I’m as much against banning books as anyone, but to be honest, I get a little bit jealous when I scan those lists of books. They have an air of importance about them. There are books on there like Beloved and Diary of a Young Girl and To Kill a Mockingbird. You get banned, you find yourself in pretty good company.
So I’ll have to try harder. By the time Banned Books Week rolls around in ten years, I want one of my books to be prominent on the list as one of the most challenged books of all time.
But it’s not as easy as it sounds. To write a banned book, you have to strike the right balance of “offensive” material while being deemed relevant enough for inclusion in school and library collections in the first place. You can’t just write Baby’s First Meth Lab, or There is No Good and You Aren’t That Special. You have to actually challenge young readers in a good way, so that librarians and teachers like you, but at least hint at the idea that you might actually be corrupting young minds, so that other people in the community get scared.
And while anything to do with religion or sexuality or violence or lots of swears is one route to the hallowed hall of banishment, I don’t know I can compete with Philip Pullman, Judy Blume, or Robert Cormier. Perhaps there are new ways to get banned. But that’s where I draw a blank. If I knew what to do to get banned, I’d have already done it.
What do you think? Can I find some new avenue to censorship, or should I just redirect my efforts to stirring up moral vehemence against snakes and baseball?
P.S. Please celebrate Banned Books Week by reading, discussing, blogging about, or buying someone a banned book!