Banned Books discussion

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BANNED/CHALLENGED > Banned Books Project

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message 1: by Malika (new)

Malika L. (malikasade) Hi, new member here. I am doing a feature story for one of my classes on banned books, and I'm here just to get some feedback that I may be able to use. Anyone can answer these questions, or point me in the right direction if they've already been answered.

1. What is/are your favorite banned book(s)?
2. Do you find banned/challeneged books more interesting than unchallenged ones?
3. Approximately how many banned books have you read up to now?
4. Have you ever found censorship in any banned/challenged book justifiable? If so, which one(s)? Explain.

Feel free to add any general additional comments. This is a fairly open-ended project.

Thank you. :)


message 2: by Chris (new)

Chris 1. I guess The Lord of the Rings.

2. No.

3. I have no idea. But a great many. At least over 150.

4. Sorta, kinda. I can understand why certain countries and governments ban books that are hate speech, such as the work of Holocaust deniers. And we all self-censor. But I really don't want anyone telling me what I can or can't read.


message 3: by Malika (new)

Malika L. (malikasade) Well said, Chris. Thank you very much for answering.

Chris wrote: "1. I guess The Lord of the Rings.

2. No.

3. I have no idea. But a great many. At least over 150.

4. Sorta, kinda. I can understand why certain countries and governments ban books that are ha..."



message 4: by David (new)

David Krae (DavidKrae) 1) Top three: The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, books I-II, The Merriam-Webster Dictionary and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

2) No.

3) Many.

4) Never. Banning books is for immature fools who lack the intellectual capacity or societal freedom to present a valid case for why a book is offensive and should be openly ridiculed or simply ignored. Banning books is the literary equivalent to shooting or imprisoning someone you disagree with.

Caveat: restricting access to certain books or materials is a possible compromise -- in the case of technical manuals that would show someone how to utilize nuclear technology, for instance, or in terms of 'adult' content and age limits, but again it's a slippery slope. Let parents make and enforce rules for their kids. If a contentious book shows up on a school reading list, offer an alternate. Otherwise, kick the censors to the curb.


message 5: by Joseph (last edited Nov 30, 2012 06:04AM) (new)

Joseph  (BlueManticore) | 37 comments 1. What is/are your favorite banned book(s)?
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
2. Do you find banned/challeneged books more interesting than unchallenged ones? No more nor less interesting.
3. Approximately how many banned books have you read up to now? Too many to count, often I will read a book I hadn't planned to just because it was banned.
4. Have you ever found censorship in any banned/challenged book justifiable? If so, which one(s)? Explain. Censorship is never justifiable. No one ever has the right to try and keep the rest of the public from reading a book by making that book inaccesible just because they themselves don't like it. A parent can of course tell a child not to read a certain item, but they cannot try and keep that child from reading that item by trying to keep everyone from being able to read that item.


message 6: by Malika (new)

Malika L. (malikasade) I really like these answers. Thanks a bunch for your input.

David wrote: "1) Top three: The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, books I-II, The Merriam-Webster Dictionary and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

2) No.

3) Many.

4) Neve..."



message 7: by Malika (new)

Malika L. (malikasade) Excellent answers, especially #3 and #4. Thank you for taking the time out to respond.

Joseph wrote: "1. What is/are your favorite banned book(s)?
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
2. Do you find banned/challeneged books more interesting than unchalle..."



message 8: by Deb (new)

Deb (Chiana) | 1 comments 1. I definitely cannot pick only one! My top favorites are 'All Quiet on the Western Front', Tom Sawyer, Flowers For Algernon, Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, and one I have not seen on recent lists - The Grapes of Wrath.
2. Not at all. I love to read - period.
3. Total? Probably 40-60. I've never kept track, but every list I see contains many I've read.
4. Never. People need to understand that every culture is different, and every generation is different. There will always be someone who reads between the lines and see something that isn't there or interpret something differently than intended. I find these people to be - in general - self centered or incredibly ignorant. Many of the books on the lists today were written in a time where words that were part of the every day vocabulary are now 'taboo' in society today. If offended by the language - don't read it.

When I was in high-school, there were two sisters who were not allowed to read what everyone in the class read read for class assignments (history, government, English, etc.) because their parents felt they were inappropriate. Do parents really think forbidding their children to read something is going to protect them from something? IMHO, it's better to expose them to what is out there so they may prepare themselves to protect themselves from the big, bad world.

Now that I have moved south into the 'bible belt', I see this happening even more and more. We cannot teach out children that ignorance is acceptable, or we may once again find ourselves in a 'dark ages' of sorts.


message 9: by Malika (new)

Malika L. (malikasade) I hadn't even thought of that ( about some words being normal, and now they're taboo). Good point.

Deb wrote: "1. I definitely cannot pick only one! My top favorites are 'All Quiet on the Western Front', Tom Sawyer, Flowers For Algernon, Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, and one I have not seen on re..."


message 10: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (last edited Jan 04, 2013 01:36AM) (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (Maybedog) | 623 comments Mod
What a great discussion! You're probably done with your project now but I would still love to hear people's answers. Here are mine:
1. What is/are your favorite banned book(s)?
Too many to mention. Below are just some of the books I have *loved* that have been banned. I mean 4.5-5 stars. But if I had to pick three that are the most important to me personally, that have had the greatest impact I'd have to say:

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (My first grown-up dictionary.)
Stranger in a Strange Land (I would probably rate it low now but it changed my life at the time. See my review if you're curious.
A Wrinkle in Time and Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret
(These two were my favorite books for many years as a child and I read them over and over.)


