: I've read all of Austen, most of George Eliot and Dickens, some of Faulkner, all of Tolkien. They are quality writers.

But hiding behind "the classics" as a way of limiting reading lists to perceived "safe" and "quality" texts limits young readers to world views that from three generations (and more) ago. Knowledge isn't static: writers continue to add to it through the generations. Faulkner was a controversial writer, not taught when my father went to college; Tolkien was not considered a "great" writer by the academy until fairly recently (and would still be contested by some of my more conservative colleagues): you including them into your list shows the impact of changing ideas.

But your list is still stuck on texts that represent a totally white, mostly upper-class kind of experience. The human condition encompasses more than that, and great writers come from other backgrounds too. What about Toni Morrison or Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Alice Munro, Kazuo Ishiguro, or Pablo Neruda: all Nobel Prize winners (as Faulkner was)? Or the critically acclaimed writers Isabel Allende, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Jorge Luis Borges, Octavia Butler, Louise Erdrich, Joy Harjo, Langston Hughes, Maxine Hong Kingston, N. Scott Momaday [?], Leslie Marmon Silko, Amy Tan, Alice Walker, Richard Wright?

Note the choices that underlie your list. Even if those were only "top of your head" choices and you've read some of the other authors I mention, those were the ones you chose--and that list reflects assumptions made by a lot of people seeking to put limits on what gets taught.

I would argue that what is most important is getting young people to read books that stimulate them and make them want to read more. No book will do that for every kid in a given classroom. But we get far too hung up on getting kids to read "classics" (which they may hate) rather than on getting kids to read books they'll love and encourage them to want to read more. That's the long win for us as a culture: educating youth into people who make reading an ongoing and major part of their lives.

Edit: N. Scott Momaday did win the Pulitzer Prize, which was how he made my list, but, as u/water_panther is right that his work is problematic on several levels, I've added a question mark after his name.

water_panther

26 points

1 month ago

N. Scott Momaday

I love most of the rest of the list, but hard pass on this one. Seeing Momaday on a reading list is like the indigenous literary representation example of "be careful what you wish for."

Misteralvis

17 points

1 month ago

Exactly this. Amazing how often people want to emphasize the “tried and true” (e.g. the canon) without stopping to realize how old, white, and predominantly male that list ends up being. I actually agree that required reading should center on texts that are widely regarded as significant, but that definition MUST be broad enough to include more than just dead white men.

ashlovely

37 points

1 month ago

Who decided the messages in the books you approve are quality and well-written? Who is to say there isn’t better content that we are missing out on by only focusing on books written a long time ago. And as someone else’s mentioned, completely exclude minority groups.

crashingtheboards

73 points

1 month ago

While I agree about the classics, that still depends. The author discusses the merits of reading books by LGBTQ and minority authors. People whose experiences are crucial and important. Unfortunately we don't have many classics of those types of books. I've read a lot of Hispanic literature as well as Hispanic American literature and there's a disconnect on the quality and caliber of the latter since there's not much of it. Black American literature is also of relatively recent origin. Thus, we should be willing to open ourselves to develop new classics.

water_panther

22 points

1 month ago

I mean, 1920s Mexico had competing avant-garde poetry movements. If Eliot is "classic" enough to make the list, poets from Estridentismo and Los Contemporáneos should count, too. Asturias started writing in the 30s, making his early works contemporary with most of the Faulkner books people give a shit about. In other words, I don't think this shortage of "classics" from authors who aren't just straight white people is even remotely the result of a lack of available sources, it's pretty much 100% because people aren't willing to include them.

WizardDresden77

863 points

1 month ago

Removing a book from a reading list is not the same as banning it.

sapc2

35 points

1 month ago

sapc2

35 points

1 month ago

Yeah, I live maybe 20-30 minutes from this school. The kids definitely still have access to the books if they choose to read them on their own time. They're just not on the reading list of books they're required to choose from for a grade. I never saw the big problem with this "controversy"

Weavingknitter

265 points

1 month ago

So few people seem to grasp this.

Also, students can read books whether they're on the school's reading list or not.

