While many have used Banned Books Week to celebrate the freedom to read, others have been raising their own questions. If we are banning books, say these hypothetical people, why not start with Fifty Shades of Grey? Surely of all the books, the controversial “mummy porn” trilogy are the kind of books that deserves being taken off the shelves. Right?

This week at Hypable we have used Banned Books Week to explore the 10 most challenged books of 2011, as well as 10 frequently challenged books that we think you should read anyway. Yet across the internet, people have responded to articles in this vein by asking the same question – “Instead of banning these books, why aren’t we banning Fifty Shades of Grey?”

Banning ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’:

Let’s be clear. Just because Fifty Shades did not make an appearance on the 2011 Banned Books List doesn’t mean it hasn’t faced bans or challenges. Let’s remember it was only published in June 2011. Since then, many libraries across America have pulled the book from their shelves, not to mention that literal book burning. We can safely assume that come next year’s 2012 list, Fifty Shades will be right up there at the top.

And based on the response to our Casual Vacancy parental guide, we imagine J.K. Rowling’s new novel will be there alongside it, particularly as JKR is already the queen of wonderful story telling satanic witchcraft.

But now that we’re talking J.K. Rowling, we are all probably thinking “HOW DARE THEY JOKE ABOUT BANNING MY QUEEN” (or possibly “hmm, that new book could have used less vulvae”). Just think back to all the crazy people who tried to stop us from reading Harry Potter, who took it off school reading lists, out of classrooms, and off the shelves at public libraries.

They told us we were worshipping a pagan god, and society would be destroyed, and we were all converting to wicca. All because we crazy fans apparently thought the Harry Potter series was an instruction manual subtitled ‘Satanic Worshipping for Dummies.’

So let’s ponder that. If people are allowed to read Fifty Shades of Grey, what exactly do we think will happen? Maybe we will all turn into S&M fanatics, or start using non-disclosure agreements in our love life, or THE WORLD WILL END (it is 2012, after all).

Or maybe, some people will get to read a book they enjoy.

If you’d think “good riddance” if Fifty Shades (or The Casual Vacancy) was taken off the shelves of your local library, that’s totally fine. But if you want to be able to walk into that same library and borrow Harry Potter, To Kill a Mockingbird or Looking for Alaska, then you have to be okay with walking past Fifty Shades of Grey to get there.

And if the thought of that makes you too uncomfortable, then you have to accept that by restricting someone else’s reading, you are setting the precedent which may result in your favourite book being taken off the shelf.

Everyone deserves the opportunity to read the books they love. When books are taken out of public libraries, use is inherently restricted from people who may not be able to afford their own copy, let alone a Kindle and the e-Book version.

If you’re a parent, by all means monitor what your child is reading, as you might do for a film they want to watch or a video game they want to buy. But don’t stop someone else’s child from reading something that their parent has determined to be appropriate for them.

Here at Hypable, we have some simple advice. If you don’t like a book, don’t read it.

Maybe you think Fifty Shades of Grey is complete and utter crap, and you wouldn’t even open the front cover unless someone paid you an obscene amount of money, and then promised to wipe it from your mind with the Men in Black Neuralyzer.

Or perhaps you have read Fifty Shades, just for a laugh. Maybe you thought it was the next great love story, or read it with the Twilight soundtrack playing in the background. You may have read it as a unique framing device for a story about maturity, both emotionally and sexually. Maybe you like “mummy porn.” Maybe you just wanted to.

The beauty is, you shouldn’t have to explain your choice to anyone. But you should have a choice. And if you do, that’s all that matters.

Other Hypable articles that celebrate Banned Book week

How do you feel about banning ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’?

In interesting but potentially brilliant casting news, comedian Amy Schumer will be taking on the role of Barbie for a live-action film.

Take a moment to soak in the news. Now revel in the idea. This could be awesome.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amy Schumer is not only leading the project on screen, but she’ll also have an influence on the script.

Read full article

In interesting but potentially brilliant casting news, comedian Amy Schumer will be taking on the role of Barbie for a live-action film.

Take a moment to soak in the news. Now revel in the idea. This could be awesome.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amy Schumer is not only leading the project on screen, but she’ll also have an influence on the script.

Last year, Sony had their pick of three complete scripts for a live-action Barbie movie. Of those three, they chose Hilary Winston’s. Now that Schumer is on board, THR says to expect her and her sister, Kim Caramele, to rewrite Winston’s original idea.

The plot, given that Schumer doesn’t change the major details, “begins in a perfect land of Barbies where one woman slowly awakens to the fact that she doesn’t fit it. She is expelled from the idealistic land and journeys to the real world, where she discovers that being unique is an asset.”

The outlet also addresses the fact that Mattel has had to deal with plenty of criticism regarding body image and race when it comes to the Barbie toys. Schumer’s casting is a great way to speak to some of those issues, and will hopefully provide a positive and uplifting message by the movie’s end.

