Things to Ban Instead of Commonly Banned Books

by Kathryn Funkhouser

Commonly Banned: Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson.
Ban Instead: Rope swings over rain-swollen creeks; heartbreak.

Commonly Banned: A Wrinkle In Time, by Madeleine L’Engle.
Ban Instead: Any doubts that you are powerful and that Calvin O’Keefe will appreciate it about you, even if you have unruly hair and glasses.

Commonly Banned: The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger.
Ban Instead: Explanations of why The Catcher in the Rye is overrated to people who’ve just said that it’s meaningful to them; attempts to talk people out of liking books that they like, in general.

Commonly Banned: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky.
Ban Instead: Facile comparisons between every coming-of-age novel and The Catcher in the Rye.

Commonly Banned: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling.
Ban Instead: Dementors and everything that is not this gif.

Commonly Banned: The Color Purple, by Alice Walker.
Ban Instead: The practice of bringing up Alice Walker and no other examples in debates about whether the publishing world is overwhelmingly white and male, as a means to argue that there is no lack of diversity there.

Commonly Banned: The Golden Compass, by Phillip Pullman.
Ban Instead: Disappointing movie adaptations of The Golden Compass, by Phillip Pullman.

Commonly Banned: The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.
Ban Instead: Eye-rolling at me when I shout “I volunteer!” to do household chores, or give the three-fingered District 12 sign of respect to the security cameras at Forever 21. I’m not just a pawn in their Games, guys.

Commonly Banned: To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.
Ban Instead: Didn’t you listen to Atticus?

Commonly Banned: Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury.
Ban Instead: Witty observations about the irony of banning Fahrenheit 451, which is itself about banned books.

Kathryn Funkhouser lives in Brooklyn and spent a great deal of the nineties trying to explain tesseracts to people using her skirt hem.

Photo by Paul Herron, via Shutterstock.