Posts Tagged: banned books

The Past and Present of Banned Books

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‘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?

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Liberal Censorship

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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’.

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All About Banned Books

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Americans love banning books, and the winners of this year’s most banned books have been announced by the American Library Association. John Green’s young adult novel Looking for Alaska takes the top spot, keeping Green in the top ten. He was joined this year by the Bible.

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GOP Candidate Would Censor Free Speech at Universities

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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.

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Happy Banned Books Week!

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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.

Huffington Post’s Maddie Crum explores why we celebrate Banned Books Week in America, and takes a look at freedom of information and the librarians who make it possible.

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Agency President Defends New Zealand Book Ban

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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.’

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Scarlett Johannson Fails to Ban French Novel

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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.

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What You Can Read at the Guantánamo Bay Detainee Library

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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.

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We Shall Not Ban Comics in English Class!

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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.

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Banned Books Week to Highlight Graphic Novels

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This year’s annual Banned Books Weeka 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.

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Police Called on Teens Giving Away Banned Book

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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.

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Reddit’s Do Not Discuss List

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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.

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Invisible Man Gets A Little More Invisible

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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.

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When Banning a Book Is Good

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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.

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Arizona Bans Books

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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.

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