It’s Banned Books Week this week, an annual event (started by the American Library Association in 1982) to draw attention to the fact that there are still many self-appointed censors out there who want to control what you read.
In 2012, the most-challenged book was the Captain Underpants series (no, really: because of supposedly “offensive” language and unsuitability for kids).
Even books clearly targeted at adults (such as Fifty Shades of Gray) are frequently targeted because “they” don’t want you to choose what to read. (Why, even them homos are presented as actual people in some books! Disgusting!)
Others are targeted because of their “religious viewpoint” — can’t give anyone a choice of religion in a land that guarantees freedom … of … religion! sigh
Freedom to Read
Banned Books Week is about “Celebrating the Freedom to Read” not just in the land of guaranteed Freedom of the Press, but for all people in the world.
The list of the 100 most-banned/challenged books from the first decade of the 2000s is sad. Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 …which is (yes) about the degradation of a society that has banned all books and suppresses dissenting ideas. Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Huxley’s Brave New World. And classics like To Kill A Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, 1984, Slaughterhouse-Five, and more — even Gone With the Wind (it might have that damn word in it!)
People seriously argue that you should not even have the choice to read such books, let alone decide what your children should read (the Harry Potter series is #1 on the decade list).
Defy the censors: choose a book from a recent list, buy it, and read it because you want to, and don’t fear the mere thought of being exposed to an idea you don’t necessarily share. The way to come to agreement on the best ideas for society is to look at them all, discuss them all, and then discard the bad ones, not by elites deciding that dissension must be suppressed, propounding that other adults can’t think for themselves (and probably making that decision without reading the books in question).
See the Top 10 Banned Books in Recent Years and the Most-Banned Books of 2010-2019.
There’s more info at BannedBooksWeek.org.
Related Post: Badge of Honor, Tarnished
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36 Comments on “Banned Books Week”
For a country that is proud to be free, you sure have a lot of people who seem to hate freedom.
While this is certainly true, don’t make the mistake that this isn’t happening in other countries too. It most definitely is, and often it’s done by government agencies. -rc
One of my younger-teen memories is of picking up “Catcher in the Rye” at our local library and semi-jokingly asking my mom if I could check it out to read. Her response was “Of course!”
Gotta love librarians (her career was ‘school media specialist,’ but same difference)! My shelves at home have plenty of banned books and I am all the richer for it.
Love lists like this – I skim through them to see if there are any books I haven’t read. If I find something, then it’s off to the library. Some of the banned books I don’t like – but that’s personal and NOT a reason to ban them. Read what you like!
To be Free you must think. To think and explore ideas you must be challenged. Explore new ideas or viewpoints, it will help make you a better thinker, a better person and a better citizen.
Let’s see here. Banned books I have already read from this list:
1. Harry Potter Series (The whole family has read them. My 11 year old is on trip 2 through the series).
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
21. To Kill A Mockingbird (Read this in school)
69. Farenheit 451
71. Junie B. Jones series (not directly, however my youngest loved them — my wife read them to her, even though she could read them herself — it was a mother-daughter bonding thing)
90. A Wrinkle In Time — One of my all-time favorite books.
Those are the ones I read. There are a number of others on the list that I started to read, but could not get ‘into’ the book. There are also some I read that, based on others on the list, are surprisingly not there. All Quiet on the Western Front comes to mind, as does A Tale of Two Cities. Both of which I read in high school English classes.
Banning books, indeed. Books are ideas. Books are life. Books spark imaginations. Books are wonderful things. I don’t read enough. Perhaps I need to make more time to read, and pick up some on this list that I have wanted to read but never got around to, or that I started but was not interested enough at the time to continue.
Right: books are ideas; they spark imaginations. That’s what makes the ignorant so very, very afraid. -rc
Hm. Does it say something about me that I’ve read a pretty big chunk of that list?
Yep! It means you have an open mind, and aren’t afraid of being exposed to new ideas. The horror! -rc
I know that “1984” was banned reading at a local high school. A granddaughter informed me when I asked if she read it yet. Also Uncle Tom’s Cabin…along with Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. When I found that out, it was required reading for my kids which I was home schooling at the time. I have a library in my home with many books on the banned list. Harry Potter…when I found out it was banned reading by a religionist who said it was devil worship, and I saw a grandson who didn’t like to read, but was reading them, I decided to read them myself to see what was so bad about them. I got hooked. There was no devil worshiping, and focused on good vs evil. The Bible itself is filled with good vs. evil. Hello?
