reading

Banned Books Week 2015: September 27-October 3

Banned Books Week starts today and ends on Saturday.

Every year, people attempt to ban books from the shelves of libraries or schools, to keep other people from enjoying material they feel is bad in someway.

The website of the American Library Association lists some of these books. The top ten books challenged this past year are:

  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying”
  2. Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi                                                                   Reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically, racially, and socially offensive,” “graphic depictions”
  3. And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell         Reasons: Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda”
  4. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison                                                              Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “contains controversial issues”
  5. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris                                                          Reasons: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. Additional reasons: “alleges it child pornography”
  6. Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples                                                        Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  7. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini                                                              Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky                                                                                                                   Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation”
  9. A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard                                                                                        Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group
  10. Drama, by Raina Telgemeier                                                                                   Reasons: sexually explicit

 

I have only read Persepolis before, and only the first part at that. I suppose it was only a matter of time before this book showed up on the top ten banned list. I don’t recall gambling. Some of the language is strong, but not gratuitously so. But the political viewpoint – well. Politics is all over Persepolis. You take it out, there is nothing left. So, yeah. The politics cannot help but make it controversial and I suppose that means someone will try to ban it.

As far as I know, Persepolis is new to the top ten banned books list. Also: It’s Perfectly Normal, Saga, A Stolen Life and Drama are new to the list as well. Basically, half the list. Some of them probably appeared on the list, but not in the top ten.

Also, is Saga a YA book? It’s a comic, yeah, but I don’t know if that automatically makes it YA.

I haven’t read any of the others. I usually pick a banned book to read this week, but life snuck on me and I haven’t picked one yet.

There are lists of banned books: by decade and GoodReads and classics. I am sure there are other lists that I haven’t found!

 

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4 thoughts on “Banned Books Week 2015: September 27-October 3

  1. Thank you for posting this! I knew it was this month but I thought it was last week and I missed it.

    I usually try to do something special as well, either a blog post, read a banned book, or both. I got into the Hunger Games series before it became so popular because it showed up on a Banned Book list (for sexuality, she kissed a boy, oooooh) and it’s premise reminded me of the Greek myth of the youth being sacrificed to the Minotaur. Another time I read “And Tango Makes Three” which is the story of two male penguins raising a baby penguin. It’s a children’s book telling the true story of three penguins living in Central Park Zoo. I don’t know if they are still alive, but the book is based on a true story.

    Basically, if you want a list of great or classic books, look at a Banned Book List. 😛

    That said, not every book that’s been banned is well written or a great story, imo. And as much as I love Banned Book Week, I strongly suspect many of the “banned” books aren’t really banned, just challenged for some reason or misplaced in the wrong section of the library or something. There’s no doubt that some people do try to ban books, but I don’t think it’s as prevalent as BBW makes it seem. For instance, there was one woman who checked out a book she thought was inappropriate for the library to have and refused to return it, essentially stealing the book, in order to make it unavailable to library patrons. That was the point. She essentially bypassed the entire system, and the library and community HAS a system, and even if a book is challenged that’s not the same as being taken off the shelves. I know it does happen, so I think BBW serves an important purpose in keeping communities vigilant.

    An example of what I mean would be an adult book shelved in the children’s section. If a parent saw that and said, hey this is inappropriate for children, would that be a challenge? In an extreme example, if a High School wanted to use something like “Fifty Shades of Grey” as required reading for Lit, would that be considered “Banning” if parents objected? Required reading for schools falls into a different category imo. The children and parents have to do certain reading for schools, so parents have every right to challenge the material their own children are required to read.

    This year, BBW caught me by surprise so I hadn’t planned out my BB reading for the week. Luckily, I’m rereading Moby Dick, which according to BBW, ” a Texas school district banned the book from its Advanced English class lists because it “conflicted with their community values” in 1996.” Again, I’m not sure taking a book off a required reading list counts as “Banning” but for my purposes, I’ll take it.

    Sorry for the mini-novel. I just love this. Happy Banned Book Week!

    1. I do believe the ALA counts those challenges – some books are challenged more often than others and the ones challenged most often end up in this top ten list.

      As for the Fifty Shades of Grey – I am pretty sure it would. In fact, Fifty Shades of Grey has appeared on the list for unsuited for age group and as it is meant for adults, I don’t think it is unsuited for adults. I don’t know if anyone actually tried to teach it in hs though. That would be odd.

  2. Thanks for posting. I’d forgotten about banned book week as well. It’s good to be reminded that some people want to control others. Whether that’s by banning books or something else, it needs to be stopped. I’m going to go look for a list and find a new, banned, book to read.

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