Saturday, September 26, 2009

Banned Books Week

Today is the start of Banned Books Week. The purpose of Banned Books Week, taken from their website, is:

Banned Books Week is the only national celebration of the freedom to read. It was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than a thousand books have been challenged since 1982. The challenges have occurred in every state and in hundreds of communities. People challenge books that they say are too sexual or too violent. They object to profanity and slang, and protest against offensive portrayals of racial or religious groups--or positive portrayals of homosexuals. Their targets range from books that explore the latest problems to classic and beloved works of American literature.

During the last week of September every year, hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events.

In 2008, the most challenged books in the US were:

And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group

His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman
Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence

TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
Reasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence

Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
Reasons: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, and violence

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group

Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

Uncle Bobby's Wedding, by Sarah S. Brannen
Reasons: homosexuality and unsuited to age group

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

Flashcards of My Life, by Charise Mericle Harper
Reasons: sexually explicit and unsuited to age group

The website lists a number of events taking place to mark the week. Perhaps you could participate: check the above titles in your local library and if there are any which are not in stock anywhere in the system, place a reservation for them, to encourage the library to buy them. I shall be doing so on Monday.


Anonymous said...

Does the U.K. maintain a banned books list? Or don't they ban books at all? (I'm Donigan's wife...and an inquisitive librarian...)

Tom Conoboy said...

Hello to you. I'm a former librarian myself.

We don't have a list of banned books, no.

It's pretty rare books get banned here - usually only for legal reasons, libel and so forth. Ever since Lady Chatterley we've been much freer.