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The Platforms: Main Discussion Area => Platform 1: Books => Topic started by: paint it Black on October 04, 2012, 02:09:55 AM

Title: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: paint it Black on October 04, 2012, 02:09:55 AM
(http://i650.photobucket.com/albums/uu226/albummy/i_read_banned_books.jpg)

Celebrate the freedom to Read!

Thirty years ago, the American Library Association, the Association of American Publishers and the American Booksellers Association joined together to highlight titles that had made headlines for attempts to ban or otherwise keep them from the hands of readers.  Every September since then, they create awareness about the importance of unfettered access to books by holding Banned Books Week (http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek).  Does your community observe Banned Books Week in any way?  Will you celebrate the week yourself by reading one of these controversial books?

Here are the Top Ten challenged books for 2011 (http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/21stcenturychallenged), as reported by the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom:

1.    ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
       Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
2.    The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
       Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
3.    The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
       Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence
4.    My Mom's Having A Baby! A Kid's Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
       Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
5.    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
       Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
6.    Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
       Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint
7.    Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
       Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit
8.    What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones
       Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit
9.    Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
       Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit
10.  To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
       Reasons: offensive language; racism

Does this and the other lists of banned or challenged books (http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged) on the banned books site include the kinds of books that you regularly read?  Are you surprised at some of the titles (even the Harry Potter series is here!) that you see included on these lists?  Are you surprised that the effort to restrict access to books continues in the 21st Century?

What did you think of some of the reasons (http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/challengedclassics/reasonsbanned) that are given for restricting these books?  Do you think that it is ever justified to do so?

Do you have a story to share of an experience with a banned book; have you ever been prevented from reading a particular book?

Do you  have a favorite Banned Book?

As a highlight of the 2012 Banned Books Week event, the American Library Association has invited readers to participate in a Banned Books Virtual Read-Out.  Click here (http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/node/322) to see author Stephen Chbosky support Banned Books Week by reading and explaining the origins of a poem included in his frequently-challenged book The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  (And don't forget to join our new Book Club Cuppa when our discussion of this book begins on October 15!  :) )

Share any other thoughts you have about the Freedom to Read right here!
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: wordsaremagic on October 04, 2012, 04:15:08 AM
The idea of censorship just irritates me down to the core. But, do I think "restrictions" should ever be applied? That's far too general a question to be meaningful. If a fifth grade teacher reads to his or her class a clearly adult adult book, for example one that we are currently discussing here in Discussion Station, The Casual Vacancy, I might have a problem with that. Would that make me a "book banner"? I do not think so.
If parents choose to allow the child to read the book, well, that is a different matter.
The same applies when libraries must make decision about how to spend their ever shrinking financial resources. Unlike the Library of Congress, they cannot buy everything and must make decision based on the needs and wishes of their communities. That is especially true because the library belongs to that community. These are not easy decisions for librarians to make.
On the whole, I do not mind books being challenged. A book everyone agrees upon, probably isn't worth reading to begin with.
We should all have access to express our grievances, even someone like Laura Mallory, who has fought against the Harry Potter books in many courts. She must be given clear access to due process, although I disagree with her profoundly. So the fact that a book is "challenged," is not, for me, a problem, as long as the government doesn't step in to prevent the sale and distribution. I understand that libraries, especially school libraries, must make hard decisions, so rather than issue blanket statements about challenges, I would desire to examine them on a case by case basis.
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: Kickassnoodle on October 08, 2012, 08:10:39 PM
Well, I don't live in the US, so I really never had a problem with the Banned books phenomenon. A Catholic school library in my town houses Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings and such; and as far as I know nobody ever had a problem with any book being placed in there. That being said I feel it's very, um, unjust to try and prevent any book from reaching school libraries. I mean, it's one thing when parents take care of what their child reads, but it's quite another when they want to prevent other people, other children from reading them. Especially because the kinds of books that are most often banned/challenged are just the sort of books I like to read. I like books that make me think and question things, I like uncomfortable topics and, um, drastically (un)realistic imagery ;D And I also like reading about other magical worlds because I like to escape this one from time to time.
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: wordsaremagic on October 10, 2012, 03:58:15 PM

(http://i223.photobucket.com/albums/dd281/argument2/huck.jpg)
http://www.flavorwire.com/335428/15-scathing-early-reviews-of-classic-novels#2 (http://www.flavorwire.com/335428/15-scathing-early-reviews-of-classic-novels#2)
“The Concord public library committee deserve well of the public by their action in banishing Mark Twain’s new book, Huckleberry Finn
on the ground that it is trashy and vicious. It is time that this influential pseudonym should cease to carry into homes and libraries unworthy productions… The advertising samples of this book, which have disfigured the Century magazine, are enough to tell any reader how offensive the whole thing must be. They are no better in tone than the dime novels which flood the blood-and-thunder reading population… his literary skill is, of course, superior, but their moral level is low, and their perusal cannot be anything less than harmful.” From The Springfield Republican published in The New York Times, 1885.
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: Lucette on October 21, 2012, 09:10:40 AM
I took To Kill a Mockingbird in school.

What about Robert Munsch's Good Families Don't about a certain form of gas personified as a monster - I read that one and it was banned in a few places.

