According to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, 326 challenges to books on school or public library shelves were reported in 2011. YA author Lauren Myracle’s best-selling series “ttyl,” “ttfn,” and “l8r, g8r” topped the list. (“ttyl” – short for talk to you later – is promoted as the first-ever novel written entirely in the style of instant messaging conversation.) The series addresses adolescent sexuality, homosexuality, and alcohol and drug use. The most frequent complaint against a challenged book is that its treatment of sexuality offends. Profanity is the next most frequent complaint. Regarding her own children’s reading (she has three), Myracle said, “As a mom, I want my kids to read any fucking book they want! I want them to read.”
Since 1990, the ALA has recorded a total of 10,676 challenges. To date, the year that received the most challenges (762) was 1995 – the year the federal government shut down and Newt Gingrich was named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year for “his role in ending the four-decades-long Democratic majority In the House.” The fewest challenges (326) were received in 2011 – the year Newt Gingrich vied for the Republican presidential nomination and suggested that participants in the Occupy Wall Street protests “Go get a job, right after you take a bath.” Time named the “The Protestor” Person of the Year in 2011. Newt himself has written or co-authored 27 books, challenged only on complaints of quality. The multiply-divorced Gingrich does the sexuality thing at home, between different covers.