Saturday, September 24, 2011

NEWS: Banned Books Week Sept 24 − Oct 1

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, Banned Books Week is an event designed to celebrate the freedom to read; to highlight the benefits of free and open access to information; and to draw attention to the harms of censorship. The books formally celebrated during Banned Books are those that have been targets of bans or attempted bans in libraries and bookstores across North America. For complete details, please check out the ALA website.

The most recent list of banned books (which I always find to be a great introduction to new authors and works) can be found HERE. A few notable works that caught my attention are:

Aldous Huxley's Brave New World - challenged for a “high volume of racially offensive derogatory language" and criticised for lacking "literary value which is relevant to today’s contemporary multicultural society” (which completely ignores the fact that it was written 80 years ago!).

Carl Semencic's Pit Bulls and Tenacious Guard Dogs - banned from one library because they do not stock literature on prohibited breeds (maybe it's just me but, thinking purely of self-preservation, I think I'd want to educate myself on banned breeds)

Nikki Sixx's The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star - pulled from a school's optional & supplemental (i.e not mandatory) reading list over complains about "explicit language, descriptions of drug use, and photos" (it's MOTLEY CREW and it's called the HEROIN diaries - what the hell did you really expect?)

Amy Sonnie's Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology - removed from a school board after a conservative group called it  “pervasively vulgar, obscene, and inappropriate” despite the fact it was named as one of the best adult books for high school students by School Library Journal (apparently, for at least one school board, political agendas overrule education value)

Margaret Walker's Jubilee - challenged by both a pastor for being “offensive” and “trashy” as well as by the Ku Klux Klan because it produces “racial strife and hatred” (never mind the fact that it's a true story - when a pastor and the KKK object, you know you've written something significant)

If you want to look deeper than the current list, check out the 100 most frequently challenged books from 1990–1999 (which includes lots of Stephen King and Judy Blume) and from 2000-2009 (which includes lots of Philip Pullman, J.K. Rowling . . . and Judy Blume). Whether you're looking for something exciting to read, or just want to thumb your nose at those who feel they have the right to determine what you read, get your hands on a banned book today and start reading!


  1. Have you read/reviewed SAPPHO SINGS? I've been told "It's slide off your chair good."

  2. People who ban books make me want to trip them while they're walking down a hill.

    Thank you for this blog post :)

    Keep reading strong!