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  • Brian Boone 5:00 pm on 2018/01/04 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , john steinbeck, , , , , ,   

    6 Classic Books That Almost Had Completely Different Titles 

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    Have you ever written a book? It’s very, very hard. Writers have to come up with thousands of perfect words and arrange them just so to create a thrilling and original narrative that also expresses their worldview via memorable and compelling characters. Doing all that requires a set of long-form expression skills, which is quite the opposite of coming up with a title—or encapsulating the entire novel into a handful of well-chosen words. A lot of writers can’t make a book and then also come up with a great title—the latter could and maybe should be up to editors and the marketing department. Here are some beloved classic novels whose authors nearly cursed with a terrible title. 

    Where the Wild Horses Are, by Maurice Sendak
    Where the Wild Things Are is a universally beloved childhood favorite. That’s probably because it’s a lot of fun, but also a little bit scary, and Maurice Sendak never coddles or placates the reader. The friendly monsters called “Wild Things” are so well and mysteriously named that its perplexing that Sendak only called the book what he did to solve a problem. He’d initially planned to write Where the Wild Horses Are. Except that when he sat down to illustrate, he had a really hard time drawing horses. Horses became “Things” and the book’s name changed, too.  

    Tomorrow is Another Day, by Margaret Mitchell
    Let’s get real: Gone with the Wind is a powerful, epic tale of war, love, self-respect, proto-feminism, and believing in onself…but it’s also a bit of a soap opera. As such, Margaret Mitchell nearly stuck her Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil War novel with a number of soapy titles, such as Tote the Weary Load, Bugles Sang True, and Not in Our Stars. Still, the book almost went to print under the name Tomorrow is Another Day…even though that’s a total spoiler for the book’s moving final line. Ultimately Mitchell found the best title from “Non sum qualis eram bonae sub regno Cynarae,” a poem by 19th century French poet Ernest Dowson. 

    Something That Happened, by John Steinbeck
    John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men is history’s second-best Great Depression novel, second only to Steinbeck’s The Grapes of WrathAs such, it’s a sad tale about desperate men doing desperate things, and Steinbeck reportedly wanted to make sure that the novel didn’t judge the characters one way or the other for the book’s violent conclusion. He tried to express that by going full objective journalism for the title, which is so nonjudgmental that it’s kind of hilarious. He changed his mind when he found some words that said the same thing, that humans are victims of fate, only more poetically. They were in a poem, in fact: Robert Burns’ “Of Mice and Men.” 

    The Last Man in Europe, by George Orwell
    Up until a few months before publication, Orwell was going to call, his novel about a future dystopian totalitarian state in which Big Brother was always watching The Last Man in Europe. At virtually the last minute, Orwell’s publishers asked him to come up something more commercial than what sounds like a book about the last human alive after a zombie apocalypse. His solution: the blunt, ominous far-off futuristic year in which the scary book took place: 1984.  

    Trimalchio in West Egg, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    F. Scott Fitzgerald suggested many high-fallutin’ titles for what ultimately became The Great Gatsby, his book about the rise and fall of the personification of the American Dream in the Jazz Age. Under the Red, White, and Blue was a little too on the nose, as was Gold-Hatted Gatsby. The High-Bounding Lover was just a little-too-1920s. Fitzgerald also really wanted to call his book Trimalchio in West Egg. The latter part reflects the book’s setting; the first part is a literary reference to Trimalchio, a character who enjoys life in obscene excess in the 1st century Roman book The Satyricon. 

    Panasonic, by Don DeLillo
    DeLillo’s meditation on modern life and its many pollutants was titled Panasonic reportedly up to the last round of galleys. But then the Matsushita Corporation, which controlled the trademark of the well-known consumer electronics company, wouldn’t grant permission. So White Noise it was.

    What working titles of classic books are you glad were ultimately revised?

    The post 6 Classic Books That Almost Had Completely Different Titles appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Melissa Albert 1:34 pm on 2015/06/15 Permalink
    Tags: 1950s, , , , , john steinbeck, , , , ,   

    Big Books from the 1950s 

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    The 1950s saw the emergence of literary lights including J.D. Salinger and Jack Kerouac, authors whose books questioned the status quo and the midcentury preoccupation with conformity. The decade’s best books were mired in the dark realities of recent history, and looked forward to seismic social shifts to come. Novelists explored cultural norms through timeless dystopic visions, and one of fantasy literature’s most enduring series was launched. These are some of the decade’s most indispensable books.