2. Do you find banned/challenged books more interesting than unchallenged ones?
Since I don't usually know if a book has been banned or challenged, I'd say no. A book is a book and it will effect everyone in different ways. I might love something that was banned but I've also hated a lot of banned books as well.

3. Approximately how many banned books have you read up to now?
Apparently hundreds. I had no idea. I looked over a list I had and the ones below are just my faves as I said. Since many of these are series or books with sequels, it probably represents 75 books. Just from that one list. I use that list to search for information when I'm adding a book to our bookshelf and most of the time the books I'm looking for aren't on it. That's how many books have been banned or challenged.

4. Have you ever found censorship in any banned/challenged book justifiable? If so, which one(s)? Explain.
As others have said before, I think it's appropriate to self-regulate up to a point. There is no reason for a grade school librarian to put a copy of The Joy of Sex in her library. And I'd have to question the intelligence of a librarian who would spend school funds on such a book when there are so many books that children should have access to and don't. I don't believe that every book is appropriate for every child.

I don't believe, however, that if a book has been chosen for a school that an individual has the right to say whether other children can read it. Librarians are very highly educated and go through a vigorous hiring process. I trust them to make the right decisions. I trust the curriculum creators to make appropriate choices. If I didn't understand why a book was chosen, I might go in and talk to the teacher about it, but I really can't imagine wanting to take anything away. If the children were being forced to read Left Behind or crap like that in a public school system, I would ask the teacher what the rational is and whether other ideas are being presented as well. I don't care if my kids read that as long as they have balanced information. But that's about ideas. I don't think anyone has the right to tell a school to give "balanced" information when it contradicts facts like science and history and so forth. I'm talking about Intelligent Design and bigoted ideologies here. But I don't want to go into all that.

But I have foster children and many of them do not have the critical thinking skills to read whatever they want. Many were drug or alcohol damaged at birth, others had trauma at key developmental moments in their growth. The idea of one of them getting a hold of The Anarchist's Cookbook terrifies me. So I will not even let them know of it's existence. But that doesn't mean I would ever ask it to be removed from a school or public library.

I also think that there is certain government intelligence that would be dangerous to our nation if it got out. I don't think people have the right to publish just any government secret they here. I hate it--I'm a staunch liberal and I hate government secrets--but I recognize that it's necessary at times. I think we go too far with it, but my country is better than many.

I do think felons should have restricted access to some information while they are in prison. I think part of the rehabilitation is keeping those people away from temptations to re-offend (or offend while incarcerated). I think it's necessary for the safety of other prisoners for some extremely volatile hate and violence materials to be kept away. I think when someone has committed that level of crime against others, they lose many of their privileges, not just liberty. But again, I think we take it way too far.

I don't think it's censorship when a publishing house decides not to publish something it feels is not appropriate for its image. Was it censorship when Dr. Seuss had to go through 23 publishers before his first book got accepted? No. It was short-sightedness.

Unfortunately, we do not live in a black and white world. But I do believe that all books should be allowed to be available where they are, meaning no one has the right to push their book into a library but if a library contains a book, no one has the right to remove it for any censorship related reasons. I don't believe in cutting off ideas. I think that's far more dangerous than allowing people to read everything. I think education is the key to everything and the best education involves critical thinking and comparing and contrasting different ways of thinking.



So here's my list:

I'm with the others on To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies, and Flowers for Algernon.

American Psycho
Alanna: The First Adventure
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
Harriet the Spy
In the Night Kitchen
James and the Giant Peach
The Joy Luck Club
The Joy of Gay Sex (no, I am not a gay man, but I found it really interesting.)
A Light in the Attic
Little House in the Big Woods
Lolita
The Lottery
The Martian Chronicles
Maus, Vol. 1: My Father Bleeds History
Nappy Hair
The Paper Bag Princess
A Series Of Unfortunate Events Pack (Books 5 8)
The Cumbersome Collection
The Blank Book
The Complete Wreck
Where the Sidewalk Ends
The Amulet of Samarkand
And Tango Makes Three
The Bell Jar
Catch-22
Cat’s Cradle
The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies
A Clockwork Orange
Clifford the Big Red Dog
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Color Purple
The Diary of a Young Girl
Draw 50 Monsters: The Step-by-Step Way to Draw Creeps, Superheroes, Demons, Dragons, Nerds, Ghouls, Giants, Vampires, Zombies, and Other Scary Creatures (partly because "nerds" are one of the types of monsters and I'm a total nerd)
Fahrenheit 451
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
The Giver
The Giving Tree
GLBTQ*: The Survival Guide for Queer & Questioning Teens
Gnomes
The Golden Compass
The Good Earth


message 11: by Angela (last edited Jul 27, 2014 09:31AM) (new)

Angela (angela_w) 1. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
2. No. I think they're about the same, at least of the ones I've read so far.
3. 10
4. There are books that I've been concerned about, but I don't think they should be banned. I think it's up to individuals to decide what's appropriate for them and for their children to read.


message 12: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (Maybedog) | 623 comments Mod
Well said, Angela.


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