BY EDITOR SHAUNA SKYE
Ok, I’m taking up Assistant Editor Paypabak Writer’s banned book blogger challenge due to it being “Banned Book Week” in Second Life, so will briefly mention three of the challenged books that stand out most to me on the list. Reading is good.
The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger: This was assigned reading in my school, and I must say one of the few times I liked homework. Protagonist Holden Caulfield’s first person narrative and attitude held the attention of my teenage self. Why have people wanted to ban this book? For various reasons. Some view it as “obscene” and it has even been cited as “anti-white.” It’s been many years since I read Catcher in the Rye, and I can’t recall anything obscene with it, just that Holden Caulfield was a character I liked and could relate to. Weird trivia: The Catcher in the Rye is linked to murders and attempted murder, the most famous being Mark David Chapman who shot John Lennon. Mark was was so obsessed with the book’s main character that he wanted to change his name to Holden Caulfield.
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck: Challenged for profanity, and for having racial slurs among other things. It was assigned reading in my school, and again, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The book stuck in my head even more than the Catcher in the Rye, but that could be due to seeing the film version a few years later. Now I tend to think of Gary Sinise and John Malkovich as the main characters, and every time I see a little rabbit I now think “George” wanting to “tend the rabbits.” This story is one that evokes emotion. I’d say that one can’t read it or even see the film without feeling a little bit of something.
A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess: The film adaption was Rated X in the USA until the sex footage was toned down, and it was taken out of the UK and difficult to see for about 27 years. The book, for me personally, was less jolting probably due to it being written in futuristic slang language “Nadsat.” I think Nadsat fascinated me more than the story did. For sure A Clockwork Orange, both book and film, should be limited to a mature audience. The main character’s favourite word is “ultraviolence” so that should tell you something. Trivia: When I created my first alt avatar in Second Life I decided to make an “evil brother.” Alex from A Clockwork Orange was the inspiration. Why? Alex, for me, brings conflicting emotion. No denying he’s a nasty piece of work, and a rather heartless character. But he’s bold and attractive too. That combination is all the more disturbing.
So there you have it. Three banned or challenged books that have made an impact on me.