Booksellers Ban Books, Too: A Lesson in Humor

Book Review

If we lived in a perfect world, books would not be banned, nor burned. Freedom of speech and the power of expression would be alive and well, and this little piece of humorous writing would be just a drop in the pond in my mind.

On January 10, 2022, the McMinn County School Board in Tennessee voted to ban Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel “Maus” due to concerns about profanity and an image of female nudity (Where were these people during the Playboy years, when it was acceptable for women to be scantily clad while wearing bunny ears?). The novel depicts the memories of Spiegelman’s father, a Holocaust survivor. If the board was hoping for a “pretty” account of the Holocaust, the genocide of six million Jews during the Holocaust was not, and never will be, pretty. Trying to erase history from younger generations? Pretty scary and pretty terrible.

As booksellers, we can build displays and participate in the “Banned Books” fight as much as our remedial positions allow us. As it is in these dark times that we live in, sometimes humor is the way to go toward acceptance of things far beyond our control. My colleagues and I have compiled a list of books that SHOULD be banned. You’ll notice our choices are different than any other list you’ll see and the reasons even more so. After seeing books continuing to be banned and the reasons why, the barometer is set pretty low, so we compiled our own list for you. – Georgette & colleagues

1.  Fifty Shades of Gray (entire series)-E.L. James. Egregious use of grammar, lack of sentence structure, & the worst monochromatic book cover since the Sherwin Williams catalog of 2005. Lack of cohesion in plot hurts as much as those watery sex scenes.
2.  Twilight (entire series)- Stephanie Meyer. Inaccurate description of vampires. These vampires can sit in the sun and glitter. If you want the real deal- We, the Booksellers, recommend Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles.
3.  The Corrections- Jonathan Franzen. Too verbose.
4.  Any Ayn Rand book- Over-the-top politicized drivel. The trade version of “The Fountainhead” did a great job lining the 4 gallon garbage can in my bathroom.
5.  My Year of Rest & Relaxation-Ottessa Mosfeugh. The title is a lie. Anyone reading this gets anything but rest and relaxation.
6.  The Silent Patient- Alex Michaelides. The cries of anguish from those reading it prove no one can remain silent in the face of overrated Tik Tok worship.
7.  All Nora Roberts- banned due to the same plot over and over again, just different named characters. Just think of Congress and you’ll understand the ban.
8.  Great Expectations- Charles Dickens. If you want to read Dickens, read “Tale of Two Cities”. Not this! Pip- Pip? (What is he, a pretzel vendor in the gritty streets of London?) and that loony Mrs. Havesham in the wedding dress in the attic. Why ban it? For giving modern day spinsters bad ideas!
9. Art of the Deal- Donald J. Trump. A portrait of self-absorption to the point of saturation. It’s a little scary that someone loves themselves this much. Banned due to overkill.
10. As I Lay Dying- William Faulkner. A more appropriate title cannot be found for what lurks in the pages between the binding. The “ending” goes on forever! Banned due to the never ending ending.

Georgette Coan is the manager of Barbara's Bookstore at Woodfield Mall in Schaumberg, IL. She began working for Barbara's in 2010 and was the manager at Barbara's in Burr Ridge, IL. Georgette believes that people still buy paper books because they long for the feel of a physical volume in their hands, actual books on their bookshelves at home, a way to have an actual library (you can't wrap an E-reader!) to pass onto their families. "Books harken back to a more nostalgic era. This new technology isn't for everyone; physical copies of books still offer another choice to those who don't care for the newfangled technology known as E-books and E-readers."