My last post, banned books I have loved, featured ten books that are often banned or challenged by conservatives. I told the story in that post of another book I was reading when book banning first entered my life. It was far more suggestive and sexual than what the ones they were seeking to ban, causing me to opine that conservatives must not read much.
So here is my list of books that to my knowledge have never been challenged or banned, but if conservatives actually read they might be.
1. The Heaven Makers by Frank Herbert
This is the book I was reading when my school was trying to ban Romeo and Juliet from the library. What I am going to say about the Heaven Makers is true of hundreds, if not thousands, of other books. There is sex in it. Not a lot, but as much as Romeo and Juliet, or a dozen other books that have been banned for sexual content. Conservatives don’t seem to get themselves into a book banning fever over sex in the average genre novel.
The point is that the classics often get attacked for relatively minor things that abounded in genre writing.
2. Billy Budd, by Herman Melville
While a Texas school board went after Moby Dick for head scratchingly vague reasons, no one seems to notice that his other great work, Billy Budd is about a homosexual encounter. The language is veiled, but the subtext is there.
Maybe subtext is okay because the conservatives can ignore it. Or maybe they see that as the proper place for any LGBT discussion, in the shadows. Either way it makes no sense to go after Moby Dick but not Billy Budd.
3. Darkover Landfall by Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Left Hand of Darkness is frequently challenged for, among other things, presenting the concept of a hermaphroditic race that can become male or female depending on their potential mate. Darkover Landfall does the exact same thing, with Chieiri, with not a peep from conservatives.
4. Odd Girl Out
Again what I have to say about Odd Girl Out could easily be said of anything Ann Bannon, or many of her contemporaries, wrote. Bannon was noted for saying that there was one rule about writing gay novels in the days before stonewall, you could say anything as long as it had an unhappy ending. Unhappy endings aside, Bannon’s work gives us a glimpse into what gay life was like in the fifties.
Odd Girl Out was published in 1957. In 1975 Annie on my Mind was published, and immediately banned for violating the unspoken rule about unhappy endings. My point is that conservatives seem to object to specific LGBT titles that come to their attention, while entire genres of books fly under their radar.
5. The Moon Under Her Feet by Clysta Kinstler
Conservatives get up in arms over the Davinci Code, especially Dan Brown’s suggestion that Jesus might have been married to Mary Magdalene and they might have had children. Little do they realize, that was not Brown’s creation but a long standing, if heretical, belief in many gnostic sects. And someone already wrote the book. The Moon Under Her Feet retells the entire story of Jesus through the eyes of Mary Magdalene. It was published in 1991, beating Brown to the punch by more than twelve years.
6. Every fantasy book ever written
Conservatives want to ban Harry Potter because of stuff and reasons. Magic is treated as normal. There are battles of good and evil. Demons and spirits appear.
You know what, there’s a whole genre of that sort of thing. I can’t even begin to list them. If you don’t like this sort of stuff, fine. If you want to keep your kids away from its evil influence, don’t let them near any library, bookstore or pile of books larger than two, because it’s everywhere. For that matter, don’t let them read the bible either. There’s magic in it, stories of angels and miracles, battles of good and evil.
I guess my conclusion is this, I disagree with banning books on principle. I don’t, however, object to people having strongly held beliefs that are different then mine. But could you please be a little more consistent about those beliefs?