On William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying

While ideological book banning is infuriating, banning out of ignorance and vague religiosity are, to me, even more galling. William Faulkner’s classic, As I Lay Dying, has been banned… More

On Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita

Say that Lolita is hilarious and excruciating and sad—no novel ever had a sadder last line—but not boring, surely. We throb with the miserable Humbert as he creeps across… More

On James Joyce’s Ulysses

Until I graduated from college—and had to find a job, get my heart broken, bear the burden of being a twenty-something during recession, watch friends go to rehab, watch… More

On Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War

The Chocolate War (along with its sequel) has been consistently challenged and criticized by schools, libraries, and parents for its language, sexual content, violence, and bleak message. At the… More

On John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men

The story is a tragedy predicated on the idea that working one’s fingers to the bone for little pay and no security is fundamentally corrupt. It’s a tragedy about… More

On J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye

What Salinger gave to us were memorable meeting points between innocence and the world’s soiling stains. There was so much authenticity in his stance and sympathy that his artificialities… More

On Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited

You could make a case for a kind of parallel between the events of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited and the fact of it being challenged in Alabama schools for… More

My Banned Books

Before the decade ended, I was asked to return a payment of $50.00 to an educational publisher. My poem about dinosaurs had to be removed from a language arts… More