I just came across the American Library Association's list of the Top 100 Banned or Challenged Books 2000-2009. It amazes me - although I suppose it shouldn't - that in this day and age people are still trying to censor other people's ability to choose what books to read.
Sure, there are books on that list I wouldn't want in my house and I sure as hell wouldn't want Daughter to read, but those are my choices in my home. If someone else wants to put sludge in their head, it's not my place to tell them they can't. (And I'm not even going to say which books I think are sludge - because I made a promise that I wasn't going to trash other writers' work.) Everyone has different tastes and the books I hate one of you might love. And vice versa.
Of course, these are PUBLIC libraries and schools they're talking about, so it opens a whole other can of worms. Every taxpayer contributes to the whole of the funding, after all. One would think that each person should have a say in how their tax money is being spent - even if some of the reasoning seems insane. (Ban To Kill a Mockingbird for racist issues? Puleeze.) No matter how you slice it, it's a sticky issue.
Personally, I think banning books is pointless - you know, like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Banning a book just makes it seem more attractive to a larger section of the populace than would've read the book otherwise. Look at The Satanic Verses. I don't think it would've sold nearly as well without help from the radical Muslims who wanted the book burned and author murdered.
And in this time of online everything, does banning a book from the library really have any effect anyway? If I can't get it there, I can order it from Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, or any one of a dozen other sellers. And if it's an old enough book, you can probably find the entirety of it at Project Gutenberg anyway. (Like Tom Sawyer, maybe.)
What do you think about the whole 'banned book' thing?
LOL... I just noticed that Fahrenheit 451 is on the list of banned books. How ironic is that?