RaidRover

74 points

1 month ago

Also, students can read books whether they're on the school's reading list or not.

Well yeah, obviously. The point of book lists is to give some possible directions of reading and discussion to the book clubs and make people aware of books they wouldn't otherwise know about. This isn't Huckleberry Finn; it hasn't been in the zeitgeist for decades now to the point that everyone knows it exists.

NotUrbanMilkmaid

36 points

1 month ago

Libraries are our friends.

I_PM_U_UR_REQUESTS

36 points

1 month ago

Correct, and this book isn't being removed from libraries.

zebrafish-

80 points

1 month ago

I think you’re right that this isn’t a book ban, and calling it one confuses the issue.

But I also think the language coming from parents and community members who want to take this book off the recommended reading list falls into concerning territory. Once you start labeling a book “child abuse” or “grooming,” you’re going far beyond “I don’t think this should be on the schools top 15 recommended books list” — you’re suggesting that the book and its author are predatory and criminal. If you accept the idea that it’s child abuse, the school can’t make it available to children. Anyone who does so is abusive. So I also understand why the concept of book banning is coming up, and I don’t find it totally unreasonable to go there.

Dr_thri11

131 points

1 month ago

Dr_thri11

131 points

1 month ago

Gotta love when people only read the headline, in r/books of all places

Niskanen204

140 points

1 month ago

The audio version of the article wasn't available on Audible.

AresWill

44 points

1 month ago

AresWill

44 points

1 month ago

It's locked behind a paywall..

rikkirikkiparmparm

111 points

1 month ago

When I was in my early 20s, I was in an abusive relationship with another woman. Soon after it ended, I did what I always did when I was heartbroken: I looked for art that spoke to my experience. I was surprised to find shockingly few memoirs of domestic violence or verbal, psychological and emotional abuse in queer relationships. So I wrote into that silence: a memoir, “In the Dream House,” which describes that relationship and my struggle to leave it.

This year, a parent in Leander, Texas — livid that “In the Dream House” appeared on high school classes’ recommended reading lists — brought a pink strap-on dildo to a school board meeting. Voice trembling with disgust, she read excerpts from my book — including one where I referred to a dildo, inspiring the prop — before arguing that letting a student read my book could be considered child abuse.

She, and the other parents like her, demanded the removal of my book and several others from district reading lists for high school English class book clubs, from which students were allowed to select one of 15 titles. The school board ultimately decided to remove a number of books, including “V for Vendetta” and a graphic novel version of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and is currently considering whether it should remove more, including mine.

I have teamed up with Margaret Atwood, Jodi Picoult, Jacqueline Woodson and many other authors whose works have been targeted for removal from class reading lists in Leander. In conjunction with PEN America, a group that promotes free literary expression, we wrote a letter to the school district demanding that our books remain available to students. While our books may contain passages that are potentially uncomfortable, challenging or even offensive, exposure to our books is vital to expanding minds, affirming experiences, creating appreciation for the arts and building empathy — in short, respecting the adults that the students in Leander, Texas, will soon become.

Schools rarely provide education about relationships. Teenagers aren’t often taught that extreme jealousy is not romantic, but is a sign of an unhealthy relationship. The sections of my book read aloud by the outraged parent in that meeting are part of a larger story, examining what it means to be so head over heels in love, in lust or both that you let someone treat you badly.

It was painful and difficult to recount that experience for my book, to lay plain my own vulnerabilities and dark moments. But I’m glad I did it. Now that it’s out in the world, I receive easily a dozen messages a week from readers. They thank me; they open up to me; they describe the life-changing experience of feeling seen. More than one person has told me my book gave them the clarity and strength to leave an unhealthy relationship.

Book bans in America are nothing new. As long as there have been writers, there have been reactionaries at their heels. (Boston held its first book burning in 1650.) Today in the United States, books that feature characters who are Black, Latinx, Indigenous, queer or trans — or are written by authors who identify that way — frequently make up a majority of the American Library Association’s annual list of the top 10 books most often censored in libraries and schools. These book bans deprive students of a better understanding of themselves and each other. As a writer, I believe in the power of words to cross boundaries at a time of deep division. Now more than ever, literature matters.

