Sunday, March 29, 2009

Twilight too hot for libraries?

Alex Cantatore writes an article for The Turlock Journal called "Banned books, teen sex, and vampires", which as the title implies is about the banning of the Twilight books.

He writes:

"In case you somehow missed hearing about "Twilight" until this column, the operative word in that last sentence was, "vampires." Yes, not since Buffy and her ilk walked the Earth-or at least the creepy confines of the ill-fated WB Network-have vampires been so gosh darned cool.

If you can't see why this book and its three follow-ups-"New Moon," "Eclipse," and "Breaking Dawn,"-became instant best sellers, you've forgotten what high school was like.

The likelihood of a high school crush-and let's be honest, high school crushes are much more aptly described as secret obsessions-developing into a real relationship is almost non-existent. The idea that a normal girl like Bella could end up with the coolest kid in school - Edward - is incredibly empowering for the sort of teenagers that you would find reading books about vampire romance in the first place, rather than out with a case of cheap beer in an orchard.

The even more amazing part about this whirlwind high school romance-and, warning, spoilers are coming for those of you who've yet to finish the saga-is that Bella and Edward don't have sex until they are married in Book 4, "Breaking Dawn." In fact, the couple is surprisingly chaste throughout the series, only kissing for a few seconds at a time before things get too intense and Edward has to step back before he gets carried away and accidentally kills Bella.

And yet, the two don't "get jiggy with it," as Will Smith might say, until they are away on their honeymoon. The entire concept is almost more amazing than the notion of a vampire falling in love with a human in the first place. And, unlike pulp romance rags, the depiction of Edward and Bella's union is entirely off the page, merely hinted at with the two swimming in the ocean and then waking up the next morning in bed surrounded by torn pillows.

According to a story published in the Salt Lake City Tribune, this implied sex scene between married, consenting adults, has led a junior high library in Utah to unofficially ban the book, keeping it off the shelves and unavailable for checkout. That's right, the story of a teen couple that managed to keep chaste for years-and thousands of pages, as Meyer is nothing if not verbose-only to consummate their marriage on their honeymoon, is considered too hot for libraries.

I find it incredible that, in this day and age, any librarian, parent, or even vampire would turn down a story about a relatively healthy relationship. If you want to ban books in the series based on the violence-which can, admittedly, get a little heated with torn-to-bits vampires set afire screaming-then that's another discussion, though I still believe that banning books for any reason is a horrible practice.

Books give us a window into other peoples' lives; they help us to understand things that we otherwise never would. Even Vladimir Nabokov's "Lolita," a tale about a pedophile, for all intents and purposes, is ranked among the best literature of all time and belongs on anyone's bookshelf."

You can read the whole article here: The Turlock Journal

I totally agree with this guy. Just cause you don't agree with a book doesn't mean you have the right to stop others from reading it. I mean, we can't all like the same things! And why is Nabokov's Lolita widely available in libraries but books like Breaking Dawn and Harry Potter aren't? I've read Lolita, and let me tell you that it is one disturbing book! He may be a literary genius, but I just can't see past the pedophillia. How can you justify having a book about a pedophile and his disturbing tendencies available in libraries while banning a book about responsible sex and marriage (or fictional magic)? I just don't get some people.

These librarians/parents are dense if they can't see what a wonderful job Stephenie Meyer has done on discussing the implications of sex and young relationships!

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