Thursday, October 29, 2009

When a book makes me blush

Let me preface this by saying not much gives me pause. I read all those BBYA titles and could never imagine keeping them from anyone, not even the wide-eyed fourteen year olds at my school. I have written about and presented on students and censorship, and am excited about the new YALSA interest group looking at intellectual freedom issues. I like to think that I am pretty unflappable. But I had a strange sensation this week, reading Michelle Embree's Manstealing for Fat Girls. It's about two high school seniors, maybe friends, maybe lesbian, maybe bisexual, or maybe just libidinous. I can't tell you too much about it because I couldn't get too far into it. The book is descriptive in its preoccupation with, if not with sex acts, with genitalia. I've noticed regretsy  has a similarly pronounced vulval theme.

A few weeks after Banned Books Week, this is my personal exercise in intellectual freedom.  Even in my sheltered middle class existence, I will encounter some things I do find offensive and  would not recommend it to minors, but, unlike these women, I would never try to prevent anyone from accessing them. I am much more concerned with preserving our right to choose what it is we want to read. As Colleen Mondor describes, our bookbuying options are in danger of winnowing to a few blockbuster titles, so I salute the bravery of Soft Skull Press  in publishing Embree's quirky, if bawdy, book.

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