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Banned Books Confessions

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and Monday’s LTP got me thinking about the best banned books. In the grand tradition of fandom confession blogs, I thought I’d share my gut reaction for seven of my favorites. Below the jump, some covers and secrets, plus bonus excerpts. (Let’s call it a readalong!)

CHARLOTTE’S WEB — E. B. WHITE
Charlotte’s Web Read-Aloud Edition

The cover of Charlotte's Web with the note: This book instilled in me a life-long love of spiders!

Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Although he loved her children and grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his heart. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.

 

SUMMER OF MY GERMAN SOLDIER — BETTE GREEN
Summer of My German Soldier (Puffin Modern Classics)

The cover of Summer of My German Soldier with the note: This was the first book that ever made me cry.

From the hide-out’s back window I watched a slow freight rumble noisily down the tracks towards Little Rock. I opened Webster’s Collegiate to the Fs. Time to get going on my ambition. It’s not the only one I have, but it’s the only one I work at. Someday I’m going to know the meaning of every word in the English language.

I let my finger run down the page of the dictionary until it stopped at the first word that wasn’t completely familiar: “Fragile.” Lots of times boxes of glassware and things come shipped to the store marked: Fragile! Handle with care. But it must have more of a meaning than that. I copied the definition into my notebook: “Easily broken or destroyed; frail; delicate.” My word of the day.

HOLES — LOUIS SACHAR
Holes

The cover of Holes with the note: We have three copies of this book in our house. And two people.

Stanley’s father was also named Stanley Yelnats. Stanley’s father’s full name was Stanley Yelnats III. Our Stanley is Stanley Yelants IV. Everyone in his family always liked the fact that “Stanley Yelnats” was spelled the same frontward and backward. So they kept naming their sons Stanley. Stanley was an only child, as was every other Stanley Yelnats before him. All of them had something else in common. Despite their awful luck, they always remained hopeful. As Stanley’s father liked to say, “I learn from failure.” But perhaps that was part of the curse as well. If Stanley and his father weren’t always hopeful, then it wouldn’t hurt so much every time their hopes were crushed.

WTF — PETER LERANGIS
wtf

The cover of the book WTF with the note: The only reason this book isn't banned is because more people haven't heard of it. And that's a shame. It's awesome.

As she placed the steaming cup on the table, the front door opened and two men walked in. Figured. Just when she needed to pack up, whoopee, happy hour. The younger guy was almost good-looking, save for a head of slick black hair and an Ayyyy-babe-if-you’re-lucky-I-may-let-you-sleep-with-me expression. The older guy had basset-hound jowls, canyonlike wrinkles, and arms that looked like deflated balloons. He was flat-out salivating with his eyes, which traveled up and down Reina’s body as if he were at a yo-yo tournament. She looked conspicuously at the clock, which read 11:41. “We’re about to close.”

THE CHOCOLATE WAR — ROBERT CORMIER
The Chocolate War (Readers Circle)

The cover of the book The Chocolate War with the note: He would be horrified at the school-sanctioned bullying that is still allowed to take place today.

The Goober was beautiful when he ran. His long arms and legs moved flowingly and flawlessly, his body floating as if his feet weren’t touching the ground. When he ran, he forgot about his acne and his awkwardness and the shyness that paralyzed him when a girl looked his way. Even his thoughts became sharper, and things were simple and uncomplicated–he could solve math problems when he ran or memorize football play patterns. Often he rose early in the morning, before anyone else, and poured himself liquid through the sunrise streets, and everything seemed beautiful, everything in its proper orbit, nothing impossible, the entire world attainable.

THE HUNGER GAMES — SUZANNE COLLINS
The Hunger Games

The cover of the Hunger Games with the note: The fans who wish the Games were real make me weep for humanity and our future.

We ate slices of bread for breakfast and headed to school. It was as if spring had come overnight. Warm sweet air. Fluffy clouds. At school, I passed the boy in the hall, his cheek had swelled up and his eye had blackened. He was with his friends and didn’t acknowledge me in any way. But as I collected Prim and started for home that afternoon, I found him staring at me from across the school yard. Our eyes met for only a second, then he turned his head away. I dropped my gaze, embarrassed, and that’s when I saw it. The first dandelion of the year. A bell went off in my head. I thought of the hours spent in the woods with my father and I knew how we were going to survive.

THE HANDMAID’S TALE — MARGARET ATWOOD
The Handmaid’s Tale (Everyman’s Library)

The cover of The Handmaid's Tale with the note: It took me nearly 100 pages to realize what the women's names meant. It terrified me to my very core because so much else seemed like it would happen.

Our first stop is at a store with another wooden sign: three eggs, a bee, a cow. Milk and Honey. There’s a line, and we wait our turn, two by two. I see they have oranges today. Ever since Central America was lost to the Libertheos, oranges have been hard to get: sometimes they are there, sometimes not. The war interferes with the oranges from California, and even Florida isn’t dependable, when there are roadblocks or when the train tracks have been blown up. I look at the oranges, longing for one. But I haven’t brought any coupons for oranges. I’ll go back and tell Rita about them, I think. She’ll be pleased. It will be something, a small achievement, to have made oranges happen.

So, Persephoneers, what are your popular (or unpopular) Banned Book Confessions? What are your favorite passages?

By BaseballChica03

Political hack. Word nerd. Stays crispy in milk. Oxford Comma user. Blogger since 2001.

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