Guilty As Charged
Garth Muses on His Reading Choices
All this talk of banning books has inspired Garth to remember his own childhood encounters with banned books:
“I have broken many laws, I must confess. As a child I read Winnie the Pooh and Charlotte’s Web, both banned in some schools because they depict animals talking. I have read The Lorax, banned in one California school district for 'criminalizing the forestry industry.' As a young adult I delved deeply into the darkness of the banned book bazaar, reading Ulysses, Tropic of Cancer, Lolita, The Metamorphosis, Slaughterhouse-five, The Grapes of Wrath, and Brave New World…all within the period of just a couple of years! (Oh, the horror!) And what has all this criminal activity done for me? How has it corrupted my soul?
"I suggest to you that my soul is just fine. I am fairly normal--at least in public, which is all anyone can really hope for. Rather than becoming corrupted by these banned books, as Gollum was corrupted by the Ring (JRR Tolkien was banned, too!), I was emboldened by them. These books made me want to tell stories, too. Not stories that would be controversial for controversy’s sake, but good, solid stories that would provoke thought in my readers.
"And so, to my friends in Highland Park, as well as to readers around the world: I encourage you to take control of your personal literary canon and read what you find thought-provoking and inspiring, whether or not it fits into someone else’s definition of ‘appropriate.’ For if we let others dictate what we can think and imagine, eventually our world will resemble the fictional worlds of 1984 and Fahrenheit 451—both books that have been banned at times...” - Garth