In Canned Lit, an introduction to Canadian books for people who have never read any, Allan Gould successfully argued that Northrup Frye's The Great Code said basically the same things as Salmon Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, only about Christianity.  Read both.  Should note that Gould also argues, less successfully, that if an American had written Anne of Green Gables that Anne, being an orphan, would have been accused of murdering her parents.

I think some common sense should be used since a teacher has a certain number of books which fit the criteria of sentence structure and issues - that it not be total whitewash and not be total stereotype but present people as people a bit more.  If a story is worth telling, it is worth telling warts and all.  And note that a kid is in a class, not just with their friends, but with people who either don't like them much or who wish to gain status by putting someone else down.  One should not do anything that gives ammo to bullies.

Huckleberry Finn both gives ammo and takes ammo away - more the latter than the former.  Though, if one has another book that deals with the same issues at the same reading level in a better way, teach with that one instead.  I would not recommend X-Men or Gargoyles as a replacement, though both deal with issues of racism without singling out one race but with some cost to the historical context. 

We too One Flew over the Cookoo's Nest in school and they showed us the movie.  As a girl (might as well admit that much about myself), the only images I had was the Umbridge-like nurse, who was the enemy and those other women who were not part of the group, they were more like groupies, to be generous. I would not say ban it, but if one needs to use that book, the next one should have strong female characters that the girls can see themselves in without feeling worthless.  Also, it may be a good idea to bring up that misogyny used to be more sanctioned in society then than it is now.  It was a time when there was a backlash against strong independent women and the desire for women to be more submissive and undemanding.

Quote
The same applies when libraries must make decision about how to spend their ever shrinking financial resources. Unlike the Library of Congress, they cannot buy everything and must make decision based on the needs and wishes of their communities.

I have no idea what is kept in the Library of Congress - though I presume that some of its contents have been there a while.

School libraries sometimes get donations of books - and may decide which ones to keep and which ones are too whitewash and dated to be of any use or interest to students to keep (ie one about the inventor of the eight-track).  In Canada, if they were buying books, Canadian authors would gain some priority just because students are bombarded daily with American content.

It seems to me that, donated or bought, parents raise their objections later after the book is already there.

Think that someone raised objections to Linda De Haan's King & King somewhere, but can't remember for sure.
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: merrythought on October 21, 2012, 11:23:48 PM
...One Flew over the Cookoo's Nest...  Iwould not say ban it, but if one needs to use that book, the next one should have strong female characters that the girls can see themselves in without feeling worthless.  Also, it may be a good idea to bring up that misogyny used to be more sanctioned in society then than it is now.  It was a time when there was a backlash against strong independent women and the desire for women to be more submissive and undemanding.
To me, this one of many reasons to read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in school.  At some point in their lives, students will encounter misogyny in the real world; if discussing this aspect of Cuckoo's Nest better prepares them for this eventuality, I think that's a good thing.

The idea of banning a novel as beautiful and culturally significant as To Kill A Mockingbird astonishes.  It faithfully depicts an important time in American history, complete with the social dilemmas of the day; further, it presents a forgiving and hopeful attitude about humanity without seeing human nature through rose-colored glasses, but realistically.  It's certainly book from which young people can and do learn wisdom and empathy.
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: Lucette on November 09, 2012, 05:42:55 AM
Merrythought - agree, but there are just so many books out there with misogynist themes.  Have not read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (neck problems now) but, from what I've read about it, it would deal with the issue of misogyny better while showing also a strong female character.  Tomson Highway's Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing would also be better for dealing with the issue of misogyny - though it is a book based on a play and does make fun of men a bit.

I think what makes To Kill a Mockingbird so good is that it is told through a child's voice.
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: wordsaremagic on November 09, 2012, 08:22:13 PM
[...]
Huckleberry Finn both gives ammo and takes ammo away - more the latter than the former.  Though, if one has another book that deals with the same issues at the same reading level in a better way, teach with that one instead. 
[...]
I would argue that there simply IS NO better book about the American experience of slavery and prejudice.
I find myself agreeing with Ernest Hemingway:
"All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn."
 Green Hills of Africa
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: atschpe on November 12, 2012, 12:13:19 PM
Not living in the US, like Kickassnoodle, book banning isn't that apparent here. However, it has had its own kind of influence here: Hitler's  "Mein Kampf", was banned for quite a while here in Germany. Understandable perhaps at first sight, one should not forget that banning something makes it special and even pushes people to then just get a hold of it, because they shouldn't. And thus the book is not only read secretively but likely with the wrong attitude, quickly becoming food for rebellion or "wrong" insight. Perhaps I should not be so surprised that the neo-nazis movement is more and more apparent. And for the record, I have read it (no worries, it wasn't ban then anymore), and I am glad I did, as I can now more fully grasp the man behind that war. I can no longer call him dumb or a maniac, true, but I have seen how brilliance and insight can so easily be warped into hatred and wrong decisions. It is not a fun read, but very imformative. And under the right guidance it could help us recognise and realign developments before they go off track.

