This week, the American Library Association released its annual list of the 10 books found in school or public libraries that draw the greatest number of complaints from parents. The 2010 list featured usual suspects To Kill a Mockingbird (#4), The Catcher in the Rye (#6), and The Chocolate War (#10), but a few surprises sneaked in. The biggest upset was Lauren Myracle's "ttyl" series (#1), a trilogy of young-adult novels written entirely in instant-message form. Stephenie Meyer's Twilight novels also made the list at #5, just a few spots below And Tango Makes Three, a book based on the true story of a pair of male zoo penguins who adopted and raised a chick.
The list has occasioned more than a few smirks in the blogosphere:
- Now We Know What Really Bothers People, shrugs Gawker's Glen Runciter. He's bemused that To Kill a Mockingbird outranked the Twilight novels, and can only conclude that "gentle, humanist anti-racism will always be more offensive to Americans than a vampire eating a baby out of a womb."
- What Year Is It Again? The A.V. Club's Amelie Gillette finds it "almost adorable" that in this day and age, there are adults still worried about the corrosive effect of library books, which Gillette ranks "somewhere between 'Elvis Presley's hips' and 'an exhausting game of lawn tennis'" in terms of moral hazards. There are any number of better things to worry about, she points out: "newfangled dangers like texting, sexting, the Internet, the sexy Internet, and Shia LeBoeuf."
- Twilight Doesn't Exactly Belong On There E! Online's Breanne Heldman wonders why the Twilight novels, which "promote abstinence better than Bristol Palin," are on the ALA's list alongside novels that take a much less conservative attitude toward sex. "We can probably blame this largely on the whole vampires and werewolves thing," Heldman writes. "J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series tops the list for the decade, so clearly mystical themes are a bit taboo for the card catalog set."