There will be, of course, some hesitation given Schumer’s previous work. One only has to look as far as Trainwreck and Inside Amy Schumer to see her comedy is often brutally honest and raunchy. Barbie would be shocked.

But Schumer is an actress, after all, and a brilliant comedian. For this “contemporary spin on beauty, feminism and identity,” she seems like just the right fit.

What do you think of Amy Schumer as Barbie?

It’s arguably the biggest day for Hamilton fans since the release of the original Broadway recording: The Hamilton Mixtape has arrived!

Following years of development, the Hamilton Mixtape was released around the world on Friday, December 2. Mixtape features, well, remixes of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton hits, sung by artists both big and small from various genres.

To celebrate the album’s release, a special #Ham4Ham was hosted at the Richard Rodgers Theater on Thursday night, where names like Ashanti, Ja Rule, Regina Spektor, and Andra Day performed their songs from Mixtape:

Read full article

It’s arguably the biggest day for Hamilton fans since the release of the original Broadway recording: The Hamilton Mixtape has arrived!

Following years of development, the Hamilton Mixtape was released around the world on Friday, December 2. Mixtape features, well, remixes of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton hits, sung by artists both big and small from various genres.

To celebrate the album’s release, a special #Ham4Ham was hosted at the Richard Rodgers Theater on Thursday night, where names like Ashanti, Ja Rule, Regina Spektor, and Andra Day performed their songs from Mixtape:

Stream ‘The Hamilton Mixtape’:

Spotify users can easily stream The Hamilton Mixtape below. You can also listen here via Apple Music.:

And you can purchase a physical copy from Amazon here (you know all the Hamilton fans in your life will want a physical copy):

Hamilton Mixtape tracklist

1. No John Trumbull (Intro) – The Roots
2. My Shot (feat. Busta Rhymes, Joell Ortiz & Nate Ruess) [Rise Up Remix] – The Roots
3. Wrote My Way Out – Nas, Dave East, Lin-Manuel Miranda & Aloe Blacc
4. Wait For It – Usher
5. An Open Letter (feat. Shockwave) [Interlude] – Watsky
6. Satisfied (feat. Miguel & Queen Latifah) – Sia
7. Dear Theodosia (feat. Ben Folds) – Regina Spektor
8. Valley Forge (Demo) – Lin-Manuel Miranda
9. It’s Quiet Uptown – Kelly Clarkson
10. That Would Be Enough – Alicia Keys
11. Immigrants (We Get The Job Done) – K’naan, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC, Residente
12. You’ll Be Back – Jimmy Fallon & The Roots
13. Helpless (feat. Ja Rule) – Ashanti
14. Take A Break (Interlude) – !llmind
15. Say Yes To This – Jill Scott
16. Congratulations – Dessa
17. Burn – Andra Day
18. Stay Alive (Interlude) – J.PERIOD & Stro Elliot
19. Slavery Battle (Demo) – Lin-Manuel Miranda
20. Washington’s By Your Side – Wiz Khalifa
21. History Has Its Eyes On You – John Legend
22. Who Tells Your Story (feat. Common & Ingrid Michaelson) – The Roots
23. Dear Theodosia (Reprise) – Chance The Rapper & Francis and The Lights

What are our favorite performances on ‘The Hamilton Mixtape’?

Chris Pratt is currently on a press tour for Passengers. Jennifer Lawrence may or may not be there too.

Passengers, the new sci-fi epic starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, comes out later this month. The promo tour has kicked off in Europe, with the two stars on hand to answer all our questions.

To entertain himself (and his fans!), Chris Pratt has been updating his Instagram with funny photos and captions from the tour.

Read full article

Chris Pratt is currently on a press tour for Passengers. Jennifer Lawrence may or may not be there too.

Passengers, the new sci-fi epic starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, comes out later this month. The promo tour has kicked off in Europe, with the two stars on hand to answer all our questions.

To entertain himself (and his fans!), Chris Pratt has been updating his Instagram with funny photos and captions from the tour.

There’s some real gold in there, but the best part is when he realizes that fans really want to see some pictures of Jennifer Lawrence — who doesn’t have her own social media accounts — and proceeds to very decidedly not include her!

Update: He did it again.


See some of the hilarious posts from Chris Pratt below:

Finally got that selfie with Jen y'all wanted. #passengersmovie

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Just hanging with my bestie Jen. #passengersmovie

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Here Jen and I pose with @elrubiuswtf

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Here's an extremely artistic and meaningful video I made in which Jen is heavily featured. #passengersmovie

A video posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Another day down with me and my best buddy Jen. #London #passengersmovie

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Not going to lie — we’re almost as excited for the press interview videos as we are for the movie itself!

‘Passengers’ hits cinemas on December 21