Dammit! I’ve been avoiding “Fifty Shades,” on principle (because EVERYBODY’S reading them), now it looks like I’ll HAVE to read them.
Aw, what memories. One of my classes when working on my Masters in Lib Sc was Banned Books — we had to read a couple banned books each week and write a report: why we thought banned, etc. One of my faves, Witch of Blackbird Pond, was on a banned book list because people thought she was a witch. She wasn’t, but people thought she was (her only “crime,” she was a different religion than the rest of the town) and were prejudice against her. Great kid book.
Wow!!! So many “banned” books!?!?!? Gee, has the world changed this much in my lifetime??? I have read a lot of those banned books, some more than once. I wonder what I would have to choose from if these great works of literature were truly banned…I’m tempted to pull 1984, Brave New World, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from my shelf and give them all a re-read!!! However, I fear I may find “Brave New World” too close to reality!!!
Not a lot of change, actually: bans/attempts (aka “challenges”) go way back. Not just Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” but go even further: Galileo’s “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems” (which defended the idea that the earth went around the sun, rather than vice versa) was not only banned, but the author was thrown in prison. -rc
What?! “What’s happening to my body book” is on the ban list? That should be compulsory reading!
No wonder the US has such a high prevalence of teen pregnancies.
Absolutely. Studies prove that children who are informed about sex aren’t “encouraged” to do it more, but in actuality have less sex, fewer pregnancies, and thus fewer abortions. Yet self-appointed moralists object to virtually all “sex education” anyway. Stupid, isn’t it? -rc
A few year ago in Mexico the Secretary of the Interior (Carlos Abascal) censored a book (“Aura” by Carlos Fuentes) that has been a must-read to all teenagers in school. It make a huge media case and the censor had to withdraw the ban. in the end that mean a nice boost to the sales of the book 🙂
These days, a widespread ban almost guarantees a nice sales boost. How many people went and watched 1988’s “The Last Temptation of Christ” because of attempted bans? (I did.) -rc
Twain has been banned because of ideas; now it’s banned because of the “N” word. Historical accuracy takes second place to political correctness by those who refuse to know or acknowledge history.
Novels bring up ideas and concepts that are anathema to those who refuse to think and blindly react to threats against what they consider true, absolute and correct. Since they become self-righteous for being strong enough to withstand exposure to such things they demand that no one else be exposed to them for fear they may be weaker.
Puritanism (the overwhelming dread that somebody, somewhere, is happy) was a primary driver of American social norms for much too long and it still lingers.
Read the entire list and then read them again. Although I did reread Catcher in the Rye recently and was surprised how much I felt like I was built up for big let down. Some period pieces don’t age well.
I sometimes get similar complaints about ads in the free edition: “I’m smart enough to know the advertiser has an agenda” (or similar), “but since others aren’t as smart, I demand you stop running the ad.” The wording isn’t that clear, but the arrogance of the message is stunning. -rc
First, I have to admit that I thought “Fifty Shades of Gray” was a textbook for veterinary students on how to identify skin diseases in elephants. On a serious note, my favorite reply to those who would limit our intellectual freedom is “Fuck censorship!”. Besides stating my viewpoint with appropriate emphasis, it allows me to ascertain who has a severe case of irony deficiency, thus allowing me to focus my efforts on pulling the stick far enough out of their butt so that it no longer interferes with their vision.
I’m completely against government censorship, but Banned Books Week drives me crazy, because none of these books are banned in the US. I’m an American temporarily living in a country that actually has banned books — books that you cannot buy at stores or bring into the country yourself. It is a very different thing.
What we are really arguing about is what books are appropriate for libraries to spend their scarce resources on, and what books are age appropriate. The ALA’s position is that if you think that Shades of Grey is not appropriate for middle-schoolers, or that a library should waste its money on something like “The Turner Diaries”, then you are a book-banner. That is ridiculous.
There are absolutely people who want to ban harmless things like the Harry Potter books. But those people have no power (the books aren’t banned) and are rightly put down as cranks. But most of the complaints, if you actually read them, are people saying that they don’t want their children to be forced to read book X because they perceive it to be offensive to their beliefs.
