This month’s book group selection is Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut Jr, chosen mainly to celebrate Banned Books month, since this has been one of the most frequently banned or challenged books, and although it is somewhat of a modern classic, several of us have never read it. So if you would like to join us in being subversive and reading this banned book, or talk about any other banned and challenged books, please visit the forum. Book details are below:
The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death
Plot, from amazon>
Prisoner of war, optometrist, time-traveller – these are the life roles of Billy Pilgrim, hero of this miraculously moving, bitter and funny story of innocence faced with apocalypse. “Slaughterhouse 5” is one of the world’s great anti-war books. Centring on the infamous fire-bombing of Dresden in the Second World War, Billy Pilgrim’s odyssey through time reflects the journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we are afraid to know.
The author, from amazon>
Kurt Vonnegut was a writer, lecturer and painter. He was born in Indianapolis in 1922 and studied biochemistry at Cornell University. During WWII, as a prisoner of war in Germany, he witnessed the destruction of Dresden by Allied bombers, an experience which inspired Slaughterhouse Five. First published in 1950, he went on to write fourteen novels, four plays, and three short story collections, in addition to countless works of short fiction and nonfiction. He died in 2007.
Censorship controversy, from Wiki>
Slaughterhouse-Five has been the subject of many attempts at censorship, due to its irreverent tone and purportedly obscene content. In the novels, American soldiers use profanity; his language is irreverent; and the book depicts sex. It was one of the first literary acknowledgments that homosexual men, referred to in the novel as “fairies”, were among the victims of the Nazi Holocaust.
In the USA it is frequently banned from literature classes, removed from school libraries, and struck from literary curricula; however, it is still taught in some schools. The U.S. Supreme Court considered the First Amendment implications of the removal of the book, among others, from public school libraries in the case of Island Trees School District v. Pico, [457 U.S. 853 (1982)], and concluded that ” local school boards may not remove books from school library shelves simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books and seek by their removal to “prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion.”” Slaughterhouse-Five is the sixty-seventh entry to the American Library Association’s list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-1999.