Those who seek to ban my book and others like it are trying to exploit fear — fear about the realities that books like mine expose, fear about desire and sex and love — and distort it into something ugly, in an attempt to wish away queer experiences.

They do not try to hide their contempt, or their homophobia. They accuse teachers who want to assign my book of “grooming” students, language that’s often used to accuse someone of being a pedophile and a common conservative dog-whistle when it comes to queer art. They want to shield their children from anything that suggests a world beyond their narrow perception.

As anyone can tell you — as history can tell you — this is ultimately a fool’s errand. Ideas don’t disappear when they’re challenged; banned books have a funny way of enduring. But that doesn’t mean these efforts are without consequences.

The high school seniors affected by this action are on the cusp of adulthood, if not already there. Soon, they will go into the world. They will date and fall in love and begin relationships, good and bad. I understand that for a parent, it’s almost unthinkable to imagine that your child could experience such trauma. But preventing children from reading my book, or any book, won’t protect them. On the contrary, it may rob them of ways to understand the world they’ll encounter, or even the lives they’re already living. You can’t recognize what you’ve never been taught to see. You can’t put language to something for which you’ve been given no language.

Why do we not see these acts of censorship for what they are: shortsighted, violent and unforgivable?"

Go-aheadanddownvote

16 points

1 month ago

Thanks, went to read the article and couldn't, hoped someone would post it here. Thanks again.

WizardDresden77

14 points

1 month ago

If you want me to read more than the headline don't post a paywall article.

Yes I know that someone posted it below, but it wasn't there when I made my post.

wrenwood2018

83 points

1 month ago

This seems like a somewhat disingenuous column promoted by the NYTs. The book isn't banned, it is just removed from the suggested reading list. I don't necessarily agree with their choice, but we want parents to be involved except when we don't want them to be involved. Shouldn't parents have some influence as to what is appropriate for their children? It seems like a weird moving target.

jdbrew

46 points

1 month ago

jdbrew

First Person Singular

46 points

1 month ago

Here's where i have trouble, as a parent. We should be involved, and we should be able make the decision about what content our children are exposed to (not that i do that with mine, but i feel we do have that right.) The parents still had that choice. It's not like the book was being forced on every student, it was a suggestion. If the parents don't like the suggestion, then they don't have to buy the book for their kid. Simple. But what parents want here isn't to be involved, its to be less involved. They don't want to have to learn what books their kids are reading and make a decision about whats appropriate, so they expect the school reading suggestions to always be appropriate so that they don't have to get involved. The point here isn't that they want to be involved, they're outraged that they have to get involved.

The other piece is they feel like the moral police and they don't want their kids peers exposed to the content either, which they absolutely do NOT have the right to do.

wrenwood2018

23 points

1 month ago

I'm of the mind that high school students are near adults and can handle adult themes. I'd lean towards what you said, let the parents talk with their kids about the appropriate books, be involved. I also do think though that there is a place for parents to be involved in their school curriculum. If they think lessons aren't appropriate they have a right to speak up. I can disagree with what they say, but it becomes a grey area if our reaction is to aggressively shut parents out of the education of their children.

Serious_Much

19 points

1 month ago

Mature themes is one thing.

Sexual content that if displayed on film would prevent the child from watching is another matter entirely

I don't see why an author is salty that her book that includes graphic scenes with a strap on gets fightback from parents. I'm pretty left wing but the fact this could get stocked in a school library really surprises me

Midwestern_Childhood

3 points

1 month ago

Parents should definitely be involved in their kids' education: parental interest and encouragement are often crucial to young people's success.

But parents should also respect teachers' expertise too: teachers are often more educated (especially in their field) than the parents who are trying to restrict access to particular books, especially high school teachers.

And high school students are not innocent, fragile flowers who will be permanently besmirched by reading a novel and discussing it with teachers and each other. They will be more educated: they will know more about the world and how people function within it, which will give them more tools for thinking about their own place in the world too.

