Challenged Books

The American Library Association has released its annual list of most frequently challenged books—their euphemism for books someone wants banned in some way. The list includes Jaycee Dugard’s memoir “A Stolen Life”. The reason is sexual content although as a reader may remember she was abducted and sexually abused for years. The list also contains Sherman Alexie “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis” and Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” for it too is said to be objectionable

for its sexual content. We don’t often think of banned books nor of the groups and individuals who challenge schools and libraries over a given book, still it does happen, and whether we like it or not, in an open society people ought to be free to challenge books—part of their right to free expression. There are lots of books in bad taste, there are lots of destructive books, books I’d rather not see published, books that may have a right to exist, but they are books l don’t have to read, books I hope reviewers and critics would have the sense to ignore. I’ve wished at times that if we were to ban books then let’s ban books glorifying war, violence, greed, revenge… And yet those books may well fulfill a function, they create opportunities to discuss those topics and better understand the harm they cause.