Books Sarah Palin Wanted Banned

Update & Correction: See Mary's comment below, which links to this Snopes debunking of the story about Palin. This list, though, remains representative of the sort of cultural limits that the radical right would like to enforce; insofar as the vice presidential nominee is a radical Christianist, she subscribes to an ideology that is in favor of banning books like the ones listed below, all of which have come under attack in the past by would-be censors. So, perhaps a reporter of debate moderator will ask, "Mrs. Palin, which books did you have in mind when you enquired of Mary Ellen Emmons, the town librarian of Wasilla, whether it might be possible to remove certain titles?" According to someone posting a comment to Maureen Dowd's column at the New York Times, this is the list of books that Sarah Palin tried to have removed from the Wasilla Public Library. The commenter says the list comes from the official minutes of the Library Board and that when Palin was unsuccessful at having these books banned, she tried to have the librarian fired. The list:

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner Blubber by Judy Blume Brave New World by Aldous Huxley Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer Carrie by Stephen King Catch-22 by Joseph Heller Christine by Stephen King Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau Cujo by Stephen King Curses, Hexes, and Spells by Daniel Cohen Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller Decameron by Boccaccio East of Eden by John Steinbeck Fallen Angels by Walter Myers Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure) by John Cleland Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes Forever by Judy Blume Grendel by John Champlin Gardner Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling Have to Go by Robert Munsch Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak It's Okay if You Don't Love Me by Norma Klein James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman Little Red Riding Hood by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm Lord of the Flies by William Golding Love is One of the Choices by Norma Klein Lysistrata by Aristophanes More Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and ChristopherCollier My House by Nikki Giovanni My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara Night Chills by Dean Koontz Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez Ordinary People by Judith Guest Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women's Health Collective Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz A Separate Peace by John Knowles Silas Marner by George Eliot Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain The Bastard by John Jakes The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier The Color Purple by Alice Walker The Devil's Alternative by Frederick F Several things are worth noting about this list, the first being that while some of the titles are clearly included because they are thought by Christianists to be "inappropriate for children," this is not a school library we're talking about but the town's public library. Sarah Palin, then, would like to erase Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, John Knowles, Alice Walker, and Arthur Miller from American literature. It would be interesting if some reporter could ask Mrs. Palin what, specifically, she objects to in these texts; because I'd bet she hasn't read them, that they come off some fundamentalist master list. There's another category of books on the list -- typified by the J.K. Rowling titles -- that indicate the way in which Christianists are offended by any form of magic other than their own kind of magic. Some of the picks are just bizarre: "Mrs. Palin," one would like to hear the debate moderator ask, "What is it about One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn that you find offensive? or One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez?" Of course it will never happen. Later: Reading the list over again just now, it's also pretty clear that Palin is frightened of adolescence & would like to be able to ban the introspection & sexual energy of young people. Her desire to take J.D. Salinger & John Knowles off the shelves is really just an extension of the "abstinence only" sex-ed policies she favors for school children & that have served her family so well.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

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