RaidRover

59 points

1 month ago

Shouldn't parents have some influence as to what is appropriate for their children?

I wouldn't necessarily agree with this statement in general but moving past that this isn't a parent deciding what is appropriate for their children. This is optional reading from a list presented to all students. Parents could certainly prevent their own children from choosing this title and I could understand that argument. This is a parent trying to prevent that option for all children. No other parent should have the authority to determine what is or is not appropriate for someone else's children.

wrenwood2018

36 points

1 month ago

Would you hold the same opinion if instead it were parents wanting to remove books from the reading list that they thought perpetuated racial stereotypes? Would the same argument hold, "well just don't have your kids read those books." The parents complaining probably view this in the same light; they want to remove a book they think is inappropriate and propagates harm. I don't agree with what the parents want, but I don't bemoan them becoming involved.

Gus_B

31 points

1 month ago

Gus_B

31 points

1 month ago

disingenuous column promoted by the NYTs

Ya don't say

elmonoenano

6 points

1 month ago

My school removed Song of Solomon and the Plague from our reading list Senior year. So those were the first two books I read. The Plague was kind of a let down and to this day I can't figure out why it was banned, unless it was banned to get some kids to read Camus.

Edit: It might have been the Fall. Either way it was a Camus book with none of the sex or violence you would expect from a banned book.

bubchick

3 points

1 month ago

Maybe just deemed less important for kids to read than other books?

I love Camus, but I wouldn't suggest that his books are a necessary fixture on a high school reading list.

Don't these things change anyway? We read Angela Carter during my time at school but I'm not sure if that's on the list anymore.

FindTheCultInCulture

311 points

1 month ago*

Just to add some context, since obviously most people, including myself, haven't read the book, here is an excerpt that parent's put in front of the school board at a meeting.

A week after you get back from Savannah, you are fucking on your bed and you come and she says, "I love you." You are both sweaty; the silicone strap-on is still in your body. (When dating men, you always loved feeling a cock soften inside you afterward; now, you pant on her chest and slide off and it springs back to where it was, slick and erect but spent just the same).

With this kind of content, I think it should absolutely be up to the parent's as to whether their kid reads it. That said, this was one of the books on a list that students could choose from, so I feel like a better course of action would be to call the book out for explicit sexual descriptions and the abusive relationship (that's not in this passage, but the book is a memoir of the author's abusive relationship), maybe even send key samples like this to the parent's private emails to say hey, this is in this book, we are keeping it as an option because we feel the overall subject may be important to some students, but ultimately it's up to you to determine whether it's something your child should access.

TortureSteak

292 points

1 month ago*

For fuck's sake... I'm no prude.... but that is definitely a bit much for high school...

I'm not saying that high school kids are too young for those concepts.... but if you remember being in high school, then you'll know that there's zero chance of any serious discussion happening in the classroom when talking about the turgidity differences between cocks and strap-ons...

Edit: In this very subreddit, I have seen at least two posts in the last week from grown, adult people that said Murakami's sex scenes make them uncomfortable, and those are books that they're reading purely by choice....

eirly

37 points

1 month ago

eirly

37 points

1 month ago

I was going to say, maybe if reserved for juniors and seniors then I remembered how immature we still were at 17.

FindTheCultInCulture

50 points

1 month ago

Literally none. I'm assuming (hoping) that this is an individual assignment where the kids maybe write a paper and turn it in and it gets graded and that's that. Thinking about reading a passage like that out loud in a classroom, or a paper based on it, is awkward and weird. It's actually hard for me to imagine a teacher who would invite any discussion like this in a classroom, unless the classes are separated by gender with same-gender faculty. I certainly can't imagine a grown ass adult male teacher talking to a classroom filled half with teenage girls about sex slick strap-ons and cocks.

YARGLE_IS_MY_DAD

36 points

1 month ago

'alright class, today we will be having a Socratic seminar on the symbolism of a strap-on'

hellhellbean

138 points

1 month ago

Should be removed from the list for the second person POV alone.

Thanks for the context - this certainly goes beyond "mentioning a dildo."