Instead of banning books why not indicate books to be read under guidance (by a parent or teacher)? We do not read books to just suck up the information and believe it, period. No, some books are there to make you think, make you react to them, to allow you to learn why you disagree with a notion. Books can teach you about how people think and act, and why they suddenly go off the beaten track and do "bad" things. With the help of guidance the reader can learn to really look past words and notions and find meaning and lessons, whether personal or global. But then again, in our fast paced society we have no time for helping another so it's best to just ban the book right?
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: HealerOne on November 13, 2012, 04:46:58 AM
I could never understand banning books. Books contain thoughts and thoughts - well - how can you ban thoughts? If you feel that books full of imagination need to be banned? Banning imagination on so many levels is horrible and destructive to all. I think you have a good idea atschpe,  if you really have a problem with a book then have a list that suggests parental guidance. I remember reading books well above my level of understanding as a kid, but found a good dictionary or a companion commentary was very helpful in giving an understanding of the underlying message of the book.

In this day and age - it would be easy enough for a younger reader to Google some reviews or critiques to help sort out what the author is trying to say.  Goodness knows there are plenty of situations when children/young adults (and yes even adults!) get in over their heads and need some help to figure out what the heck is going on. But those experiences help us all to grow! How can we fail to give this gift to everyone? The chance to learn something new and broaden our world? Banning books isn't the answer - being willing to be a good guide and open to discussing anything is what is needed. That's called interactive teaching and anyone can do that!
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: RiverSpirit on November 16, 2012, 10:10:57 PM
I didn't ever think that banned books were an issue in Australia. I decided to have a look and was amazed at what I found.

Here are some to of the books that have been banned in the past in Australia:

Jackie Collins, The stud (banned 1969)
Jackie Collins, The world is full of married men (banned 1968)
Ernest Hemingway, A farewell to arms (banned 1931–1937)
Barry Humphries, The wonderful world of Barry McKenzie (banned 1968–1971)
James Joyce, Dubliners (banned 1929–1933)
James Joyce, Ulysses (banned 1929–1937, restricted 1941–1953)
George Orwell, Down and out in Paris and London (banned 1933–1953)
George Orwell, Keep the aspidistra flying (banned 1936–1954)
Harold Robbins, The carpetbaggers (unabridged edition banned 1961–1971)

and that's just a few of them.

The one that changed things ... J.D. Salinger, The catcher in the rye (banned 1956; ban lifted after copies seized from Commonwealth Parliamentary Library 1957). Apparently the librarians that worked for the government did not know it was banned and in 1958 a review of the rating of books was undertaken.

Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: JaneMarple9 on November 24, 2012, 09:08:29 PM
I've never been a classical "banned book" reader. I think I read Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer when I was younger, but I don't think I saw any really "banned stuff" in the stories. I've never had the opportunity/inclination of reading "To Kill a Mocking Bird" and "Catcher in the rye" which I know deal with difficult subjects as well.
The series of "banned books" I know the most about is, obviously, the Harry Potter series. I totally "get" why some people have been in uproar about the series, but to me it was a wonderful series of books, nothing more, which enlightened my reading experience! :D
Personally, I think when people try to "ban" something, it only encourages certain people to do whatever is supposed to be banned. Nothing wrong with "banned books" in my opinion :)
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: paint it Black on September 23, 2013, 01:26:05 AM
It's the naughtiest reading week of the year!  8) Ready to get rebellious?  It's time to choose a book to read for this year's Banned Books Week (http://www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek)!  I'm still trying to decide on one.   I'd like to choose one from this list of Banned and Challenged Classics (http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/classics).  I'm leaning toward Lolita.

Will you be reading a special book for Banned Books Week?  Do you have a favorite that you would recommend to someone else?
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: RiverSpirit on September 24, 2013, 01:34:03 AM
I had no idea I had read so many banned books! I have had Where Angels Fear To Tread in my Kindle for ages.Might be time to start it.
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: CallMeSeverus on September 24, 2013, 09:43:28 PM
 :hermionelibrary:

... thinking I need to find myself a banned book to read!  :snape:
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: Dreamteam on September 24, 2013, 10:49:22 PM
I had no idea I had read so many banned books!
Me too  :) - quite a few on that list are ones I've read, some of them while in school, although most of them were never banned in the UK, thankfully.  So I might read one that was, Lady Chatterley's Lover, which has been on my To Read list for quite a while, although I need to finish Black Beauty first - quite a contrast,  ;D
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: Kickassnoodle on October 04, 2013, 04:20:54 PM
I haven't read that many of the books on that list (I remember 9 for sure, and I read one of Hemingway's books, but I can't remember which one  :fredgeorge: ), however, The Clockwork Orange is one of my all-time favourite books, I love the way it explores violence and free will and stuff.

paint it Black, Lolita is a fascinating book, which isn't to be confused with, well, enjoyable in the traditional sense of the word. I'm glad I read it, but I'm not going to do it again - it's a very uncomfortable book. Took me a while to shake it off. I can see why some parents wouldn't want their kids to read it, and yet, that doesn't justify them trying to remove it from libraries altogether. I'm sure some parents think it's better if their kids are educated about things like that by books and, ideally, conversation in class or at home, rather than be ignorant.
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: paint it Black on October 08, 2013, 04:34:41 AM
I haven't read that many of the books on that list (I remember 9 for sure, .....
I think I've also read only about 9 from this particular list, and strangely enough, most of them are not what I would call favorites, except for Slaughterhouse-Five (hmm it's been ages since I've read it ... might be interesting to pick it up again sometime...).  Oh wait, I also liked The Catcher in the Rye.  Still, there are several more of these that I'd like to read, not because they are banned classics, but because they are classics that I've been wanting to read!

paint it Black, Lolita is a fascinating book, which isn't to be confused with, well, enjoyable in the traditional sense of the word. I'm glad I read it, but I'm not going to do it again - it's a very uncomfortable book. ....
Kickassnoodle, "uncomfortable" is a good choice of word to describe this book!  It seems like the first quarter of the book is mostly filled with the protagonist drooling over young girls.  ??? As a reader I felt I had to decide if I was going to give up on this book or continue to be creeped out by it.  I decided to give it a go, and have now entered the stage where I am curious to see what happens next.  I am always drawn to a book where the characters develop throughout the story, and I think there is a possibility of that happening here.  We'll see!  For the first part of the book though I was wishing that I had chosen the same banned book that Dreamteam had chosen instead.