    The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
    Considered the ur-coming of age novel of the modern era, Catcher is a book that grows with you. A bleakly comic first-person cri de couer, it follows recently expelled prep student Holden Caulfield on an aimless ramble around New York City, through run-ins with former friends, a visit to the Central Park ducks, and his return to his parents’ luxe apartment, exploring his aching, barely submerged desire to reclaim the innocence of childhood.

    Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
    This often-banned book is a love story, a paean to 1950s Americana, a breathtaking portrait of a sociopath, and the most memorable road-trip book you’ll ever read. When European academic Humbert Humbert first lays eyes on Lolita, he’s a rootless wanderer with movie-star looks—and she’s a 12-year-old “nymphet,” the daughter of Humbert’s faded maneater of a landlady. He marries the mother to get to the girl, and a twisted tale of obsession begins. After mom is dispatched, Humbert and his Lolita cross the country together, on a soda-pop-and-comics–fueled trip to keep them a step ahead of anyone who might suspect the true nature of their relationship. Lolita’s fate inspires pity and horror, as Nabokov’s sublime prose inspires awe, journeying toward a dark end for his pedophile protagonist that’s intimated in the book’s first pages. In the words of Humbert Humbert, “You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.”

    East of Eden, by John Steinbeck
    Steinbeck’s California epic is Biblical in its proportions as well as its themes, recalling both Cain and Abel and the snake in the Garden. Brothers Charles and Adam Trask, one viciously violent and the other a sensitive seeker, play out their roles as Cain and Abel, complicated by the arrival of a psychopathic cipher of a woman who becomes the mother to Adam’s own two sons. Elsewhere in their Salinas Valley home, silver-tongued Irish patriarch Samuel Hamilton raises a clan with his dour wife, intersecting with the Trasks and representing one stripe of American ingenuity and self-made success. This multigenerational epic brims with landscape poetry and sensitive character studies, and explores the endlessly resilient properties of the human spirit.

    On the Road, by Jack Kerouac
    Kerouac’s Beat masterpiece defined a certain kind of American seeker, one who rejected societal norms and struck out for an unencumbered life. And the fact that Kerouac lived this life himself, and loosely based his books on his own experiences, have only made them more appealing. His fictional alter ego Sal Paradise criss-crosses the country with a pack full of sandwiches and, often, with companion Dean Moriarty, a thinly veiled Neal Cassady. They seek out “the mad ones…mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved,” chasing down the transient highs of new experience and an unfettered existence. Kerouac famously claimed to have written the book in three coffee-fueled weeks, and more than 50 years later, his novel still sings with youthful immediacy.

    Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
    In Golding’s chilling masterwork, a group of boys wash up on a deserted island after a shipwreck. The boys create a microcosmic society, one that rapidly breaks down as their middle-class manners decay. A survival-of-the-fittest free-for-all ensues. The battle for the souls of every boy on the island boils down to a showdown between prime antagonist Jack, a violent alpha who believes might equals right, and Ralph, a sensitive boy who desperately fights against the descent into tribal chaos. The novel can be read as an allegory or an indictment of mindless conformity, or as the scariest, most mesmerizing beach book you’ll ever pick up.

    Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
    Ellison’s bleak and bracing portrayal of the politicization of a young African American man stands among literature’s most powerful indictments of American racism. Over the course of the narrative, Ellison’s unnamed protagonist is transformed from an ambitious academic, enduring humiliation to secure a scholarship at an elite black college, to a political firebrand working for an interracial organization called the Brotherhood, to the titular “invisible man,” hiding in one of New York City’s forgotten corners in order to write his story. The book argues that the honoring of selfhood, even over community, is the most powerful political statement an oppressed individual can make.

    Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote
    Holly Golightly, the quicksilver heroine of Capote’s indispensable New York novella, has come to serve as shorthand for a certain kind of woman—a proto manic pixie dream girl given a second, equally timeless, life onscreen by Audrey Hepburn. The novel is narrated by a writer who meets Holly after she moves into his building. She’s a completely self-made construction, a penniless farm girl who forms herself into a knowing member of café society, living on the money she gets from the rich men who adore her. It’s a wistful story of missed connections, hard-lost naiveté, and a bygone world where beautiful women were given money to go to the powder room.

    Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
    Bradbury’s dystopian classic still has the power to strike fear in the heart of readers. It imagines a world in which human life is cheap, television is king, and books are illegal and subject to burning. When our protagonist, fireman and career book burner Guy Montag, meets a young woman who piques his curiosity about the world as it was before, he starts taking risks to save books from the flames, and finds himself on the run. This is a cautionary tale about the evils of censorship, conformity, and anti-intellectualism, published at a time when many Americans were enjoying their first television set.

    Doctor Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak
    Pasternak’s controversial, Nobel Prize-winning bestseller went unpublished in his home country of Russia for 30 years after its 1957 release, and Pasternak was blocked by the Soviet government from receiving the Nobel prize during his lifetime. The novel follows Dr. Yury Zhivago through the years of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath, as he struggles to choose between his wife and Lara, the captivating wife of another man, whom he seems fated to keep meeting. Their doomed love story spans years and multiple separations, serving as a melancholy throughline of a tale encompassing a turbulent chapter of modern Russian history.

    The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
    J.R.R. Tolkien’s three-volume masterwork, starting with this 1954 novel, introduced into popular culture perhaps the most meticulously created fantasy world in literature. Complete with maps, languages, and a deep sense of its own invented history, Tolkien’s story captures the journey to destroy a dangerous ring undertaken by a quartet of hobbits, the wizard Gandalf, and others. Its settings ranges from the village of Hobbiton to the elflands to the peaks of Mordor, and its indelible characters have become an indestructible part not just of fantasy fiction but of the pop-culture landscape.

    Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious
    Metalious’s scandalous, often vicious account of small-town secrets, dissatisfactions, and hypocrisies inspired both a film and a soap opera that ran from 1964 to 1969. The placid exterior of the fictional Peyton Place, New Hampshire, hides a morass of societal ills, explored largely through three women: unmarried mother Constance Mackenzie; her daughter, Allison; and Selena Cross, a girl saddled with poverty and a sexually violent stepfather. In an era when keeping up appearances ruled, this book’s exploration of the darkness lurking behind even the most brightly painted doors ignited readers’ imaginations.

    Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand
    Rand’s controversial bestseller, both revered and reviled, is not just a narrative, but the distillation of her closely held political and moral beliefs. Against the backdrop of a dystopian U.S., railroad vice president Dagny Taggart navigates threats to her company and the compromised expectations of family and friends. When fellow business leaders start disappearing, the mystery leads Taggart and her lover, industrialist Hank Rearden, to John Galt, a man determined to bring down the government through a business strike. Galt serves as a mouthpiece for Rand’s Objectivist beliefs.

    From Here to Eternity, by James Jones
    The first of James Jones’ trio of World War II novels, followed by 1962’s The Thin Red Line and 1978’s Whistle, From Here to Eternity won the National Book Award and was made into a movie starring Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, and Frank Sinatra. It centers on three soldiers stationed in Hawaii in the warm months of 1941, as they brawl and haze and betray each other, attempt to assert their individual will, and discover what happens to the nail that stands up.

    A Good Man Is Hard to Find, by Flannery O’Connor
    O’Connor’s stories, like life, are “nasty, brutish and short,” populated with tricksters, ciphers, and benighted people born into small destinies they’re unable to escape. Her stories are also darkly funny and addictively readable, each a window onto the small tragedies and even smaller minds of farm folk, drifters, and opportunists in the heartland.

    Gift from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
    This wildly popular bestseller, written by an acclaimed author also known as the wife of aviator Charles Lindbergh, is an essayistic exploration of the joys of solitude, marriage and love, growing old, and Morrow Lindbergh’s own experiences as a woman of the era. It’s a book meant to nurture readers’ souls, full of wisdom that rings true more than a half century later.

    The Power of Positive Thinking, by Norman Vincent Peale
    This is the book that launched a thousand imitators. Another inspirational text that has stood the test of time, Peale’s self-help classic has a simple but timeless message of positivity, grace under pressure, and treating yourself with kindness. The rewards his methods promise include easing of worry and the realization of goals—and with millions of copies sold, who can argue with its enduring power?

    See all Get Pop-Cultured events at your local Barnes & Noble store >
  • Ginni Chen 3:30 pm on 2015/05/12 Permalink
    Tags: , , , john steinbeck, ,   

    How to Incorporate Book Nerdery Into Every Holiday 

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    Everyone loves holidays. A whole day where you don’t have to go to work? A whole day where your boss is federally mandated to leave you alone? A whole day to do whatever you want?! For book nerds, that means a whole, beautiful, responsibility-free day to read stacks and stacks of novels.

