It's Banned Books Week. Get subversive and read something they don't want you to.
On the whole I've been pretty lucky. I've read many of the books on the classics list and haven't had to deal with a banned book as such.
However, my one run- in with wanting to read a book that I couldn't happened when I was nine years old and I have no intention of getting over it. It galled me then, it galls me now. Until I find the book in question I will continue to be galled. And if I ever do find it and read it, I will remain galled that it was held from me.
Here's what happened:
We were on our way back from visiting family out in BC. My mom's brother, Rusty, had the most amazing collection of novels ever, the bulk of which were sci fi from the 1940s. We were given some to take home though I recall only two now. My sister and I could chose between these two for something to read on the way home. I don't normally read in the car, especially while going through the mountains, but I chose.
The books were a double novel Our Man in Space by Bruce W. Ronald and Ultimatum in 2050 A.D. by Jack Sharkey (Ace Books, 1965) and the single novel The Parasite.
I went with the double novel.
My sister started to read, or maybe even read all of The Parasite and it scared the living daylights out of her. She handed the book back to our mom and said, in near hysterics, that I was not to be allowed to read it. I don't recall her exact words now, but I know I didn't like them.
Did I fuss? Not that I recall. I may have put up a token argument, but there was no point to wasting energy. I knew I could find the book when we got home.
I never saw it again.
I have no recollection of asking either though I am sure I did.
A few months later a radio play or the like came on. A man's voice said something to his doctor about a thing growing on his shoulder.
My sister freaked and said, "That's The Parasite. I know it."
Okay, I thought, I finally get to know what the fuss was about.
Instead, my sister, in near hysterics, insisted it had to be turned off.
I've tried to find it by internet search, but all I have is a title. It's not alone.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has a story with this name. I have his complete Sherlock Holmes, but not his complete works.
If not this, then it is likely something from the grand science fiction era of the 1940s. I don't think I dare ask my sister as I fear she will be rendered hysterical at the mere mention, and has likely long forgotten the author's name.
In honor of banned and challenged books here are two sentences from a once-banned book:
"She took off her hat, and shook her hair. He sat down, taking off his shoes and gaiters, and undoing his cord breeches."
-Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence (Signet 1959)
I'm still working on two stories, usually on alternate days. So far this is working for me.
From The Font:
" 'No.' Brundel tried to close her mind to it. Such use of power was forbidden."
Thanks for being here. For more please see the Women of Mystery.
And if you have the time, read a banned book or five.
Happy Birthday, Raymond Chandler
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