Celebrate Banned Books Week at Wolfsonian with a Film About Smutty Literature

Grove Press published Jack Kerouac.
Thanks to Barney Rosset, the man behind Grove Press and the Evergreen Review, we all got drunk on the road poetics of Jack Kerouac, blissed out on the ballsy cadence of Allen Ginsberg, and humbled by the witty domestic disputes of Tom Stoppard plays. Tonight, the Wolfsonsian kicks off Banned Books Week (September 25 to October 2) with a screening of Obscene, which chronicles the Grove House publisher's first amendment fights.

Before releasing indecent classics like Naked Lunch and Tropic of Cancer, Rosset's published the uncensored version of the D.H. Lawrence novel Lady Chatterley's Lover. The Postmaster General refused to send such smut through the mail, but the Court weighed in and said -- and we're paraphrasing here -- just deliver the mail and stop being such a freaking prude.

Next week, caress your hardbacks in recognition that our country doesn't burn or ban books anymore. If we did, the following 10 books would already be smoking embers as they were the most challenged titles in 2009. The list includes old standbys characters like Holden Caulfield and Boo Radley as well as some new surprises like gay penguin dads and a horny vampire named Edward Cullen.

According to the American Library Association and the Office of

Intellectual Freedom, these were the most challenged books in 2009:

1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle

Parents wanted these novels, written entirely in the style of instant

messaging, pulled off the shelves for nudity, sexually explicit,

offensive language, and drug references. Sounds like the all LOLs would be more irksome than any sexy talk.


2. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

A cute book about snuggling penguin dads got conservatives all riled up. Candi Cushman, of Focus on the Family Action, said

the children's book "is very misleading and it's a very disingenuous,

inaccurate way to promote a political agenda to little kids. What

they're not telling kids is that the supposedly gay penguin who is the

star of this story later mated with a female penguin in real life." So there.

3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky                                     

This 1999 novel was published by MTV and challenged for its references to

drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit,

suicide, and being unsuited to age group.

4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

After hearing about all the school controversy surrounding the

appropriateness of her book, Harper Lee sent $10 to the local paper,

suggesting the school board use it to go back to first grade and learn a

thing or two. Boo Radley's story is considered controversial for

instances of racism and offensive language.


5. Twilight (series), by Stephanie Meyer

How could a book written by a Mormon piss off religious types? Maybe they got the metaphors about all that sucking.

6. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

In 1960, a teacher was fired for assigning this 1951 novel in class, and

between 1961 and 1982, itl was the most censored book in high

schools and libraries in the United States. Reasons? Holden says fuck a


7. My Sister's Keeper, by Jodi Picoult

Even though this was recently adapted into a Hollywood film, schools and

libraries attempted to ban the book for sexism, homosexuality, sexually

explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group, drugs, suicide,

and violence. We wanted to ban the movie for bad acting.

8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler

In February 2008, this 2003 book was removed from school libraries in

Colorado Springs, Colorado for being sexually explicit, having offensive language, and being unsuited

to age group. The banning was challenged by the National Coalition

Against Censorship. Then, everybody shook hands and just went skiing.

9. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker

No. it's not just an Oprah film. Librarians keep getting complaints that

the 1982 novel was sexually explicit, had offensive language, and was

unsuited to age group.

10. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier

This 1974 young adult novel, according to some prudes, has too much

nudity, sexually explicit and offensive language, and was unsuited to age


Obscene screens at the Wolfsonian (1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach) at 7 p.m. Admission is free. Call 305-535-2680 or visit

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Amanda McCorquodale