    Except, well, there’s just one thing—holidays are also supposed to be a time you spend with friends and family, celebrating and commemorating a significant occasion. So how do you indulge in your love of books on your one day off, while still spending time with loved ones in a thoughtful, observant way?

    Easy. Just incorporate book nerdery into every holiday! Here’s how:

    Throw a party and make everyone bring a book.
    Whatever the occasion, host a potluck and ask everyone to bring a book along with a dish. Celebrating the Fourth? Ask each of your friends to bring their favorite book and dish from their home state! President’s Day? Ask everyone to read up on their favorite president, bring their biographies, and bring the former president’s favorite dishes.

    Have a book club meeting just for books about the holiday.
    Here’s an option for those who wish to observe holidays quietly and thoughtfully. On Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day, round up your book club members and honor the men and women of the armed forces by reading about their experiences. Discuss the literature of writers like Joseph Heller, Tim O’Brien, Kurt Vonnegut, Karl Marlantes, and Robert Heinlein, to name just a few.

    Read to the elderly.
    If you have a day off and want to read, why not read to someone? Look for volunteer programs in your neighborhood and offer to read aloud to the elderly at a nursing home or to people in need at community centers.

    Make “story hour” a thing again.
    Grab some blankets and some snacks, round up your friends, and settle down for story hour! Pick a short story that’s perfect for the occasion. Read it out loud to everyone, or get it on audio.

    Play holiday-themed literary trivia.
    Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean your brain gets a day off! Write up some literary trivia questions, divide your friends into teams, and see which team reigns supreme in smarts. If you want to get really book-nerdy about Labor Day, ask trivia questions about John Steinbeck, Upton Sinclair, Barbara Kingsolver, and many other writers who shed light on the plight of workers.

    Put together a literary scavenger hunt.
    Everyone loves scavenger hunts. Everyone. Yes, even people who insist they just want to nap by the pool. Organize a hunt that shows off your literary nerdery! Leave your friends clues they can only decode with your favorite books. “Roses are red, violets are blue, if you give a mouse a cookie, you’re sure to find this clue.”

    Host a Yankee book swap!
    Invite everyone over to eat, drink, and give the gift of books. The rules of Yankee swap apply, but solely to gifts of books. Everyone brings one book, wraps it up, and sticks it under a tree. At the end of the night, all your guests will go home with a new novel and your party will be the best book nerd bash ever!

    Volunteer with a book drive or with a literacy campaign.
    Giving back to the community is one of the best ways to spend a holiday. If you’re a book nerd, seek out opportunities to share your love of books with others. Check your local area for ways you can help. Even if everything’s closed on a holiday, you can still do your part—spend the day organizing book donations from your friends or throwing a holiday party fundraiser.

    How do you incorporate your love of books into holidays?

  • Monique Alice 6:11 pm on 2014/10/02 Permalink
    Tags: angle of repose, , , close range: wyoming stories, , , john steinbeck, , , the grapes of wrath, the hot kid, wallace stegner, ,   

    Best of The West: Painted Horses and 6 Other Western Fiction Favorites 

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    Painted HorsesMalcolm Brooks’ new book, Painted Horses, is getting loads of acclaim from fans and critics alike. It’s a sweeping novel with all the trappings of a classic Western: the unforgiving-yet-gorgeous landscape, the struggle between greed and compassion, and, of course, lots of horses. The main character, Catherine LeMay, is an ambitious young archaeologist commissioned to search for Native American artifacts in a desolate canyon in 1950s Montana. Her ruthless employer hired her for her gender and youth, betting she’ll fail at her task and thus allow him to flood the canyon and build a profitable dam. We follow Catherine in her endeavors, occasionally taking jaunts through her memories. Along the way, we meet John H., a vaguely sad and sharply charming mustanger-cum-landscape painter; Miriam, Catherine’s smart and capable Native American assistant; and Jack Allen, a brutal horse catcher assigned as Catherine’s guide. The characters are well-developed, and the novel begins at a comfortable, methodical pace before building to a nail-biting crescendo. Brooks’ writing shines most brilliantly in his depiction of the canyon’s wild horses. He brings these creatures vividly to life, capturing their indomitable, majestic spirit and presenting it as a metaphor for the West itself.