This is the opposite of censorship: Instead of the government protecting everyone access to information from a minority’s viewpoint, it is instead forcing the majority’s viewpoint on a minority. And then the majority thumps its chest about how it is standing up for freedom of thought.
Well, I just added the list to my book marks. I have heard of most of the titles and have read a few. I guess, being the rebel that I am, I will HAVE to read them all now!
I did a little research on the list of banned/challenged books (and book series), and found that exactly half of the entries on that list have been adapted, to some degree (based on, or loosely based on, the books/series), into movies or TV series, or are at least in development for release in the next few years. A 51st from the list was even announced as “in-development” in 2007, but never really surfaced (at least not before the author, Jean Craighead George, died in 2012 — with the book “Julie of the Wolves”). Just a little bit of fun facts, I suppose. I can provide a full list somewhere, if anyone finds it interesting.
Some will simply consider it “proof” of how evil Hollywood is, rather than get the point. -rc
Some of those books were actually mandatory reading in our high school (well, they were what passed for mandatory reading in our high school — not in the bad sense).
Good to see I have read many of them.
Indeed, many of them are mandatory reading in schools here, too. -rc
Banning books is contra-intuitive. It is obviously done as a control of people. In a time when all you hear is people saying we need less government it seems pretty stupid to issue a banned book list.
Publishers should pay to have their books banned. It’s free advertising. I still remember when publishers used to print “Banned in Boston” on the jacket covers of books to boost their sales.
Yep: I’d love a serious attempt to ban my books. The publicity opportunities are fantastic! Imagine: promoting thinking! The heresy! -rc
The idea of banning literature is utterly incomprehensible to me. I’ve never been told that I couldn’t or shouldn’t read anything. I suppose that I should consider myself lucky for that.
The banned books topic was actually brought up during open house in my 7th grader’s English class. The teacher was having students pick a banned book to read for one of their assignments. I had to sign a permission slip for her to read Huckleberry Finn (my daughter’s selection).
On a side note, I am really enjoying the Kindle app on my iPad, and just bought two “banned books” to enjoy. As an avid reader and book lover, I never thought that I would go ‘digital’, but I’ve found that it is really easy to get into.
The This is True books are available on Kindle, with more coming. See the list here. -rc
At my high school, Canyon del Oro in Tucson, I was assigned to read “Catcher in the Rye”, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, and “Fahreheit 451”. On the recommended reading list, which I also read, were “Of Mice and Men”, “Brave New World”, “Slaughterhouse Five”, and “One Flew over the Cukoo’s Nest”. These are from the current banned books list; there were many more assigned and recommended readings that ended up on previous banned books lists.
After I finally morphed into an adult, I bought many more books for my daughters at their school book fairs that also ultimately ended up on the banned books lists.
I am extremely proud of the above.
I think you should be. We should all reject others’ insistence on thinking for us. -rc
I’m surprised how many books that I’ve read are on that list. My dad is a retired minister and my parents never once tried to censor what books we read. I recently mentioned to my mom, who will be 80 in November, about “Catcher In the Rye” being on that list, and that they never discouraged us boys from reading books like this. She told me that my grandma, who was raised Amish, had even read it and enjoyed it. I guess I come from a long line of subversives.
I don’t understand. WHO has banned these books? Has any of them actually been banned anywhere in the USA, Canada, Western Europe, UK or Australia? Where’s the evidence?
I gave you the links to the source: the American Library Association about “banned and challenged books” (emphasis added). Anyone can challenge a book (see “self-appointed censors” in the very first sentence). They can be parents, politicians, clergy, or just some busybody off the street. Often, schools and librarians push back. Much too often, they cave in and pull the books from the classroom or library, making them unavailable through those channels — censorship. But really: follow the links and read up on this yourself. I’m not stopping you! -rc
A Wrinkle In Time was the first or second book I ever bought — in a book club at a Marist Brothers primary school 40 years ago. You wouldn’t think you could get much more unbanned that that!