How is everyone else enjoying their banned books?  Been scandalized yet?  :scared:
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: Kickassnoodle on October 09, 2013, 12:54:41 PM
Well, I stayed up past my bedtime and finished Brave New World yesterday :hermioneread: On this day and age, I didn't find much to be scandalised about, really. The matter-of-fact attitude most characters have towards human sexuality was actually quite refreshing (it just struck me as a bit strange that there appeared to be no LGBT folks in that future where everyone is so unconcerned about who everyone sleeps with - I guess it had to be thrown out to get the uniformity of the population). However, the book was disturbing, all right, on quite a deep level too, which to me, is one of the sign of a good/great book. Even though, just to be clear, I don't think that Brave New World is all that great as a piece of literary art, it works as a philosophical work - I don't quite know what to make of it ;D

And yeah, paint it Black, there are quite a few books on that list I want to read as well because they're classic. In general, a book's status as a banned book isn't of itself an inducement for me to read it. However, I do get a certain added satisfaction in defying the general closed-mindedness of a certain part of the population  :fredgeorge: It's also an indication that the book deals with important but often not-talked-about issues which makes it a great springboard for opening up a conversation, not to mention that I just simply like reading uncomfortable books.
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: varza on October 12, 2013, 10:12:12 PM
I originally came here because I wanted to discuss banned books - especially since one of my favorite books "Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman was just suspended in a school in NM because of 1, yes 1, parent complained about it. I was a bit shocked because I couldn't understand why they were upset because while there is some language in it, the book was being read by high school students. But it seems a sex scene is the big upset because it is considered graphic and happens to be adulterous. (here is the article: http://www.alamogordonews.com/alamogordo-news/ci_24292499/parental-complaint-spurs-suspension-books-use-at-alamogordo (http://www.alamogordonews.com/alamogordo-news/ci_24292499/parental-complaint-spurs-suspension-books-use-at-alamogordo)

I am a bit curious because it was stated that the book is considered recommended or required reading list for the students classroom. Maybe I am wrong but usually what books are going to be read in class are given to the student at the beginning of the year - with a syllabus. They are calling for parental waivers to be signed to allow the books to be read - does this mean that if a parent doesn't sign that the student will be excused from reading the book? The likened the idea to watching movies - but often movies are not required for assignments in the classroom (at least not 20 years ago when I was in school). But my issue is - shouldn't the parents had taken the time at the beginning of the year and read over what their kids would be studying in school?

I didn't get to be read any of the books for banned book week because I have an overabundance of reading right now with school - of course, if someone read it I wouldn't be surprised if The Odyssey wouldn't be banned or my textbook "World of Myth". But I have read most of the ones of the list. Some of my favorite books of all time are "banned" books. Of course, I consider banning books to be ridiculous and closed minded.
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: paint it Black on October 20, 2013, 12:57:53 AM
But my issue is - shouldn't the parents had taken the time at the beginning of the year and read over what their kids would be studying in school?

If they are the kind that are likely to restrict everyone in the school from experiencing a book, I'd say they certainly should!  The article states that a letter is sent home to parents outlining the curriculum and the controversial content of some of the reading material.  The offended parent denies receiving this.  This is a book that has been on the recommended reading list for 9 years, and no one has felt the need to ban the book before now.  What gets me is when one parent thinks that they have the right to keep everyone else's child from a book.  >:(  I'm sure that teachers are willing to accommodate any individual student who requires a different book; there's no need to censor it for everyone.

This story sounds a lot like this (http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2013/09/north-carolina-students-will-get-free-copies-banned-invisible-man/69820/) recent one from North Carolina, where one parent's objection removed Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man from the shelves of Randolph County's school libraries.  I liked the solution that one resident came up with: enlist the publisher to provide a free copy of the book to any student in the county who wants one.  Take that, book banners!  :fredgeorge: (I'm not positive, but I think the school board did subsequently vote to reverse the ban.)

In both the NC and NM case, I hope all the uproar causes more students to read the book than would have otherwise.  :hermioneread:   :hermioneread:   :hermioneread:   :hermioneread:

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

(Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Scholastic hardcover p. 582)
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: paint it Black on September 22, 2014, 03:08:09 PM
It's that time of year again, time to get out and read a book that some may think is not fit for decent people to read!  :o  Welcome to Banned Books Week 2014 (http://www.ala.org/bbooks)!  Will you choose a banned book to read this year, and if so, which one?  If you are looking for suggestions, here (http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10#2013) is the list of the books that were most often challenged in 2013, and here (http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/classics) is a list of commonly banned and challenged classics.  Do you have any other plans to observe Banned Book Week?


