General · reading

Banned Books Week 2014

Banned books week starts September 21−27, 2014, about a month from now.

I’ll read something from the top ten list of last year’s challenged books to celebrate. I should something about the sorts of books that are getting people all riled up anyway.

The list, from the American Library Association:

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
  2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group 
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
    Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
    Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

Before now, I’d heard of only seven of these books: Captain Underpants, The Bluest Eye, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Fifty Shades of Grey, The Hunger Games, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Bone. Looking for Alaska, too, if only because it also appeared on last year’s list.

The only one I’ve read is The Hunger Games, but I’m not really sure how anyone could challenge it over Religious Viewpoints. It has hardly any religious viewpoints.  I almost get how people can challenge it over Unsuited to Age Group – it is very violent. If the movie had been nearly as violent, it would not have gotten the PG13 rating. But I think teenagers can handle it. Older teenagers especially. Younger kids? Maybe not. Or maybe they could. Probably depends on the child.

Books In the Top Ten Challenged List of Both 2013 and 2012: Captain Underpants, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Fifty Shades of Grey, Looking for Alaska.

Fifty Shades of Grey was challenged for new reasons this past year: nudity, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group. If nudity was a reason to challenge a book, you could challenge the whole romance genre. Most of urban fantasy, too. And a good chunk of science fiction/fantasy as well.

As for unsuited to age group – really? Really? The book is meant for adults. How can anything be unsuited to age group for adults? I don’t get it. It’s baffling.

I am going to read one of these books to celebrate. I don’t know which one yet. Maybe Fifty Shades of Grey, if only to discover how anyone could think adults are not old enough to read it.

Who else is reading a challenged book? Tell me!


12 thoughts on “Banned Books Week 2014

  1. I’ve read Bless Me Ultima twice, once in middle school and once in high school. I still don’t really understand that book other than someone in the book (I don’t remember who) practices voodoo. I think the reason is that there’s way too many spanish words in there and I don’t know Spanish. The Hunger Games banned for religious viewpoint? Now that’s something I don’t get.

  2. Hi Sonia, I am also baffled by religious viewpoint being an issue in The Hunger Games – clearly I am missing something…I am going to read John Green’s Looking for Alaska, I hear it’s a great book and you have inspired me to read it sooner! 🙂

  3. The perks of being a wallflower, perhaps.

    I would say save yourself from reading 50 Shades because I have read someone’s blog. The woman should have had an editor in a bad way. But it is your decision to read it.

    But I don’t understand the unsuited to age group as well. Where the heck are they shelving the books? In the young adults?

    1. I have actually been considering that one.

      Yes, yes, it is my decision. But I haven’t actually decided yet. YA is singularly inappropriate for Fifty Shades.

  4. I’ll be doing a recording of “And Tango Makes Three” to put up on YouTube 🙂 I also have The Perks of Being a Wallflower on my reading list!

  5. I hope you enjoy whatever you choose to read from this list. I had never heard of banned books until I started blogging (I don’t think it is as big in the UK but maybe I’ve just been oblivious) but I think parents should be able to guide their children where necessary. I really don’t get how nudity in a book is bad it isn’t as though these books have pictures!

  6. It all depends on a local group of people who have more time than sense. Anything they think is undesirable, they attack. Most times without ever reading the book. Thanks for following my blog. I appreciate it.

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