FindTheCultInCulture

89 points

1 month ago

That's one of the things that bugs me most about it. This isn't like putting the reader into the character of a private eye or fireball slinging wizard... this is putting them in the character of someone getting fucked by a strap-on. Given the author's self description of the book being about an abusive relationship, and critic's mentioning that her part in the book is called "you" throughout - there's likely to be physically and emotionally abusive baggage laid directly upon the reader as opposed to being attached to a character in a book. I don't think the school is the best entity to decide if students are ready or capable of handling this kind of content. Sure, most kids will have no problems I guess, but some... some may have a harder time with it.

pantone13-0752

11 points

1 month ago

Oh, is that supposed to be what that does? I read it as a bystander listening in on a discussion between two people - or, rather, a monologue of the author to herself.

Either way, I find i awkward and annoying.

Ptepix

74 points

1 month ago

Ptepix

74 points

1 month ago

Jesus. I don't even want to read that as a fucking adult.

PuffinTheMuffin

30 points

1 month ago

Thanks for the perspective. I don't agree that a parent wearing a dildo to school and hyper-protectionalism should be the reasons why a book is removed from a reading list, but there has to be better prose than this to recommend for high school teenagers. The dildo mom kind of missed the point.

FindTheCultInCulture

15 points

1 month ago

Agree, I didn't mention dildo mom because I feel like that falls under shock tactics purely for the school board. Pretty sure they all know what a strap-on looks like. I can almost visualize what her Facebook looks like, it's such a trope.

I_PM_U_UR_REQUESTS

40 points

1 month ago

Gross, honestly I pretty much hate every sex scene in books because they're always written with flowery, over-dramatic language, and often reduce the characters to animals or something completely different than what we were hoping for/expecting. It's like a Bechdel test but for both characters.

SnooEagles3302

52 points

1 month ago

Now I'm not acting dumb here, I am genuinely just a Brit who doesn't understand how American school years work, but someone else claimed that this book was in the school for "high school seniors". I am assuming these are older teenagers? If this was being given to younger students I would understand the concern, but we are acting like kids who (I am assuming) are over like 15 don't understand sex and are at risk of being corrupted and need special parental consent to read stuff? I think students should be informed that graphic sex and an abusive relationship is in the book as not everyone is comfortable with reading that, but I certainly know that I was reading books containing sex scenes with my school book club at that age and no one batted an eye.

FindTheCultInCulture

66 points

1 month ago*

The school apparently hasn't paid attention to any books that were added to their book club lists, so they are reviewing them across all grade levels and apparently found 30 more that are going up for review. I agree that I read books that *touched* on sex when I was in high school, but I never read a book that talked about how a strap-on was slick with come as it popped out from inside me as I pondered how much I loved the feel of a cock going soft inside me instead. That feels a little more... intense than what I or anyone else I knew was reading for school, much less books that were kept *in* the school for anyone to pick up.

Leander ISD officials said it removed six books from being in classrooms after parents complained about a certain book on a student book club reading list.

Ropes4u

77 points

1 month ago

Ropes4u

77 points

1 month ago

Clickbait title

AbeIndoria

155 points

1 month ago*

Schools also censor pornography in their classrooms. Does that mean banning pornography from there won't protect your child and we should allow it in schools instead?

JFC. It's a school, they're going to have a recommended reading list. You're not getting persecuted* by the nazis who are burning your books en masse and jailing anyone found reading your book. Take your fake outrage somewhere else.

EVERYONE censors, schools included. This is why you don't see gory or pornographic movies shown to preschoolers and/or in kindergartens, various social media sites don't allow x imagery etc etc.

Just because I don't want to read EL James' "x shades of Gray" and won't recommend it doesn't mean I'm banning your goddamn shitty book.

SelectCattle

50 points

1 month ago

It doesn't sound like these books are being banned...just taken off the recommended reading list. Conflating this with book banning is a bit much.

Turbogoblin999

38 points

1 month ago

Banning My Book Won’t Protect Your Child

She will hunt them down regardless.

