Hello Wonderful Readers! Welcome to this month’s Call Center Confessions. This time, Molly and I are sharing our thoughts on banned books for something a little different than our usual Q & A format. For the record, this year, Banned Book Week took place on the last week of September.
Way back in time, banned books were burned as an effective method of censorship in an era when books were handwritten and existed in very few copies. In this current era of printing and mass marketing, burning a book has been reduced to a shocking gesture. Books are a fabulous way to gain knowledge, and as we know, knowledge can take you anywhere you want to go!
Let’s take a trip down Free Expression Lane and venture into the realm of provocative literature, where the banned and challenged book reigns!
The most common examples of book censorship are in schools and public libraries, and these examples involve children’s literature. It’s Perfectly Normal is a banned book that is notorious due to its non-shaming, accurate and straightforward discussion of the changes our bodies undergo during the ages of 10 to 14. We love the narration from a nervous bee and a fun-loving bird. Wry humor, clear and funny illustrations, and cartoon drawings of naked bodies help young people learn that it’s perfectly normal to be a growing human! What makes this useful tome a banned book? Maybe it’s the discussion of how sperm leaves the body, or what happens when a boy has wet dreams. Maybe it’s the inside and outside drawings of where a tampon or sanitary pad is worn during a menstrual cycle in girls, or how an egg leaves an ovary and finds its way into the uterus and eventually becomes menstruation. Perhaps it is topic of what is gender and sex, or the descriptions of different kinds of attractions we have, and how as adults we can be attracted to the same or opposite sex, or both! Possibly it’s the Big Taboo about masturbation and how it is perfectly normal to stimulate ourselves¦or not! It could be the chapters on HIV and AIDS transmission or on sexual abuse and how this is not ever the child’s fault. Or perhaps it’s the information about how to say no to unwanted attention, be it from a trusted adult or a romantic interest in one’s teen years.
Another young person’s book similar to It’s Perfectly Normal that made the American Library Association’s top ten list of challenged books of 2005 is It’s So Amazing!. Our friendly bird and nervous bee give 5 to 10 year-olds information about reproduction and love. The author’s sex-positive and age-appropriate description of masturbation and homosexuality were too much for some parents, who tried to restrict this book to an adult’s only section in public libraries. These young people’s books are an invaluable tool for parents who want their kids to feel good about growing up and will help dispel myths their youngsters may hear from other peers.
A beautiful art book that was seized by French customs in 1999 is I Am My Lover. This is a spectacular celebration of self-love shown in toe-curling, couch-jumping splendor! The black-and-white images depict luscious women of all ages, colors and body-types getting it on with their very best friend\’themselves! Molly and I love the scenes with our very own Dr. Carol Queen and her trusty Cadillac of vibrators, the Hitachi Magic Wand! This would be a delightful gift for a lucky special person in your life. After the gift giving, you could curl up together and thumb through the pages and let your inner exhibitionist free! Masturbating with a partner shares a deep sense of bonding and trust\’a truly sensual pleasure for both the doer and viewer! Hands-on delight!
And what would be more delightful than viewing full-color close-up photographs of women’s genitals? Femalia is a wonderful view of what is usually hidden on a woman’s body. Vulvas in all their glistening glory are fully on display, showing the huge diversity in color, lip size, hair styles (Vidal Sassoon would be envious) and texture. Any woman who thinks she may be “different down there can see a multitude of fully-exposed, labia spread shots celebrating the glory of variety! Men too can get a close and intimate view of many different women’s vulvas, and see where all those pleasure spots are really located! Molly and I feel this is an excellent guide for growing girls who may feel uncertain or anxious about their rapidly changing bodies. If you like luscious fruits and exotic sea shells, this book is worthy of a very special place on your coffee table! Front and center!
CeeCee just gave us a wonderful low-down on some non-fiction titles that have been challenged or banned…now let’s take a look at some super hot erotic fiction that will touch your heart and make it, oh-so-hard to not touch yourself.
I have begun to refer to the banned and challenged book lists, available from the American Library Association, as the “Must Read list. Often times, the books that are banned engage the reader, and probe into the reader’s deepest thoughts and ideas. These books may also go against the “norm, and question wide-spread thought.
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, written by Anne Rice under the pen name A.N Roquelaure, along with the two other titles in the Beauty trilogy, Beauty’s Punishment and Beauty’s Release; by 1999 they were all listed by the ALA as some of the most frequently challenged books. The books were removed from libraries in Ohio, as well as, Georgia, throughout the 90’s for their “pornographic content.
The content of the trilogy is hot. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty begins with Beauty being awakened by the Prince. The book deliciously tells the story of Beauty’s new life and world as a slave to the Prince. The whole series is an excellent read for someone seeking a book that tells an S/M story from the submissive perspective with a fairy tale backdrop. The Prince isn’t the only master in this tale. The Queen, or head mistress, teases and taunts Beauty and a slew of eager princes, as well. As the punishment continues Beauty begins to understand more and more about her own desires and how she perceives and enjoys pleasure.
Patrick Califia’s, latest book Boy In The Middle, is well-deserving of an honorable mention even though, at this time, it has not been challenged or banned. One of his other books, Macho Sluts, was one of the books under scrutiny in the Little Sisters Bookstore case. Patrick made an appearance in court and testified on behalf of his work and for other authors who were not given the opportunity to speak out against the censorship they had endured.
In his latest collection of super sexy, raunchy short stories, Patrick pushes just about every boundary imaginable. Come join Patrick in his “black leather pajama party, where the lines of gender, orientation and passion collide. You can read a hot and heavy S/M tale in “Boy in the Middle” where the master is a bisexual trans-person. He engages in a threesome with a bio female and a trans-boy. Wow, this read put CeeCee in a world of fantasy that she didn’t want to leave. This book has paved the way for exceptional queer, pansexual erotica.
The writer and sexpert extraordinaire, Susie Bright, has had her fair share of run-ins with challenges and attempts to ban her books. She has also received countless praise from her peers like Carol Queen, PhD, and Annie Sprinkle, PhD. Her books were seized and banned by Canadian Customs during the attack on the small gay and lesbian bookstore, Little Sisters.
Three Kinds of Asking for It is her latest edited collection of erotic novellas that includes shorts by such writers as Jill Soloway, Greta Christina and Eric Albert, and explores what happens when one’s wish comes true. We have always heard to be careful what you wish for.
In these stories we get to learn from the characters fortune or possible misfortune; you decide. (CeeCee celebrates her half birthday every year to have the chance to make another wish as she blows out the candles. I have an alarm set on my watch to notify me every time it is 11:11 or 2:22 and any other time with all the same numbers.)
In Jodi K, Jill Soloway, who is well-known for her award-winning writing and producing for Six Feet Under, tells the story of a teenage girl pining for the middle-aged guy next door. In Charmed I’m Sure, David’s dreams come true, when he hires a witch to give him the power to make anyone he so desires his love slave. His office tryst fantasies come to life and soon he is finding that his wish may have been more than what he bargained for. In Bending, we have Dallas who can’t get enough of being bent over. Her friends and lovers are determined to open her up in more ways than she could have ever wished for.
Molly and I extend our deepest thanks to those of you out there that have made your voices heard on banned or challenged books. You have brought these books to the attention of many, created a comprehensive list of great reads and have brought excellent titles to the awareness of countless people.
Also, many extra special thanks to the librarians of this country, for standing up for our right to freedom of speech and keeping banned books on public library shelves.
Thanks for reading with us everyone! Please be sure to send us your Call Center Confessions really soon! We want to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Molly and CeeCee