I'm going to participate this year by reading Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.  I know that it is a favorite of many, but I have yet to read it.  My two main inspirations for choosing it are, 1) I read The Grapes of Wrath by the same author this summer and enjoyed it, and 2) my kid is reading it for school right now, so I have someone at home with whom to talk about it!  :grouptalk:
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: Dreamteam on September 24, 2014, 12:17:56 AM
paint it Black, I loved Of Mice and Men, I studied it for OWLs and loved it (as has often happened with books I've read for study) which resulted in me wanting to read everything else written by Steinbeck, I particularly liked the Cannery Row books. 


I'm killing two birds with one stone - I'm re-reading the whole Twilight series which I can then send off to the local charity shop to contribute to the space I need on my bookshelves to get some of the books off my desk and other items of furniture around the house.   
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: Evreka on September 28, 2014, 08:36:30 PM
It is completely beyond me how a country such as the US which supposedly defence the right of the free speach can allow books to be banned in the first place?  :annoyed: And as they do, how they can simultaneously sport a phenomenon such as Banned Books Weak in which people are encouraged to read them?  :crabbegoyle:  It just doesn't seem logical at all... Does it? No offence Americans, I realise there is something here that I don't get....

The list of banned and challenged classics held some very surprising titles, I think. Some of these books are highly recommended literature that you study in school in my country! Why, then, are they banned?  :crabbegoyle:

Such as
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
There might be more, these titles I recognized directly, a few others I am unsure of. In school I came across their Swedish titles and it's not always easy to be sure of the English (or other) title then.


Banned classics that I've read at some point in my life
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding --  :love:
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell - Fun to have read once, but no favourite.
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien   :thumbup:
57. Sophie's Choice, by William Styron - Interesting, but not a favourite.

9. 1984, by George Orwell (read excerpts in school)


In some cases I can sort of see why the book could be considered to be provoking, (in others I am utterly unfamiliar with the title), but how did these end up on that list?
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
57. Sophie's Choice, by William Styron

1984 and Animal Farm are both directed at the communistical way of life,  if I remember correctly, so why has the US banned them?  :crabbegoyle:
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: paint it Black on September 28, 2014, 10:43:39 PM
paint it Black, I loved Of Mice and Men, I studied it for OWLs and loved it (as has often happened with books I've read for study) which resulted in me wanting to read everything else written by Steinbeck, I particularly liked the Cannery Row books. 
I liked it as well, Dreamteam, I read it in only three days!  It would have been two days, but my reading companion wanted to leave the last chapter for the next day, so I did also.  And since I liked The Grapes of Wrath as well, just the day before I read your post I was wondering if I might like the Cannery Row books!  I got to visit Monterey CA once years ago (a really beautiful place), and there were many Cannery Row references there that I was not familiar with.

It is completely beyond me how a country such as the US which supposedly defence the right of the free speach can allow books to be banned in the first place?  :annoyed: And as they do, how they can simultaneously sport a phenomenon such as Banned Books Weak in which people are encouraged to read them?  :crabbegoyle:  It just doesn't seem logical at all... Does it? No offence Americans, I realise there is something here that I don't get....

Evreka, this page (http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/classics/reasons) from the Banned Books Week site gives explanations for why some of these books were challenged or banned.  And not all of the guilty parties that are listed are in the US, but most are.  Unfortunately, there are narrow-minded people all over the world, and the US is no exception.  It seems that most of the bans or challenges have to do with offensive language of some sort (sexual, racist, etc.), often in school districts but sometimes in the libraries of communities.  Banned Books Week (http://www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek) was started by the American Library Association to "...bring together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular."   And rebels like us support them because we believe that all people should have equal access to art of all kinds!  :bravo:  The ALA also states that, "While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read."  So, when enough readers like ourselves stand up for freedom, it makes a difference!  :thumbup:

Although the entire list of justifications for banning books is disheartening to read, I saw a few surprises that stood out:

The Lord of the Rings was not just banned but burned  >:( by a church group in Alamagordo, NM in 2001 for being "satanic".

Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov was banned by several countries as "obscene", including in France from 1956 - 1959.  I can't say that I know a lot about France, but my impression is that they are pretty open-minded about both sex and art, so this was a surprise to me!

Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: Laura W on September 29, 2014, 04:28:05 AM
Well, as I have said before here (and on LL) John Steinbeck is my second most favourite fiction writer ever.  I have read all his work - although many years ago, to be fair - and I love them all.  But Of Mice and Men is my favourite of his stories.  I can understand why some would feel it should be banned.  But i first read it as a teenager and thought it was brilliant then ... as I still do.
I think Grapes of Wrath is a genius book. 
The thing about Steinbeck is that he does not candy coat his characters or the lives they lead.  He is as much an American historian as a novelist; and the way he depicts his America at the time he was writing about is not often pretty or complimentary to his country. 

For me, Animal Farm and 1984 were VERY anti-Communist.  I would think those books would be touted and praised by the America of the cold war era and even today.  Odd that some would want to ban them.

I took Lord of the Flies in high school.  It was one of the few books that high school English teachers did not ruin for me.  I think everyone should read it; it is very, very sad and somewhat horrifying but a morality tale as relevant today as it was when Golding wrote it.  Not for the very young, but certainly appropriate for high school aged or older (in my opinion).

