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Aerden
aerden
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July 2017
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Aerden [userpic]
On Reading Banned Books

I've been reading that Banned Book Meme that goes around every few months or so, and it always amuses me what books I and my friends have or haven't read and the stories behind why we have or have not read those books.

I have read Candide--three times, in fact--as reading assignments for school. I remember vividly that my first reaction upon being required to read it in college was to think, But I already read this in high school! I don't want to read it again. It's not fair!

Notice that I was NOT thinking, I've read this once, and I know it so thoroughly that it is ridiculous to require me to read it again. No, with me it was more like, I've read it once and mercifully forgotten every last word of it except for the phrase, "We must tend our garden." and I never want to read it again!

On the other hand, I never had to read Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar for school, for which I am thankful. I once had to read Plath's poem "Daddy," and that was enough to turn me off of Plath for life. lrodell assures me that The Bell Jar is worth reading, though, so I might give it a shot.

I had to read Jude the Obscure for 12th grade English. Sheer torture.

I read 1984, Brave New World, and A Clockwork Orange right after each other in 11th grade, immediately followed by Ayn Rand's We The Living. Of them all, I enjoyed We The Living the most, followed by Brave New World. The reason? Brave New World had color in it. I totally hated 1984 because the mental imagery, even more than the texztual message, was dingy, dull, and gray. The book made me feel as lifeless as the society it depicted.

I was surprised that Frankenstein was not on the list of banned books. I'm also surprised that Venus in Furs isn't on the list, either. There's also a Sherlock Holmes book by Michael Dibdin that posits that Sherlock Holmes was Jack the Ripper, which I think ought to be on the banned list simply because it is sacrilege. (g)

Okay, me being a major Holmes fan aside--Jack the Ripper was a real person. He murdered real woman. To say that a fictional character was the real killer is just absurd and insulting.

Comments

If I had to read "1984," "A Brave New World" and "A Clockwork Orange" all in a row I think I'd just shoot myself. That much dystopic literature one right after another would be too much for my Pollyanna brain. ;)

Actually, of all of those, I'm like you. I liked "Brave New World" best. Which is strange, becasue of all of them, I think I see BNW as the most likely senario (though lately 1984 has been coming more to mind).

The only phrase I remember from "Candide" was "The best of all possible worlds." Or am I thinking of some other ironic Italian?

I probably would have hated being required to read all three of those novels, but it helps a lot to choose to read them. Mainly, I was curious, and I thought I ought to read them, so I'd know what they were about.

"Best of all possible worlds."--Yes, I remember that, too! Maybe I'm not as literarily brain-dead as I thought. (g)

Chantal