I always celebrate Banned Books Week in the elementary school library where I work. Yesterday I presented 2 books to a class of 2nd graders –The Stupids Take Off by Harry Allard and James Marshall and The Dumb Bunnies Go to the Zoo by Dav Pilkey. As I introduced the books and talked about the meaning of Banned Books Week a number of students were visibly upset. As I began to read, one little girl with tears in her eyes, said, “WHYYYYY do you keep saying bad words?!” I stopped and asked the class if they’d like me to read something different. A third of the class raised their hands and pleaded for something else. I was shocked. In over 13 years of sharing Dav Pilkey books with kids I have only received hearty laughs and big smiles until yesterday. We read a very sweet Little Critter book by Mercer Mayer instead and I encouraged those who wanted to hear the other stories to check them out. I’m still in disbelief. In a few weeks it’ll be time to read The Hallo Weiner also by Dav Pilkey. I can’t wait to see how that goes down. 🙂
The top 100 banned/challenged books is missing the #1 banned and challenged book worldwide. Why?
I clicked the link I provided for the Top 100 and it definitely shows “Harry Potter” in the #1 position. If you’re talking about some other list, I don’t know — you’ll have to ask the people who drew it up. -rc
I am happy to say that me AND/OR my 3 sons have read more books on the banned/challenged lists than we haven’t! My 2 oldest sons are productive, employed members of society. The youngest is still in high school but he is a great kid who s not afraid to challenge others when they are being obliviots — usually in a respectful manner.
I second Brian’s post. These are not banned books. They certainly aren’t government banned books. Books that have been banned by our government do not get a sales boost (see, for example, “Show Me!” by Will McBride). These are books challenged largely by parents who, for many different reasons, don’t want their children reading something. Are they misguided? In many cases the answer is likely yes. But this list doesn’t distinguish how or why the various books are challenged. In my mind, there is a large difference between a parent trying to get “Harry Potter” removed from the school library, and a parent questioning whether “The Joy of Gay Sex” should be assigned reading in a class.
Gary’s comment is rather disingenuous. “A lot of people hate freedom.” Really? I’m glad they have the freedom to express their opinion. Should our government arrest and imprison people who challenge a book? I certainly hope we don’t come to that.
You’re objecting to something that is not in my essay: I didn’t bring up “laws” or the government anywhere in that text. I have no problem whatever with parents saying they don’t want their children reading some book. I do have a problem with them insisting that no child should read a book that their own parent doesn’t object to. And I have a huge problem with libraries and schools removing books so that those parents have no choice in the matter. -rc
The best review a book can get isn’t from the New York Times bestseller list, nor from Amazon. You know a book is a worthwhile read when someone has tried to ban it.
Not far from here, I’m ashamed to say, a school district even tied to ban the dictionary, because it was unabridged and had off-color words in it. The horror!
The reason that some of us are bringing up government is because only the government can ban books. So, again, none of these are banned, and calling them that is wrong. The ALA is taking the position that every challenge is wrong and a threat to freedom — which could only be true if you believe that every teacher and librarian in the US never makes a bad choice.
Most of these books are on the “banned” list because a parent has said “I don’t think that this book is age appropriate” or “I don’t think that this book is useful”, or “I don’t want my child to be required to read this”. The first two of those are judgement calls that have to be made every day.
In fact, they are made every day by the same librarians who are crowing about how much in favor of free speech they are. Unless your local library buys literally every book ever published, the librarians are using their judgement about what is appropriate and useful to spend their limited budget on. For example, I seriously doubt that your local library is buying a whole lot of pro-KKK books. Are they “banning” these books? Of course not. I doubt that many elementary school libraries are stocking Maxim or “Fifty Shades of Grey”. That doesn’t make those banned either.
When you say “I have a huge problem with libraries and schools removing books so that those parents have no choice in the matter”, are you really upset that they are not carrying things like “The Turner Diaries” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_turner_diaries)? By choosing not to carry that, your library is not letting parents choose to have their children read that crap too.
I thought that Sue’s comment was a perfect illustration of what is really happening: employees of the state are forcing their views of what is appropriate on small children, regardless of the opinions of the parents, and then holding themselves up as champions of freedom of conscience. When exactly where that little girl’s parents get a voice about what was being read to their daughter? How many second-grade kids over the years have been upset by what she is reading them but were afraid to speak up. By her telling, a third of the class was upset but only one spoke up. And this has inspired her to do the same thing again.