I have never read anything by Tolkien and don't plan to at this point, but how silly to want that classic series to be banned.  Guess it's because the books have magic in them?  Good grief!  So does Cinderella.

Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: Evreka on September 29, 2014, 08:39:35 PM
It is completely beyond me how a country such as the US which supposedly defence the right of the free speach can allow books to be banned in the first place?  :annoyed: And as they do, how they can simultaneously sport a phenomenon such as Banned Books Weak in which people are encouraged to read them?  :crabbegoyle:  It just doesn't seem logical at all... Does it? No offence Americans, I realise there is something here that I don't get....
Evreka, this page (http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/classics/reasons) from the Banned Books Week site gives explanations for why some of these books were challenged or banned.  And not all of the guilty parties that are listed are in the US, but most are.  Unfortunately, there are narrow-minded people all over the world, and the US is no exception. 
I'm genuinely sorry if that post came across as if I thought all narrow-minded people were Americans.  :-[  It wasn't what I meant at all. I know they crop up in all sorts of places, we've even had a Headmaster for a private school who wasted Television time by trying to work people's mind up against Harry Potter in my country as well (which she had nothing for)  :shake: .  This was years ago.

Thanks for the link, I'll try to cure my ignorance later. :)


For me, Animal Farm and 1984 were VERY anti-Communist.  I would think those books would be touted and praised by the America of the cold war era and even today.  Odd that some would want to ban them.
My thoughts too, Laura W. If Russia, Albania or similar had banned them it would have been understandable, but US?  :crabbegoyle:


I have never read anything by Tolkien and don't plan to at this point, but how silly to want that classic series to be banned.  Guess it's because the books have magic in them?  Good grief!  So does Cinderella.
   
The Swedish Headmaster who (pretty much) wanted people to stop reading Harry Potter, and used a vast number of arguments that didn't really impress  :-X, claimed among other things that they were inherently evil because there were wizards in them. I guess, maybe, the difference between Cinderella and LOTR is that the latter has a wizard? Still, it is a fairy tale for more mature children/youth/adults. There's no real life religion anywhere in sight...

Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: Laura W on September 29, 2014, 11:44:56 PM
Well, Cinderella has a fairy godmother in it who waves her wand and changes rags into a ball gown, a pumpkin into a coach and mice into beautiful horses.  If that's not witchcraft and sorcery, I don't know what is. (hee, hee)

So, a wizard who can do magic is worse than a woman who suddenly appears before a young girl and performs miracles?  They both seem pretty "satanic" and anti-religious to me.  (wink)  ...

Obviously I'm being sarcastic here - finding nothing "satanic" or anti-Christian in either Cinderella or LOTR -; I'm just being a bit silly and ridiculous.  But nowhere as silly and ridiculous as that Swedish professor and that church group in Alamagordo.

LW
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: ss19 on September 30, 2014, 03:23:03 AM
It is completely beyond me how a country such as the US which supposedly defence the right of the free speach can allow books to be banned in the first place?  :annoyed: And as they do, how they can simultaneously sport a phenomenon such as Banned Books Weak in which people are encouraged to read them?  :crabbegoyle:  It just doesn't seem logical at all... Does it? No offence Americans, I realise there is something here that I don't get....
1984 and Animal Farm are both directed at the communistical way of life,  if I remember correctly, so why has the US banned them?  :crabbegoyle:

Well, the US as a country does not ban any of these books.  But libraries, schools, or communities, etc., have the freedom to choose which books to put on their bookshelves, and the individual members of these libraries/schools/communities have the freedom to speak up when they have something against a particular book and want it removed from the bookshelves.  That's what the list of banned books really is.  It contains the names of books that are most frequently asked by individuals to be removed from a library, etc.  It doesn't mean all these books were actually banned by any group, though some probably were.

The US being a country that values individual freedom means (to me) that everyone can have and voice their own opinion, however strongly the rest of the population might disagree.  So it makes sense to me that we'd be a country that has all these voices of people who want certain books banned from their libraries or schools or whatever.

I know some Christian schools do ban Harry Potter books from their classrooms, and I've had well-meaning friends warn me to be careful what fantasy books I allow my kids to read.  They're certainly entitled to their opinion, but I'm also free to disagree with them, so I just shrug and thank them politely for their concern.

My library has a table showcasing and promoting these so-called "banned books" for National Banned Books Week.  Looking at this list (http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10#2013) that paint it Black provided a few posts back, I'm proud to say that I own quite a few of these books I purchased for my kids, including the entire set of the Captain Underpants series that's at the top of list.  Those books were loved and read repeatedly by my one son who hates to read normally.  We own the entire set of the Bone books by Jeff Smith as well, #10 on that list, which the same son also loves and reads repeatedly.  We own the Hunger Games books, #5 on the list, as well.
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: Laura W on September 30, 2014, 07:13:12 AM
I think this quote fits in this thread ...

In a 1979 edition of his 1953 book, Fahrenheit 451, science fiction master Ray Bradbury wrote a Coda.  It said - in part -


 " There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist/Unitarian, Irish/Italian/Octogenarian/Zen Buddhist, Zionist/Seventh-day Adventist, Women's Lib/Republican, Mattachine/FourSquareGospel feels it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse.
 