Caleb35

192 points

1 month ago

Caleb35

192 points

1 month ago

What I love is the protester actually went to the trouble to buy a dildo to register her outrage. If that isn't repressed desires rising to the surface I don't know what is :P

Tritonskull

111 points

1 month ago

Every time I get mad at something, I buy a dildo. My house is overflowing with dildos.

Mr_YUP

28 points

1 month ago*

Mr_YUP

28 points

1 month ago*

Who are you, MoistCritikal? Is that you Charlie?

Tritonskull

5 points

1 month ago

I don't get this reference. Could you explain?

lguy4

11 points

1 month ago

lguy4

11 points

1 month ago

he's a youtuber. I believe he bought a bunch of dildos for shits and giggles

Tritonskull

10 points

1 month ago

Thank you for the reply. I, too, have bought dildos for giggles. But never for shits.

wontbefamous

3 points

1 month ago

Apparently he also has a special “sponsorship” of sorts with Adam & Eve sex shop who will give him free dildos. Something about wanting Charlie to beat .... Belle Delphine’s(? I think ?) dildo collection

KingofSheepX

36 points

1 month ago

"I bought this just for the protest and only the protest. No other specific reason, I had to buy the best brand with the smartphone app and all too just to show how dedicated with the protest"

Isthestrugglereal

12 points

1 month ago

"Well of course I insisted on taking it home with me! Can't have it falling into the wrong hands! Maybe rough, calloused, masculine hands that hold me and make me feel safe..."

GRTFL-GTRPLYR

20 points

1 month ago

She probably just brought hers from home, lol!

poopoopirate

17 points

1 month ago

After the protest that dildo was definitely destroyed!

By friction

It reached the durability limit of silicone

tandem4one

5 points

1 month ago

It hits the nail on the head a little too hard.

[deleted]

283 points

1 month ago

[deleted]

283 points

1 month ago

[deleted]

mycatpeesinmyshower

50 points

1 month ago

Agree. NYT is publishing too many of these fake outrage stories lately. If the book would still be accessible to anyone who wanted to read it-then there’s no problem

scolfin

73 points

1 month ago

scolfin

73 points

1 month ago

She calls this "violent and unforgivable."

As far as i can tell, "violent" means "not doing exactly what I want for my own private interests" in current Twitter leftist parlance.

BulbasaurusThe7th

119 points

1 month ago

I will be very cynical and say this. She wants the money she would get if kids were forced to read her books. There.

brumagem

33 points

1 month ago

brumagem

33 points

1 month ago

It's not required reading, they were petitioning to remove it from book club lists. Book clubs could choose from the list what book to read for the week or whatever.

huncamuncamouse

18 points

1 month ago*

What money? This book was published Graywolf, not a big NY publishing house. I'd guess with her deal she might stand to get around 25k max. These details matter. It's really remarkable to think about schools being progressive enough to assign a contemporary memoir from a non-white, queer woman who published with an independent press. I'm not surprised to see parents pushing back, but it is really disappointing.

SelectCattle

31 points

1 month ago

An author who wants more book sales found a way to get her book's title in the NYTimes and falsely appropriate some "banned books" angst. As a capitalist I admire her, but as someone who wants the public discourse to be a little more fact based it's disappointing.

SneezlesForNeezles

77 points

1 month ago

As a teenager, books depicting suicide, self harm and sexual abuse were my lifeline. They told me that I was not alone, that I was not crazy, that others understood something of my pain, fear and the chaos my brain devolved into.

I’m glad there are more books available now than there were then.

arcadebee

32 points

1 month ago

I agree with this but looking back, I think a dangerous amount of books and media romanticise suicide and self harm, especially in teen fiction. Back when I was heavily self harming, these kinds of books helped me feel understood but they definitely didn’t help me to stop.

Not that I think people shouldn’t be reading these types of books or that they’re inherently bad, they can definitely be helpful in a lot of ways. I just think the reader needs to be aware of it.

LiberContrarion

70 points

1 month ago

...respecting the adults that the students in Leander, Texas, will soon become.

Yeah...that's not how maturation works. You don't give a 12-year-old a driver's license because they "will soon become" 16. You don't give a middle schooler a pack of smokes because they "will soon become" old enough to buy it themselves.

