Thursday, September 29, 2011
What Book Would You Ban? A Tongue-in-Cheek Homage to Banned Books Week
Laura Miller at Salon.com stole my thunder with her article yesterday. Looking back at the books she and her colleagues read as children, she wrote up a short list of books that she wouldn't shed a tear for if they were summarily banned from reading curricula around the nation. Her mention of A Separate Peace reminds me of the Simpson's episode where Homer's mom comes back and bonds with Lisa over their mutual dislike for the works of Mr. Knowles. It still makes me giggle.
You see, it's okay to hate books. Some books deserve it. And, while I would never truly advocate for the banning of a book, I wanted to propose a little hypothetical: You are an evil dictator or an aspiring evangelical who hates free-thinking and the moral decay of the nation. Now, what book do you choose to ban?
I'm voting for Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist. For many years I had heard about this book. So many fellow readers had recommended it. It contained some deep, mystical knowledge and insight. Or so I was fooled into thinking.
Reading this adult (and not in the good way) fable caused me to sigh with exasperation, roll my eyes, and generally look as though I were having a stroke. The message was so bland, so trite, so "metaphysical." I hated it. I vowed never to read another Coelho book. I have more entertaining outlets to waste my time.
So, as the newly appointed Czar of the Universe, I ban The Alchemist. Now go read Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
(But seriously, only losers ban books.)