Thanks so much to Write All The Words for a chance to guest post on banned books:
My parents never set any restrictions on what I could or couldn’t read. Anything in print was fair game, even the books on a musty basement shelf put deliberately a little out of reach – not enough to seem off-limits, but just enough not to be obvious.
That’s where Mom, a nurse, kept her anatomy text, and Dad put his leather-bound set of the Harvard Classics. And where I found Philip Roth’s PORTNOY’S COMPLAINT the summer I turned 16. I was living in the basement, thanks to some houseguests who either couldn’t or wouldn’t leave and took over my sunlit bedroom.
I’d been banished to the basement office, with its mildewy shag carpet and brown-paneled walls. One tiny, cobwebbed window shed weak light onto a lumpy metal cot Mom had set up for me. It was 1979, and I spent my summer nights with Blondie cranked up on the FM dial, reading under the flickering overhead light with books plucked from the not-obvious shelf. My parents were smart and well-read, with eclectic tastes, so I made short work of John Hersey’s HIROSHIMA and Ray Bradbury’s FAHRENHEIT 451, a collection of Isaac Asimov short stories … and Roth.
Read the rest here.