Posts Tagged: banned books
‘Banned books’ sounds like a thing of the past. But over at Lit Hub, Amy Brady details the ways that the fight against censorship continues in libraries and schools today:
If school administrators are attempting to limit even elective reading, what does the future hold for students who want access to all books, classic and contemporary—books that might broaden their understanding of the world?
In May, Portland’s school board voted to ban textbooks that questioned the severity and human causes of climate change, drawing criticism not only from the right, but from free-speech advocates as well:
“Social studies texts accurately describing the political debate around fossil fuels and climate change, for instance, would presumably contain comments from individuals who ‘express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis’.
In Soviet-era Russia, publishers had dedicated censors responsible for approving printed material. Many things were prohibited, and the rules were clear. In modern Russia, ostensibly censorship is banned, but complex laws and ambiguous threats have made contemporary publishers far more conservative....more
Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf has recently become legal to publish and sell in Germany for the first time since World War II. What place does this volume hold in our collective world history? And should it be regarded as a dangerous book?...more
Tenured professors might soon be a thing of the past, and that could prove particularly frightening if one Republican presidential candidate gets a hold of the Department of Education. Tenure protections were created in order to foster original thinking on university campuses and protect academic researchers from censorship....more
The point is not to rank inflammatory books like game highlights. It’s to remind readers that information hasn’t always been free, and that we have librarians to thank for its freedom.
For Slate, Ruth Graham suggests that improved access to books and a decline in censorship has turned Banned Books Week into “crock”. So “instead of hand-wringing about a nonexistent wave of censorship,” Graham encourages readers to think about the week with some positivity and celebrate that “books won.”...more
Last week, New Zealand banned the novel Into the River, the country’s first ban in over twenty years. The country’s Film and Literature Board of Review banned the sale and distribution of the award winning book. Now, Don Mathieson, president of the agency, has spoken out to defend the decision, claiming the ban was in the ‘public interest.’...more
New Zealand, an otherwise seemingly modern nation, has just banned a book. Ted Dawe’s Into the River was banned this week in the island nation where it is now a crime to supply, display, or distribute the book with fines starting at $3,000....more
The Captain Underpants series has topped banned book lists around the world. Dav Pilkey, the author of the popular children’s books, explains what it feels like to have written a famous banned book:
People often ask me how I’d want to respond to those critics who would rather see my books pulled from shelves than handed to young readers.
A French novel by Grégoire Delacourt featuring a character who looks like Scarlett Johannson will be translated and published in the UK next month. In The First Thing You See, a French mechanic meets a woman who he thinks is Scarlett Johansson, but she merely looks like the famous actress....more
Prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay have access to 18,000 books in 18 different languages, including Arabic translations of King Lear, Anna Karenina, and Stephen King thrillers. But books deemed critical of the US government, including Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Noam Chomsky’s Interventions, and various John Grisham novels, are banned....more
Every year, the American Library Association releases a list of the top banned books in the country. But how do you determine which book is the most banned? The statisticians at FiveThirtyEight attempted to figure out exactly which book earned the crowning achievement of most banned book ever....more
Recently, Tara Shultz, a college student at Crafton Hills College, expressed her shock and disgust at the “pornographic and violent” content in the selection of graphic novels (Sandman by Neil Gaiman, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi) used in her English class and called upon the university to excise the texts from the curriculum....more
The New Republic has re-published a 1930 interview with a government censor, and it provides an interesting look into the mindset of the man charged with keeping “pollution” out of the hands of “innocent” New Englanders:
Why, sometimes it’s the contact of innocence with this filthy stuff that sinks a boy into foul habits for a lifetime.
This year’s annual Banned Books Week—a celebration of books that have been banned—will target graphic novels, those picture-filled narratives better known as comic books. And that’s exactly why Banned Books Week is taking a special interest in comics this year, as Comic Book Legal Defense Fund executive director Charles Brownstein explained to Library Journal:
For one thing, many people still see comic books as a low art form, and the free speech and expression of authors and artists has a similarly low value associated with it.
After Sherman Alexie’s novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was banned by an Idaho school district, a crowdsourced funding effort bought a book for every kid in the local junior high school. Nearly all of the books were given away to students, reports Death and Taxes, but not before overly concerned parents called local police....more
The books subgroup on Reddit, the famously libertarian-leaning message board, has planned a ban on discussion of several popular books. Many of the titles have been banned previously in the real world. Claiming “good discussion is stifled by repetition,” the ban is set to go into place on April Fools Day, leaving community members to speculate that it may be a prank....more
The Raw Story’s Arturo Garcia reports that Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man has been banned from school libraries and reading lists in Randolph County, North Carolina.
After a parent decried the book as “not so innocent,” the school board voted 5–2 to ban it, declaring it “a hard read” without “any literary value.”
How wonderful that someone has finally recognized that Ellison’s National Book Award–winning masterpiece has no literary value....more
Novelist Dennis Miller was participating in a panel discussion about censorship at Mansfield University’s campus library, when he joked that his book should be banned: “It has sex, violence, and adult language.”
Library director Scott DiMarco’s response? Done and done.
Find out why a librarian committed to free speech would ban a book in DiMarco’s account of the events....more
Writers and activists are setting up an underground library in Tucson, Arizona. The librotraficante movement is an effort to expose Tucson students to the collection of books banned when the school district suspended its Mexican-American studies program.
“The word librotraficante shouldn’t exist in America…You shouldn’t have to smuggle books.”
(Via Book Bench)...more
Arizona has found the Tuscon Unifed School District’s Mexican American studies program in violation of a ruling that prohibits courses and classes that ‘promote the overthrow of the United States government, promote resentment toward a race or class of people, are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.’
Along with William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, banned books include Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years, Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Brazilian educator Paolo Freire, Occupied America: A History of Chicanos’ by Rodolfo Acuña, Chicano!: The History of the Mexican Civil Rights Movement by Arturo Rosales, 500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures, by Elizabeth Martinez and Critical Race Theory a textbook by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic....more
The American Library Association’s 2010 List of Most Challenged Books has been officially released.
This year’s scandalous subject matter includes penguin adoption, vampire love and topics in Aldous Huxley’s classic novel, Brave New World....more