    Now, be warned: if you read Painted Horses (which you should!), you’re likely to find yourself suddenly head-over-heels for Westerns. Luckily, we’ve got you covered, with these essential cornerstones of any Western collection.

    Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry
    I’m just going to come out and say this: there are books out there as good as Lonesome Dove, but few that are better. This book and its sequel, Streets of Laredo, simultaneously show the 19th-century West at its grittiest and most idealistic. Retired Texas Rangers Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call decide to take a break from ranching and ragging on one another to take one last adventure together: a cattle drive to Montana, where they plan to settle for good. Put mildly, there are some bumps in the road. You’ll laugh hard and cry harder, and it will all be completely worth it. Trust me.

    The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
    We don’t traditionally think of this Great American Novel as a Western—it’s short on cowboys and whiskey, for one thing. There are barely even any cows! However, I make the case that it should be included. The Joad family, decimated by the Great Depression, decides to add their number to that of so many Americans forced West to look for work in the Dust Bowl migration. From the outset, the Joads’ journey is hard, and it only gets harder as they get closer to the promised land of California. Though this novel will bend your faith in humanity nearly to the breaking point, it will also reassure you that hope does indeed spring eternal. There is no greater ode to American tenacity, stoicism, and dignity. In my book, that makes The Grapes of Wrath an honorary Western. No library is complete without it.

    The Hot Kid, by Elmore Leonard
    Okay, after those two heavy reads, you’re really going to need some fun. Happily, nothing’s more fun than reading Elmore Leonard. He introduces us to Carlos “Carl” Webster, a U.S. Marshall sworn to rid 1920s Oklahoma of such scum as “Babyface” Nelson and the notorious John Dillinger. Leonard is at his best with this work, giving us line after line of quick-witted dialogue delivered by a host of, shall we say, idiosyncratic characters. The word this novel conjures up is that defining hallmark of the West itself: wild.

    Close Range: Wyoming Stories, by Annie Proulx
    With this collection of 11 short stories, Proulx evokes the shimmering, hazy line on the Western horizon. You know, the one that blends fantasy with reality. In addition to featuring some of the best titles ever, like “People in Hell Just Want a Drink of Water,” these stories truly captivate us with the beautiful mystery that is the American West. Proulx sweeps into rural Wyoming like a dusty gust of wind, picking up her characters one by one just long enough to make you miss them when she sets them down again. This collection is forlorn, magical, and hauntingly beautiful. Bonus: it features a little story you may have heard of, by the name of “Brokeback Mountain.”

    Blood Meridian, or The Evening Redness in the West, by Cormac McCarthy
    Blood Meridian, as it is typically known, is perhaps best defined as the anti-Western Western. Think the Old West was all fun and games and teepees and singin’ songs under the stars? Well, it wasn’t, and McCarthy is here to let you know it. Some people say that if you haven’t read McCarthy before, you shouldn’t start here, but I say, if you’re going to do a thing, just go do it, goshdarnit! With that said, proceed with extreme caution if you have a weak stomach. As the title suggests, there’s quite a bit of blood. And guts. And other bodily fluids. You get the picture. If you can get past that, you’re in for a literary masterpiece. Many have compared McCarthy’s prose to that of Faulkner, and with good reason. It’s driving, lyrical, and seems to follow its own set of rules. Like Faulkner, McCarthy doesn’t hold your hand through the tough times. He presents the heart-rending truths of the 1850s frontier with a dispassionate frankness. His nonchalance makes you want to wail at him, “Hey, don’t you care? People are dying horrific deaths over here and everything is terrible!” The seeming indifference of his narration is what stirs readers’ own humanity. Pretty clever, if you can stomach it.

    Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner
    Angle of Repose centers on Lyman Ward, a history professor confined to a wheelchair by a devastating bone disease. As Lyman comes to terms with his illness and disintegrated marriage, he finds purpose in exploring the lives of his grandparents through letters written by his grandmother, Susan. Spanning two centuries and the width of the North American continent, this book is a treatise on the recurring themes of life, and in particular, marriage. Compromise, self-discovery, betrayal, and bitter disappointment are all central figures in this grand, ambitious novel. Another main character is, of course, the West itself. Susan’s marriage to husband Oliver comes springing to life against a backdrop of pioneer camps and ore mines as the two follow a wayward path that winds throughout the frontier landscape. It’s a rough-yet-elegant novel that will leave you wistful for a time you’ve never known, and, I’m afraid, will do little to quell your budding Western addiction.

