My Inadvertent Participation in Banned Books Week

Not that I wouldn’t gladly plan to defiantly read a banned book.

“Take that, small-minded censors! Ha!” (And I’d flourish the book and toss my head and so forth.)

It’s just that I didn’t realize it was Banned Books Week until Dappled Things mentioned it. (They also hadn’t realized it.)

Imagine my gratification at discovering I already was reading a Banned Book.

And then my consternation at discovering I was reading a Banned Book.

Someone banned or challenged The Lord of the Rings?

Oh, J.R.R. Tolkien, what have you wrought in The Lord of the Rings, to be thus summarily dismissed (or at least to have such a dismissal attempted)? Is it the elves? Is it the magic? Is it the hobbits? Is it the triumph of good over evil … the use of seemingly unimportant people to do tremendous works of salvation? I’m stumped.

Though on a completely different tack than banned books, it’s the first time I’ve read the whole thing this deliberately and slowly. Just taking in all the scenery on the way instead of dashing to the finish line of the great adventure. I’m enjoying the heck out of it.

About Julie Davis
  • Jane the Actuary

    Magic. Elves. of course. But “banned books week” is deceptive — books are put on the list due to a single parent expressing concern, and include books where parents reasonably question the age-appropriateness of including them in a class’s required reading.

    • Dale

      Yes, the list is misleading. A book may be banned, or it may simply be challenged. It may involve nothing more than a protest which doesn’t directly involve the local libraries or schools.

      The latter situation seems to explain the listing of Lord of the Rings. According to the American Library Associations website for Banned Books Week, the novel was:

      “Burned in Alamagordo, NM (2001) outside Christ Community Church along with other Tolkien novels as satanic.”
      http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/classics/reasons

      That seems to be the only reason Tolkein’s work was included in the list.

      • jbdavis

        Evidently there was also concern that it glamorized smoking … the movie, that is … and that concern was put onto the book also.


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