Yesterday came the disheartening news that a New Jersey school was booting two books, Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood and Nic Sheff's Tweak, off their summer reading list after parents complained about the (limited) gay sex scenes in the books. Today, Wood's publisher, Knopf, sticks up for their author, calling out the district for succumbing to the pressures of a small handful of parents.

“We are disheartened to learn about the action by a New Jersey school district to remove a book from its required reading list due to objections from a group of concerned parents. The novel, NORWEGIAN WOOD by Haruki Murakami, was originally selected for the list based on suggestions by teachers, librarians, and administrators within the district, and the list was approved by the board of education. It is unfortunate the parents felt the need to dismiss such an important work of fiction and regrettable the school district would succumb to such pressure and disregard the recommendation of its own professional educators.”

Plenty of the classics taught in high school literature classes cover risque subject matter: Oedipus the King kills his father and then marries and impregnates his mother, Tess of the D'Urbervilles is raped by her cousin, and The Scarlet Letter is the public badge of committing adultery.

A quick look at Monroe Township's summer reading list for high schoolers reveals that other students are being assigned Sold, Patricia's McCormick's novel about a 13-year-old girl being sold into sexual slavery in India, and Their Eyes Were Watching God, which follows the sexual awakening of a woman who is the product of a violent rape. If kids are already being exposed to rape, patricide, suicide, incest, drug use, adultery and more, then a gay sex scene seems pretty tame in comparison.