Thursday, October 04, 2007

Happy Banned Books Week!

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. ~Voltaire

To choose a good book, look in an inquisitor’s prohibited list. ~John Aikin

Everyone's job for the week: read one book that has been banned or is being/has been recently challenged.

"You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them." - Ray Bradbury

Top Ten Banned Books for the 20th Century.
I'm actually not SURE how accurate this list is. I couldn't get any data from the ALA, but I have cross checked with a couple of sites and this SEEMS to be the most accurate list:

1984
The Catcher in the Rye
Fahrenheit 451 (seriously?)
The Grapes of Wrath
Lady Chatterly's Lover
The Naked Lunch
Slaughterhouse 5
To Kill A Mockingbird
Tropic of Cancer
Ulysses

The reasons are always varied and hillarious.

I really enjoyed one story in particular of a group of school children receiving copies of Fahrenheit 451 with the words "hell" and "damn" blacked out.
My favourite reason for banning/challenging 1984 continues to be "pro-communist views". Have you even read...

Rose Darko: Do you even know who Graham Greene is?
Kitty Farmer: I think we've all seen Bonanza.


The best story of a book not on the list:

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Anne Frank. Modern Library. Challenged in Wise County, Va. (1982) due to "sexually offensive" passages. Four members of the Alabama State Textbook Committee (1983) called for the rejection of this book because it is a "real downer".

I've yet to find a rencent challenge in Canada that has lead to a ban. Does anyone know of any?



A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.
- The American Library Association

Most challenged books of 21st Century (2000-2005 seems to be most recent data):
(from the American Library Association)

1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

2. "The Chocolate War" by Robert Cormier

3. Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

4. "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck

5. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou

6. "Fallen Angels" by Walter Dean Myers

7. "It's Perfectly Normal" by Robie Harris

8. Scary Stories series by Alvin Schwartz

9. Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey

10. "Forever" by Judy Blume


Something tells me that a good many of these books/authors are still high on this list.


"Oh Harry, don't you see?" Hermione breathed, "If she could have done one thing to make sure that absolutely every single person in this school will read your interview, it was banning it."

2 comments:

Andrew J. Root the First said...

"Slaughterhouse 5?" Seriously? What for?

Liz said...

"The gun made a ripping sound like the opening of the zipper on the fly of God Almighty"

Seriously.

1)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slaughterhouse-Five#Controversy_and_debate
2)
http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/bannedbooksweek/bbwlinks/reasonsbanned.htm