You should spend a bit more time considering my words. Yes, indeed “most” of the books are “banned” because (as you say) a parent complained. Absolutely they have the right to decide what their own children should read, and bravo to them for paying attention. But, again (and I’ve said this before, right on this page), when the school removes the book based on that one complaint, that takes the choice away from every other parent.
What is a public school? A tax-funded government institution. What is a public library? A tax-funded government institution. So your conclusion is “none of these [books] are banned” because it’s not the government doing it. Sorry, but you are absolutely wrong.
As for the specific book you mentioned, I can’t say because I know nothing of it. That said, when professionals consider a purchase using their limited funds, and consider a book to be age-appropriate for those in their care, yeah: I’ll take their word on it over a single reactionary parent. What about the other parents, then? They should have the right to decide too, rather than taking the paid-for book away from all. Why is this a hard concept? -rc
I wasn’t necessarily objecting to your essay; sorry that you took my comments so harshly. I am absolutely against indiscriminate banning of literature. Rather, I was supporting Brian’s comments, and explaining my position on the issue. I guess my first comment was directed more towards the various people commenting here who seem to believe that this list of books represents books that the government has banned.
Notably, the ALA doesn’t seem to compile and distribute the results of these challenges. They lump everything into one big pile of challenged/banned books. How many of these challenges result in the school or library actually removing the book in question? I’ll reiterate Bill Piper’s request for evidence. How big of an issue is this really? Not just parents complaining, some parents will always do that. What are the stats on the success of these challenges? Without more data, how do we know that this isn’t just an example of the ALA making a mountain out of a molehill?
You weren’t harsh, I was. You do ask good questions here. The bottom line is not these books are impossible to read, but rather that we must remain vigilant because there are people out there who would dictate what others read. Like I think you do, I find that unacceptable. And even if the challenges don’t succeed very often in the U.S., other countries don’t have the Constitutional guarantees we do. I thus commend the ALA for keeping the topic in the public discourse. -rc
First, let me say thank you for having this discussion and letting those of us who disagree have our say.
I think that we agree in principle. Other than my issue with the misuse of the word “banned”, my basic disagreement is that the ALA’s position (and yours, so far as I can tell from statements like “I’ll take [a librarian’s] word on it over a single reactionary parent”) is that every single challenge to a book is wrong. (Great use of a loaded term for people that you know nothing about, by the way.) Well, occasionally it is the “reactionary” parent who is right and not us.
The problem that I have with the ALA’s theory is that I have worked in libraries for 16 years now and A) we are just as capable of screwing up as everyone else, and B) we have our own ideological blinders as well. Librarians, as a group, are much more liberal politically than the public, and that is frequently to the good. However, if you don’t think that that ideological bias isn’t reflected in what is bought and, more importantly, what isn’t, then you are fooling yourself. And by your reasoning (that if a library decides to not stock a book because someone doesn’t like it, then it is banned), how many times has the latest crap churned out by some Fox News host been “banned”? Also, librarians remove books all the time (it is called weeding), for various reasons (damage, no longer useful, shouldn’t have been bought in the first place, etc.). Are we “banning” those books as well?
I also agree completely that if there are instances of a middle school, high school or public library withdrawing things like Harry Potter books from everybody, and not just acceding to a parent’s desire that their child not read it, then those are wrong, absolutely, full stop. And if that was what the ALA was on about, then I would back them 100%.
Thanks again for letting me have my say. I’m glad that there are those who are passionate about preserving our liberties.
I do think we essentially agree. But if a school pulls a book due to one complaint from a “reactionary parent,” then the book is banned for everyone at that school (which, again, is a governmental institution); other parents don’t get to make the decision as to whether their child can read that book. Their tax dollars paid for it. Yes, they have the option of paying again and buying it privately, which gets them around the ban — if they can afford doing that. Those who can’t are indeed banned by the actions of a government agent, aren’t they?