...   For it is a mad world and it will get madder if we allow the minorities, be they dwarf or giant, orangutan or dolphin, nuclear-head or water-conversationalist, pro-computerologist or Neo-Luddite, simpleton or sage, to interfere with aesthetics. The real world is the playing ground for each and every group, to make or unmake laws. But the tip of the nose of my book or stories or poems is where their rights and my territorial imperatives begin, run and rule. If Mormons do not like my plays, let them write their own. If the Irish hate my Dublin stories, let them rent typewriters. If teachers and grammar school editors find my jawbreaker sentences shatter their mushmilk teeth, let them eat stale cake dunked in weak tea of their own ungodly manufacture."



Take it or leave it as you will.   :hmm:

   
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: paint it Black on October 04, 2014, 10:50:34 PM
My library has a table showcasing and promoting these so-called "banned books" for National Banned Books Week.  Looking at this list (http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10#2013) that paint it Black provided a few posts back, I'm proud to say that I own quite a few of these books I purchased for my kids, including the entire set of the Captain Underpants series that's at the top of list.  Those books were loved and read repeatedly by my one son who hates to read normally.  We own the entire set of the Bone books by Jeff Smith as well, #10 on that list, which the same son also loves and reads repeatedly.  We own the Hunger Games books, #5 on the list, as well.

Hooray for books that encourage reluctant readers, and for the parents who buy them for their children!  :thumbup:

In a 1979 edition of his 1953 book, Fahrenheit 451, science fiction master Ray Bradbury wrote a Coda.....
   
:bravo:


Well, here's a great way to NOT celebrate Banned Books Week... A school district in the Dallas, TX area last month removed seven texts from the list of books approved for teachers to use in their lessons, including Siddhartha, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, An Abundance of Katherines and The Glass Castle: A Memoir (although the books did remain available in the school library).  One class of tenth grade students were already in the midst of studying The Art of Racing in the Rain, when they were told to stop (http://www.dallasnews.com/news/education/headlines/20140922-highland-park-isd-parents-start-group-to-fight-books-suspension.ece), leaving the teacher without a lesson plan for the class. Fortunately, a group of students and parents protested (and were able to use the timing of Banned Books Week as a backdrop  :thumbup:) and the decision was reversed (http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/park-cities/headlines/20140929-highland-park-isd-reverses-book-suspensions-at-high-school.ece).

Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: paint it Black on September 30, 2015, 04:23:56 PM
It's here, it's now, it's happening: Banned Books Week 2015 (http://www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek) started on Sunday, September 27th and continues through Saturday October 3.  Are you already in the midst of reading your banned book for this year?  Or are you still planning your trip to the library, bookstore, or your favorite reading device to get your hands on your naughty book for this year?  Once you've made your choice, please come back here and tell us about it!

If you're looking for some suggestions... From the American Library Association, here is a list of the top 10 most frequently challenged books of the 20th century, by year (http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10); here is a list of banned and challenged classics (http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/classics).

A writer from Slate magazine stirred up a bit of controversy this week with her article, "Banned Books Week is a Crock!" (http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2015/09/banned_books_week_no_one_bans_books_anymore_and_censorship_of_books_is_incredibly.html), suggesting that the whole idea of the event is overblown, since "There is basically no such thing as a 'banned book' in the United States in 2015."  :hmm: Would you agree, or are you more on the same page with this rebuttal (http://bookriot.com/2015/09/29/hey-slate-banned-books-week-isnt-crock/) that appeared on Bookriot's site? 

As for myself... I like to observe this week by choosing a book from the "classics" list, that way I can get both a banned book and a classic under my belt with one read.  :thumbup: This year, I chose James Joyce's Ulysses; I remember picking it last year at this time to be my read this year, but I can't remember why or what I learned about it.  :crabbegoyle: So I was a little stunned when I pulled it off the shelf at the library and saw that this is a brick of a book, as in, over 1000 pages. :o Needless to say, I am a bit intimidated.  But I've decided to give it a try.  If it doesn't take, I may switch over to Catch 22, or Toni Morrison's Beloved.  I admit that I have not started reading Ulysses yet; I'm having trouble putting down the book I am currently reading.  I do definitely want to get into my Banned Book this week, though! 

Does your school or local library or book shop do anything to observe Banned Books Week?  What meaning does Banned Books Week hold for you?  Tell us about it!  :hermionelibrary:


Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: Laura W on October 01, 2015, 12:14:32 AM
Ulysses! Holy smoly!  In the mood for a little light reading, are you?  (Hee, hee)  I think I once took up that book about 20 or so years ago.  Got through a few pages and dropped it.  Just couldn't get into it.  I know Joyce is supposed to be a brilliant writer, but have never been able to read more than a few pages of anything he has penned.  Guess he is just not my cup of tea.

When I was in my late teens I read Catch 22.  I really liked it.  ( Warning ... it is very cynical and quite "dirty".   :o)  But is a realistic, non-romantic portrayal of war.  Also very American.

Laura
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: HealerOne on October 03, 2015, 06:01:50 PM
Oh my goodness! I have never read Ulysses, but I just read the cliff notes on it. Wow! The author wrote the book from 18 points of view! That alone would blow my mind. Good luck reading it. You will have to tell us how that goes. I don't think I have the patience to read that. But it does sound intriguing.