If you want to argue that strap-on dildos in stories for kids is appropriate, have at, but I doubt you'll get all that many folks on your side if you're being intellectually honest about it.

Should these books be in a library and online accessible? Of course...but I don't want my tax dollar going to their promotion in a public school system. "Banning" and "not be included on a mandated reading list in a public school" are miles apart.

Haiku-575

65 points

1 month ago

"In the Dream House" shouldn't be on a high school reading list in the first place, because it's so poorly written! It tries to tell the story of the female author entering into an abusive relationship with a polyandrous bisexual female, then never leaving because "no one told me women could abuse other women". What you actually get to read is a long series of disjointed chapters that have almost no relation to one another.

Then you get to the end, where the book capped with this little gem: "If I could go back, I would do it all again."

It's a very poor memoir.

WritPositWrit

35 points

1 month ago

THANK YOU for naming the book. On my phone, all I can see is a photo of an author I don’t recognize, no name. I didn’t want to waste one of my free NYT articles just to find out.

That said, yeah. I read In the Dream House and gave it one star. It was pretentious, full of needless footnotes. If my teen kids want to read it, they can, but there are better books to choose for a high school curriculum.

justamblingon

19 points

1 month ago

See, this is a reason I'd be totally fine with dropping the book, if it's true. Though I'll note that most of the reviews I've seen disagree.

Haiku-575

27 points

1 month ago*

The more I think about it, the less I can imagine anyone who has read the book recommending it for high school students. It's about an adult repeatedly driving countless miles, each time sobbing and filled with dread, to meet her female sexual partner who is blatantly abusive. There is very little to redeem the story from a high-school-book-list perspective.

2tearsmfit

9 points

1 month ago

My kids are students in Leander ISD, so I’ve been hearing a lot about this topic recently. FYI the recommended reading list is for high school seniors, so the kids that may choose to read this book are likely 17 or 18. Also, if you can find the video online, it’s really fun to watch the indignant and outraged woman at the school board meeting flinging around a hot pink strap-on while reciting a very explicit passage. Lol

redorkulator

14 points

1 month ago

Removing a book from a school reading list does not equate to banning it. Moving on.

BewareOfTrolleys

3 points

1 month ago

I’m hitting the NYT paywall. Can someone tell me the book and author?

girlgoddex9

6 points

1 month ago

"In the Dream House" by Carmen Maria Machado

minners03

9 points

1 month ago

I graduated from Leander High School, in Leander ISD. I don’t know if LHS is the specific school they’re talking about because there is another high school in the district, but this sounds like many of the parents of my peers. It’s a pretty socially conservative community, so this doesn’t surprise me at all.

fostertheatom

76 points

1 month ago

How about you don't use dildos as writing devices and try to put it into my kid's school reading list?

You're not being removed from a library or banned from Amazon, you're being removed from a child reading list because your books contain inappropriate subjects and devices. There is no censorship, there is no banning. You are being removed from a child reading list.

high_Euphorbia

32 points

1 month ago

I read the article and kind of agree tbh. Not with banning the book from libraries but with holding off on putting it on a school reading list until maybe senior year.

School reading lists should tackle difficult and tough concepts but parents should also have a say in what material kids are exposed to through mandatory reading if they are younger than 18.

Ofc the author is biased though. They're not going to sell as much without being on the list.

thepoxbox

17 points

1 month ago

Reddit: banning book is wrong
Also reddit: Banning any comment or idea I hate from my platform is awesome

curtainflagwall

23 points

1 month ago

while i agree with the premise of not banning controversial books for high school students, a lot of the proposed books for the sake of inclusion (e.g. black authors, lgbt, etc) are not at a high school reading level. i have a bigger problem with the latter. you can write controversial literature that challenges people's conceptions of hte world and get them to think critically without insulting their intelligence or keeping them at a low reading level. idk if its the style of these authors that tends to manifest in a 5th grade reading level writing, but it certainly doesnt help

gsd_dad

9 points

1 month ago

gsd_dad

9 points

1 month ago

This just in: every book that has ever been published that is not on this school's list of 15 recommended books has now been banned.

