TTYL, Maya Angelou–Banned Books Week
Welcome to Banned Books Week 2008 on The Thin Red Line! Continuing today with the top ten "most challenged" books of 2007, today I am featuring Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (number 8 ) and Lauren Myracle’s ttyl (number 7). I believe that I first read Caged Bird when I worked for Waldenbooks on Canal Street in New Orleans in the mid–late 1980’s. This first of six volumes of auto-biography which Angelou penned regarding her earliest years is a haunting and engaging tale which begins with Angelou and her brother being sent as a toddler to live with her grandparents in Stamps, Arkansas. Challenged by her friend James Baldwin to write biography as literature, Angelou (who is also a gifted dancer and poet) completely rises to the task and tells her life story as a novel. This book has been the subject of censorship efforts pretty much since its 1970 publication. It is listed at number 5 on a list of the ten most banned books of the twenty-first century (2001–2006) and was number three on the list of most challenged books 1990–2000. If you haven’t already, do click on the title or the cover to buy the book or fetch it from your library. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings— Highly Recommended
By contrast, Lauren Myracle’s ttyl, a novel about three high school sophmores, girls who are best friends, just didn’t work to me. At just over 200 pages, the novel, which is presented entirely as a series of Instant Messages between the three two-somes and occasional chat room where all three young ladies are present, contains at least 190 too many pages of "IM Speak" (u for you, ur for your, l8r, for later, etc, etc ad nauseam) for my tastes. While I can see why teenagers and particularly teen aged girls would enjoy this story, the endless IM Speak really got on my nerves after awhile. Not Recommended.
And in response to Book Calendar, who left a very insightful comment to yesterday’s post, I certainly agree that authors have sometimes actively courted the publicity boost that can come with the threat of censorship. OTOH, I haven’t really noticed the controversial titles being especially subject to theft, though I will confess to sometimes hiding Ann Colter or Tim LaHaye in the overflow shelves. (shhhh, don’t tell). What seems to me to be much more frequently stolen are audio CD’s and movie DVD’s, the empty boxes of which I sometimes find when doing pickups.
For reasons I am unable to determine, the full post page for this post is not functioning at this time. Will fix ASAP.