    What are your favorite westerns?

  • Chrissie Gruebel 4:30 pm on 2014/09/24 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , john steinbeck, , little red riding hood, , martin handford, mary o'hara, , , ,   

    11 Books That Were Banned for Completely Ridiculous Reasons 

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    Happy Banned Books Week! In honor of this glorious celebration of our freedom to read what we want, let’s pause for a sec and remember there are people out there still trying to take this freedom away for dumb reasons like not wanting their kids to read the word “nipple.”

    Actually, now that we think of it…it’s kinda quaint that people still think they can ban books at all, right? It’s the most ineffective power trip in the world! The U.S. government can’t even keep their top-secret spy stuff from the public—how does anyone expect to keep The Adventures of Captain Underpants away from a kid who is basically made out of internet? So let’s all get together and laugh in the face of censorship. Here’s a list of books that were banned and/or challenged based on…well, based on basically nothing.

    Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh
    Why: Because she SPIES (and lies and curses and sets a bad example for kids or whatever)—basically, because she does exactly what Louise Fitzhugh promises in the title. If anything, this is a lesson in honesty and truth in advertising. She could’ve called it Harriet, the Perfect Child but she didn’t, did she? Plus, show us an 11-year-old who isn’t lying and spying and making mischief from time to time, and we’ll show you that this 11-year-old is a cyborg in human skin.

    Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
    Why: They called it “sexually offensive,” “immoral,” and “profane,” but let’s be honest here: the real answer is “TOO MUCH PERIOD.” Hey, tween gals on the cusp of lady-dom? Don’t panic! Don’t panic even though you live in a world where no one likes to acknowledge that this happens to you! Forget Judy Blume and turn your attention toward these tampon commercials where women do nothing but turn cartwheels on a beach. Yeah. Thiiiiis is reality. Shhh.

    Where’s Waldo, by Martin Handford
    Why: Side boob. Seriously. Yes. In this hot mess of a book that’s supposed to make it difficult for you to find anything, someone managed to pick out an errant side boob in the beach scene of the 1987 version. Because, per usual, women’s bodies—even the cartoon ones—ruin everything and start wars and stuff. Avert your eyes forever.

    Little Red Riding Hood, by Brothers Grimm
    Why: In the 1987 version, which was adapted from the original fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood was shown carrying a bottle of wine in her basket. But, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we ask you this: What’s honestly the most disturbing thing about Little Red Riding Hood? Is it the fact that there’s a sentient wolf in her grandma’s pajamas? The fact that said wolf probably mauled said grandma to death? Oh, it’s the WINE? Really? Not the fact that the Brothers Grimm were always setting up scenarios where children might get eaten? Ok, as long as you’re sure. Glad everyone has their priorities straight.

    Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein
    Why: The only reason there could possibly be: promoting cannibalism, which is something we all remember from our childhoods, right? Shel Silverstein wanted us to eat other humans. Oh, and some people who really care about their plates also got mad because Shel told kids to break dishes instead of washing them, and we have to keep our little indentured servants in line, right? We can’t have a bunch of whimsical poetry giving them any ideas.

    The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
    Why: Vulgar language—but we kinda understand this one because, as all historical documents indicate, the Great Depression was named in jest.
    In reality, it was a time of widespread singing and dancing and feasts. Everyone had a really great time. So Steinbeck got it wrong with all that tenant farming and unemployment and hardship. It’s just not accurate. Why would anyone need vulgar language when the world was so awesome?

    Other good ones:
    The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger: Pornographic.
    My Friend Flicka, by Mary O’Hara: Uses the word “bitch” to describe a female dog when we ALL KNOW what the word “bitch” is really for.
    The Diary of Anne Frank, by Anne Frank: “Too depressing” in one case, and in another case, she talked about genitals for a second and people got mad.
    • Lord of the Flies, by William Golding: Implies that man is nothing more than an animal (as in, the point of the whole book).
    • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, by Bill Martin Jr.: Banned because an author with the same name as this book’s author (Bill Martin, no relation)—who, to be clear,  is an entirely different person—was a Marxist who wrote a different book about Marxism and people don’t know how to check their facts.

    What books do you love that were banned for silly reasons?

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