Thoughts on the ordeal over “Book of Bunny Suicides”

Background here and here.  Though, given The Oregonian’s 14 day policy, I will probably have to find a different cut-and-paste racket.

#1:  I find it difficult to believe that “The Book of Bunny Suicides” is the best use of Central Linn High School’s resources, even if it does meet one of the purpose of a school library to spur “Reluctant Readers” to open a book.

#2:  By now the 13 year old who checked the book should have been aware of his mother’s sensibilities, and known enough to keep the book away from her, enjoying it for himself.  Though, I suppose he’s at that age where he has a psychological need to spar with her, so who knows?

#3:  Is this book properly labelled a “graphic novel”?  It doesn’t seem to have a narrative to it.: 

The 2003 book by British author Andy Riley is a collection of black-comedy cartoons showing adorable white rabbits trying to end their lives through a variety of methods.  A mail slot. The Starship Enterprise’s transporter room. A chair set up between a knife store and “Electro-Magnets ‘R’ Us.” A grenade tied to a boomerang. The scenarios go on for 80 pages.

That does not describe a graphic novel.  Or, for that matter, fit Scott McCloud’s definition of “comics”. 

#4:  The apparent problem coming from — “They’re not getting this book back,” she told the newspaper. If the library replaces it, “I’ll have somebody else check it out and I’ll keep that one. I’m just disgusted by the whole ordeal,” she said.  — is solved through  — Several people from as far away as Seattle have called and e-mailed, offering to buy and donate the popular graphic novel along with literary classics that have shown up on banned-book lists in the past, said principal Julie Knoedler.  Meaning that the library shall have a perpetual supply of “Book of Bunny Suicides” which will outlive Taffey Anderson’s mission.

#5:  “Banned Book Week” is a sham.  Some back-waters snake-handler complains about Harry Potter and at the end of September books and libraries put up a display case where the best selling book of the past decade is trumped up as “Censored”.  Frankly, the same works with the classics.  Indeed, looking over the displays, about the only item I’m terribly impressed with in terms of “Censorship” is Salman Rushdie.  But that’s crowded out by “Captian Underpants” and Gossip Girls — the first I think I would have found annoying at the age of eleven and anyway is available round about everywhere, the second is so driven underground that it has been adapted into a television series.  In the next incarnation, it looks like The Book of Bunny Suicides will be granted this street cred.

#6:  The Central Linn school board meets Monday night. Knoedler expects it to put together a committee — comprised of a parent, English teachers, school librarians, a board member and other community members — to review “The Book of Bunny Suicides.”  I’m coming up a little short in imagining the cross-currents of conversation between the parent, English teachers, school librarians, a board members, and other community members in discussing this book.  Can it be televised live?

#7:  “The Book of Bunny Suicides,” Kenney said, is funny but belongs on the mature-humor shelf rather than a library’s youth section.

Yes, he said, the Albany library’s children’s section includes books from humorist Gary Larson. “But I don’t think his cartoons ever put bunnies in toasters,” Kenney said.

You might want to double check on that one.

#8:  Burn?  BURN???

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