Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Banned Books Week 2023

When I was younger, I dreamed of writing a banned book.

More specifically, I dreamed of being as controversial and frequently banned author as Judy Blume.  She was my hero and I hoped that one day I, too, would be called a communist for writing openly about female adolescence.

Or something of the sort.

As a reader of many banned and challenged books, some of which I studied and loved in college and others that I happened upon on my own, I have always loved participating in Banned Books Week.  Unfortunately, most years I forget it's even coming until it's halfway over (or some years, regrettably, entirely over) and this year was no different.

As always, there are some repeats on the list of frequently challenged books of 2022.  Some of these books make it onto the list more years than not, and since I always try to read at least one book from the list, I've read several of these.  This year there are actually 13 books on the list, due to one four-way tie and one two-way tie.

Without further ado, here are the most frequently challenged books of 2022:

  1. Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe
  2. All Boys Aren't Blue by George M. Johnson
  3. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  4. Flamer by Mike Curato
  5. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  7. Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
  8. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  9. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
  10. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  11. Crank by Ellen Hopkins
  12. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
  13. This Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson

I don't think it's any coincidence that the majority of these books were challenged for LGBTQIA+.  The second most common theme seems to be a "claim" of sexual explicitness.  Most of it isn't fantasy; the majority is realistic fiction, with some nonfiction thrown in for good measure.

It might seem like a strange thing to blog about on a vampire fiction blog, but I've always been impressed by authors who tackle tough subjects headlong and challenge society's delicate sensibilities.  Despite the dreams I once had, I don't think Ruby Ransome will be banned (I don't think she'll be well-known enough to be challenged like that), but I hope that through her I'll at least achieve my dream of writing something worthy of being banned.

Speaking of Ruby, NaNoWriMo is coming soon!  Stay tuned for some long-overdue updates on my novel's progress.

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