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Today, British newspaper The Guardian reported the top 10 books that people have tried to ban across the United States throughout 2008. Philip Pullman, of the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass, et al), came in at #2. (To see the rest of the list, click here.

From the article:

“Pullman’s fantasy trilogy, His Dark Materials, has leapt to the top of the target list of would-be censors in the new rankings issued this week by the American Library Association. It tracks cases where individuals or groups have attempted to have books stripped from bookshelves in schools and libraries across the US.”

When The Guardian contacted him to comment on the ranking, Pullman responded that he’s “very glad to be back in the top 10 banned books.”

The article briefly mentioned Pullman’s upcoming adult novel (which is likely to inspire controversy): The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. The New York Times ArtsBeat Blog wrote that this novel will be “a fictionalized account of the life of Jesus that will differ from the version presented in the New Testament.”

In a statement on his website dated Sept. 14, Pullman writes:

“I've always been fascinated by the two parts of the name of Jesus Christ, and by the difference between them. Another thing that's interested me for a long time is the way in which the Christian church began to formulate its beliefs and establish a canon of scripture.”

The novel will be published by Scottish publishing house Canongate. Publication date is around Easter. So far, no American release has been announced.

Any Pullman fans want to weigh in on the new book? Are you surprised that Pullman ranked so high on the banned books list?

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