17 Sep 2013

BANNED BOOK WEEK 2013: THEN AND NOW.


Hard to believe its that time of year again, hard to believe that Banned Book Week 2013 is almost upon us once again. My thanks to our gracious host, Sheila @ BOOK JOURNEY, who because of prior commitment is holding her Banned Book events a week earlier than the actual start of Banned Book Week.

First up on Pen and Paper we have the links to some posts and articles on banned books ....
  • Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint. Banned in Australia (and I believe America) in 1969 due to the 'lurid sexual detail' and 'crude language'.The ban was lifted in 1971. See Michelle @ VintageCobweb's review HERE and Brian at Babbling Books HERE
  • Anne Frank: A Diary Of A Young Girl and Judy Bloom's Tiger Eyes. See Melissa @ Books and Things thoughts HERE.
  • Considered 'too shocking' and rejected as 'a pile of iniquity' after 45 years The Art Of Joy by Goliarda Sapienza is finally to be published in Britain. Full story HERE
  • Banned in certain parts of Australia, Tampa by Alissa Nutting. A debut novel about a female teacher who grooms her 14 year old pupil, it has been described as 'disgusting' and 'sickening'. See article by Guardian reporter Emine Saner HERE

Interesting that whilst researching Anne Frank I discovered THIS 2013 ARTICLE which tells of a Michigan school committee who had rejected a mother's pleas to remove the book on account of it's  "pornographic" anatomical descriptions. Way to go that committee and well done the National Coalition Against Censorship who had the following to say .....

"Frank's honest writings about her body and the changes she was undergoing during her two-year period of hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam can serve as an excellent resource for students themselves undergoing these changes."

As for Tiger Eyes. Though voluntarily censored by the author herself (in the original draft main character, Davey, masturbates whilst thinking of another boy) the book, with its themes of sexuality and puberty, is still on the American Library Association's list of 100 Most Frequently Challenged books.

Next up ..... 
  • With thanks to Kelly for the links to these two videos ....


Hmm, violence, racism, promotion of drugs, advocates homosexuality, BUT a sexualised spider, a racist grasshopper, talking, pro-Nazi animals.



Knowing that a book was banned because of its 'negative' themes or because the author had the same last name as a Marxist theorist was surreal enough but to ban the dictionary?????

Yes, both the Merriam-Webster and the American Heritage Dictionaries have been banned in various schools in the US as being age inappropriate. The former being banned in California in January 2010 after a single parent complained about it containing a definition for oral sex. The latter banned in Anchorage, Alaska, in 1976 because it included obscenities. One of the main causes for complaint being, would you believe it, the word 'bed' which was rightly defined as having several definitions including "a place for love making", "a marital relationship with it's rights and intimacies".


But that was then, how about now?

Well, to bring you 'bang' up to date (Whoops! Am I allowed to say 'bang'  given that as well as the obvious meaning it also has another quite different meaning here in the north east of England?) ........

The books to be CHALLENGED so far this year, challenged according to the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom meaning .....

 A "formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness." 

include, in no particular order .....
  • For its offensive language and graphic sexual content, EL James's Fifty Shades Of Grey trilogy
  • Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why: drugs, alcohol, smoking, sexually explicit, suicide
  • Dav Pikey's Captain Underpants books: offensive language, unsuitable for  age group
  • The popular The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie: offensive language, racism, sexually explicit
  • Toni Morrison's Beloved - sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence.
The first of two planned post, for my second contribution, Banned Book Week: More sex scenes in books for teenagers? please join me on Thursday the 19th of September.

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14 comments:

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Thanks Tracy! A great post about banning and censorship!

Kelly said...

Book banning is a subject that always gets me riled up. How dare someone try to tell me what I may or may not read!

I got an American Heritage Dictionary as a gift when I graduated from High School (it's still my "go to" dictionary) and remember how controversial it was at the time.

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

It is fascinating how different people view the same things. I guess that's good, otherwise there would be no controversy...or debate.

Thanks for sharing.

Suko said...

It's interesting to note which books are banned and why. Thank you for this post, Tracy.

Lindsay said...

This is fascinating Tracy, thanks for sharing it all!

Betty Manousos said...

great post, tracy!
i thought that book banning was something that only happened in the past. i'm shocked at many of the titles on the list.

xx

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I still can't believe that banning still exists. When will people stop trying to control others? What makes them know what I can handle or not? :P Great post though!

Charlie said...

Thanks so much for this post. Those clips are great. It's interesting that books end up challenged from what seems such small beginnings as a single person writing a letter. It's ironic in the face of what freedon of speech means.

Brian Joseph said...

Some of these stories of book banning would be hilarious if not involving such a serious subject. I had not heard the story behind the attempting banning of the Diary of Ann Frank. One has to wonder what people are thinking.

Thanks for the link and reference to my blog!

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I think banning books is ridiculous, and it IS crazy that it's still happening. Some of the reasons are just insane too.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

I am always amazed that books get banned. I mean- really? The reasons usually seem crazy to me. I read Tiger Eyes over and over again growing up. I think I turned out okay. The Diary of Anne Frank? It is a diary for goodness sake and I didn't even remember her mentioning her body- though I am sure she did.

I can understand that some adults may not like Captain Underpants. But- personally they are just silly books that get kids reading. Potty humor abounds- which most kids think is hilarious. :)

Naida said...

Why would anyone would want to ban The Diary of Anne Frank is beyond me. Thanks for this interesting post. It really is kinda crazy to see the reasons some of these books were banned.

Claudine G. said...

I thought book-banning was decades ago. Like most, I can't believe The Diary of Anne Frank was banned, as well as Tiger Eyes. As Stef said, I think we all turned out all right. (I heard Ray Bradbury's 451 was once banned, too. Crazy!)

Literary Feline said...

I'm always amazed (dismayed?) at the books people challenge and ban and the reasons why. Many people who request books be banned haven't read them or are taking their concerns out of context. It's sad, really. Great post, Tracy!