What if the “reactionary parent” is “right” in that the book is terrible? The ends don’t justify the means: what’s “terrible” for one parent (such as the “wizardry” in Harry Potter) is just fine for another (and indeed, in this case, the vast majority of the others). Again, the only reasonable course of action in a free society is for people to decide for themselves and for their children, and not just accept someone else’s say-so — especially when in all likelihood, that self-appointed censor has not read the book in question. -rc
I’m sorry, I must not have been clear about what I meant. When I said that it is possible that the parent is right in some cases, I meant in a case were a book is unarguably age inappropriate for all children in a school. To pick an extreme example, if an elementary school has mistakenly purchased “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, and a parent points out that it isn’t appropriate, they are correct. (Unless you think that 6-11 year olds should be exposed to brutally violent rape scenes. Then we just disagree about what the words “age appropriate” mean.)
Your position and the ALA’s is basically that every single objection to a book is wrong. It is basically the Zero Tolerance policy applied to challenges. Don’t bother to investigate a challenge to find out if the parent has a point. It is a challenge, ipso facto it is wrong. Add it to the list. No need to use our judgement to evaluate it.
And you are right, too many people object to books without knowing for themselves what is in it, but there are two problems with requiring someone to read a book before they can object.
First, taken literally, that would mean that a school library couldn’t buy a book until it was read by the librarians; otherwise how could they know if it was age appropriate? Sure, they could read a review, but they wouldn’t know first hand.
Second, I don’t have to take cyanide to know that I shouldn’t give it to children. I mean, sure, I’ve been told that it is bad for humans, but maybe those people were just biased in their reporting. The only way to know for sure would be to take it myself, right? (I know, that is a silly analogy, but there is a point there.)
Anyway, I’ve had my say. At this point we are just going to have to amicably disagree. Thanks for the pleasant conversation.
I think you still don’t understand my position. I think it’s unlikely that an elementary school librarian will order “The Girl” book, and if he did, there are likely procedures in place to correct the obvious error. That said, my position is, it is NOT up to you or anyone else to decide for me what’s best for my child. That’s my job, and I do not abdicate. Simple as that. -rc
I always found Banned Book Week a little fascinating, especially because some of my favorite books are on the list. A Wrinkle in Time, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Fahrenheit 451 (which I find highly ironic). One of the reasons the idea behind censoring what all children/teenagers/anyone who go to a school or a particular library can read based on the concerns of one parent or a small group of parents baffles me is because when I was growing up, my mother didn’t censor anything I wanted to read. When I finished all the children’s books in our library at nine and started reading books from the young adult section, and when I finished those at eleven and started reading books from the general adult section, the only thing she ever asked was that if something confused or bothered me that I come to her to talk about it. If a child brings home a library book that their parent(s) feel is not appropriate for them to be reading, I feel like the far more appropriate response is for there to be a discussion between them about why they aren’t comfortable with a particular book rather than taking away access to all children entirely. And most of the times I’ve been aware of books being banned from libraries and schools, the people championing the censorship haven’t actually even read the book in question.
There was an event scheduled last month in Minnesota that was cancelled at the last minute because the author who was going to be reading from a book she had written about a pair of teenagers who befriend each other and together survive things like bullying and poverty and child abuse was univited after a small group of parents complained that the book was too controversial for the demographic it was aimed towards. One of the people involved said that she put it down after the first couple of chapters. And the parents didn’t just want the book removed from school libraries, they also wanted the librarians who had ordered copies punished. I ordered a copy of the book that afternoon.
Honestly, kids are probably going to read what they want to read, regardless of attempts made to censor them. When I was growing up, I was not allowed to watch movies that were rated above my age because my mother didn’t feel it was appropriate, which I find amusing considering my mother’s stance on books, but that’s beyond the point. So what did I do? I went to friends’ homes where their parents didn’t care what they watched and watched the movies I wanted to see anyway. The down side to this was I lost the ability to go talk to my mother if I saw something that made me feel uncomfortable because I would have been punished for having broken the rules. Censorship doesn’t work in the way that parents want it to. Limiting people’s access to information, whether it be through banning books or blocking internet access to websites that provide necessary information that some might consider to be controversial really only winds up hurting the children the parents are trying to protect in the first place.
My father forbade me to read one book: “Hells Angels” by Hunter S Thompson. I immediately read it. He forbade me to watch one movie: “MASH”. I saw it the first chance I had (a week later, on TV (*way* before VCR’s :^)
I tried the same tactic on my son to get him to read books I *wanted* him to read, Sadly, he was onto my devious tricks. Sigh.
And I proudly have read a fair number of “banned” books.
You’re going straight to hell! -rc