My favorite classic banned book is Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. An excellent book to pick up.

I think it is important not to ban things and to have adults have the freedom to explore all ideas, because how does one know what is a 'good'  idea vs, a 'bad' one if you never have sampled one or the other? Just because you have read things which have odd, crazy, evil, or simply weird ideas doesn't mean you agree with those thoughts. I think it makes you a more well rounded and careful person when you delve into things that go against your grain.

However I do think that there is nothing wrong with saying to a child, "This book isn't age appropriate, but when you are older you certainly can read it, if you still wish to." Or have an to adult sit down and read with the child or discuss what they are reading, so that all sides of the issues are revealed to the child. Reading is such a fantastic way to open all sorts of doors to a young reader, but I do think, just like with movies  and even the news, we, as adults, need to monitor what kind of exposure the child is getting. What do you all think?
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: paint it Black on November 03, 2015, 11:54:01 PM
Ulysses! Holy smoly!  In the mood for a little light reading, are you?  (Hee, hee)  I think I once took up that book about 20 or so years ago.  Got through a few pages and dropped it.  Just couldn't get into it.  I know Joyce is supposed to be a brilliant writer, but have never been able to read more than a few pages of anything he has penned.  Guess he is just not my cup of tea....

Laura
Oh my goodness! I have never read Ulysses, but I just read the cliff notes on it. Wow! The author wrote the book from 18 points of view! That alone would blow my mind. Good luck reading it. You will have to tell us how that goes. I don't think I have the patience to read that. But it does sound intriguing....


I really can't fathom what might have inspired me to choose this title last year.  A re-telling of The OdysseyReally?  Reading that (and The Iliad) was like one of the most academically traumatic things that I endured in my high school years.  :headbang: I would not have knowingly chosen to put myself through it again!  But, I did start in with it.  I don't like to give up on things.  I couldn't help thinking though... there are so many unread books out there that I truly want to read....  :hmm: Ultimately, I needed to take a break from it in order to finish the book I was reading when Banned Books Week began, as it was due at the library before I could possibly finish Ulysses.  And then Ulysses became due before I could finish the first book.  So, back it went.  :ashamed: I did make it through to the end of Part 1 (which was barely decipherable, even as a stream-of-consciousness-type thing), and a bit into Part 2 (which was in actual English); I can't remember what page number I was on, but something between 100 and 120, I think.  Maybe I will pick it up again someday.


...I think it is important not to ban things and to have adults have the freedom to explore all ideas, because how does one know what is a 'good'  idea vs, a 'bad' one if you never have sampled one or the other? Just because you have read things which have odd, crazy, evil, or simply weird ideas doesn't mean you agree with those thoughts. I think it makes you a more well rounded and careful person when you delve into things that go against your grain.

However I do think that there is nothing wrong with saying to a child, "This book isn't age appropriate, but when you are older you certainly can read it, if you still wish to." Or have an to adult sit down and read with the child or discuss what they are reading, so that all sides of the issues are revealed to the child. Reading is such a fantastic way to open all sorts of doors to a young reader, but I do think, just like with movies  and even the news, we, as adults, need to monitor what kind of exposure the child is getting. What do you all think?

I agree that parents should be able to govern what reading material is or is not appropriate for their particular child.  But I don't think that a parent should be able to remove a particular book from a library or a classroom and limit access to it for other children.  School and youth librarians for the most part do not have an interest in pushing age-inappropriate material to their clientele, so I'd generally trust their judgement as to what books should be made available to young readers.  After that, it is up to the parents to decide whether a particular book is appropriate or not for their child. IMO.
Title: Re: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!
Post by: paint it Black on September 29, 2016, 02:51:12 AM
Welcome once again, naughty readers, to Banned Books Week!  Have you started your rebellious reading for this year yet?  Banned Books Week 2016 runs from September 25 - October 1, so you still have a few days left to pick out something forbidden if you want to participate.  :hermionelibrary:

Here (http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks) is the newest list of the top ten most challenged books, from 2015.  Does any title jump out as a surprise to you?  I admit that I did a double take when I saw The Holy Bible at number seven.  ???

I've chosen Toni Morrison's Beloved as my banned book for this year.  OK, I've checked it out, I haven't started reading yet  :ashamed:; I have two other books vying for my attention for book events, but I think tonight is the night I finally crack it open!  If you'd also like to read a classic book to participate in Banned Books Week, check out this list of Banned and Challenged Classics (http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/classics) from the American Library Association.

Have you heard of any interesting events connected with Banned Books Week this year?  Does your community or local library participate in any way?   My local library this year has a display of books wrapped in plain brown wrappers; you discover which banned book you've chosen after you check it out.  I also saw an interesting story (http://www.npr.org/2016/09/15/494119440/in-banned-books-scavenger-hunt-the-prize-is-literary-smut) about how the Washington DC public library is observing Banned Books Week: with a scavenger hunt.  They wrapped a number of banned books in eye-catching black-and-white covers which proclaimed the reason why each had been banned or challenged, then placed them in book-friendly locations around the city.  Some people have started to share photos of their finds on social media, prompting more people to get involved.  Sort of like Pokemon Go meets Banned Books Week.  :sherlock:

Please share with us your experiences with Banned Books Week this year!