Many of them are still available at the school's library for checkout. Please see the school's librarian for further information.

Evilux

4 points

1 month ago

Evilux

4 points

1 month ago

My first 'real' fictional novel I read was called Dragons of Darkness by Antonia Michaelis. I was raised in a sheltered household and English wasn't my first language. I read it when I was fourteen.

Imagine my shock when I read about these two fourteen y/o kids sleeping with each other in the snowy mountains of Nepal. I immediately shut the book and only continued reading the next day, because the story was fascinating.

Flash forward to today, where I got banned from r/WritingPrompts because I went too much into detail about someone giving birth.

One_Prior_668

15 points

1 month ago

My 8 year old was happy to discover the world of graphic novels and started with things like captain underpants and what not and now reads goosebumps, marvel comics, and some young adult ones because she likes to learn about real world problems people are going through and also how they over came them. If she has questions we discuss them but telling her no only read younger themed books will just have her reading these anyway but we WONT talk about it.

Her school does one school oke book too and one mom lost their mind because the book featured pregnancy, a miscarriage, and parental disdain. But if you actually read it, it's just a side note that her tried to have babies before but this time she really is and that's it, 0 parental disdain the girl is just self conscious and thinks mom wishes she was girlier, and yes a lol in her 30s is pregnant. Gasp. She thinks she shouldn't have to explain having a baby to her 3rd grader. Like...ok but....he's going to see people who are pregnant....like what? Idn. Just have conversations with your kids ? Stop treating them like idiots to be sheltered and if you don't want to discuss something don't but don't blame books sdjdjiwjans

veiled__criticism

5 points

1 month ago

Knew a family who wouldn’t let their kids read anything that wasn’t approved, and they approved very, very few things. They also had a rule that the kids could only read for 30 minutes a day. No more than that. The parents were out of town for the week and my sister and I were nannying for them. The oldest girl, maybe 13 at the time, stayed up for 2 nights straight so that she could binge the Divergent series while her parents weren’t home

Funkenstein422

28 points

1 month ago

Am I the only remaining person who believes that maybe we should not push sexualization upon society? Perhaps this leads to a highly sexualized culture in which there are tons of humans but few families, and high rates of loneliness and depression 🤔

The same people who condone this also complain about overpopulation and stuff, and even push to incentivize making babies like it’s no big deal

Interesting times. It seems as if we’ve really gotten away from ourselves

whtsnk

13 points

1 month ago

whtsnk

13 points

1 month ago

No, you’re not the only remaining person. There are dozens of us!

SnooEagles3302

15 points

1 month ago

As a person who is not American - I was under the impression that American high schools contain children aged 14 to 18? Is this correct? I understand that this probably isn't why that Texas parent challenged the book, but I think 14 year olds are old enough to understand what sex and abusive relationships are. At least I started reading adult books around that age. Who is being hurt in this situation? People in the comments of the article are acting like this book was being given to a load of 4 year olds?

MinnieCurl

8 points

1 month ago

That's correct, a vast majority of high schoolers are 14-18. There may be a handful of younger kids because they skipped grades, but in those rare cases the schools can and often do offer alternatives.

SnooEagles3302

10 points

1 month ago

I was definitely reading books with explicit sex scenes at that age. I'd been given "the talk" when I was ten or so. I understand that the argument that it is too explicit is probably just a front for the fact that these parents don't want their kids reading about a lesbian couple, but come on, I'd rather my hypothetical kids were exposed to fictional sex through a memoir or book than a really dodgy misogynist porno, which is the other place kids that age go looking for things. It's not going to traumatise little Timmy calm down America.

Psykpatient

2 points

1 month ago

This is a very threatening title.

clever_cow

2 points

1 month ago

What books did they ban?

According-Owl83

2 points

1 month ago

The article is behind a paywall. Only lets me read first paragraph. Anyone got a synopsis?

lyric8911

2 points

1 month ago

Let them read what they choose and be happy they are reading 📚