Ooh boy. I’m gonna answer the second part first. I distinctly remember asking my mom for permission to watch ‘NSync perform on MTV in the 8th grade (it was this performance at the MTV Movie Awards). I also saw Titanic years after everyone else because my parents didn’t want me seeing (female!) nudity - it came out when I was in 6th grade, so I was around 11/12, and I didn’t get to see the whole thing until I was 15.
Most distinctly though, I remember that I wasn’t allowed to listen to Top 40 radio. My parents listened to Sandi Patti and Steven Green and Amy Grant and oldies from when they were in high school. Up until I was about 10 and my parents couldn’t fully monitor our musical intake anymore, I wasn’t allowed to listen to top 40 radio. This meant I missed out on the entire grunge phase, Right Said Fred, Dee-Lite, and C+C Music Factory. I learning the line dance to Achy Breaky Heart in gym class and being totally confused as to why everyone else already knew this song and I had no clue.
But books were the thing my parents never censored - and I mean never. They were both teachers in the public school system and my mother taught English, so books were always and readily available in my home. There were times when I’d pick up something and they’d tell me, “Ehhh, you won’t like that” and that may have been a way of keeping me from certain books, but they still let me read Anne McCaffery (alien sex!) and Stephen King (monster sex!) and John Grisham (lawyer sex!) when I was in middle school, so if there was a leash, it was a long one. And I’m really glad my parents encouraged me to read as much as they did - I entered first grade already reading chapter books while the rest of my classmates were sounding out words in our phonics lessons.
So, Banned Books. Here’s the list of frequently challenged books from the American Library Association. Of the Top 10, for 2013, I’m gonna be honest: I don’t have a favorite on there. If pressed, I’d have to say Looking For Alaska, but the last year of the Greens disappearing into their own navels has left a sour taste in my mouth with regards to any of their books.
But, looking at the list of classics, however, quite a few of my favorites pop up: The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, 1984, Brave New World, The Lord of the Rings, A Clockwork Orange, and Lady Chatterly’s Lover.
In college, I actually took a class on banned books and we read one of my favorite books (that I’ve since lost my copy of!): Fat Kid Rules the World by KL Going.
So, there you have it!