Banned Books discussion

define 'banned'

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message 1: by Jason (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:41AM) (new)

Jason Wilson | 4 comments This seems like a great group, but I'm a little stumped. What specifically counts as 'banned'? One school?, a school district?, A major city library? Is there actually some kind of definitive list that some authority figure keeps up to date and enforces? What are the pragmatic side effects of a book that is 'banned'? (banned from being sold? banned from being owned? banned from discussing? banned from reading in public?)

message 2: by Xysea (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:41AM) (new)

Xysea  (xysea) it's not definitive, but here's wikipedia's list (disclaimer: they state it's a partial list) of books that have been banned in various places.

:) personally, if a book was banned by an institution (school, library, college, religious org) then that fits the definition of a 'banned' book to me. banned by the american legion hall #2, or the southern baptist's convention? that would be in the eye of the beholder.

message 3: by Alex (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:41AM) (new)

Alex (alexinmadison) | 9 comments This group refers us to the American Library Association for information on banned books. You can go to their website to learn more.

message 4: by Jason (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:42AM) (new)

Jason Wilson | 4 comments thanks, that link is VERY informative.

message 5: by William F. (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:46AM) (new)

William F. DeVault | 4 comments Several years ago my writings, including my first book, were banned by the nuns of a convent school in Dundalk, Ireland. Two weeks later my publisher called to let me know she was getting orders from neighboring communities.

Bans usually have a reverse effect, making a book controversial and "hot".

I even wrote a poem about a young girl, hiding a copy of my book from the nuns.

A few months later I got a phone call from, of all people, my mother, saying she didn't like reading articles in the paper that mentioned I'd been banned by nuns. She said it made me sound "Shady".

message 6: by Trevor (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:48AM) (new)

Trevor To be banned by nuns is something to be proud of, in fact, it has now become one of my ambitions in life. I wonder how one goes about it? As that other banned Irish poet and sometime novelist, James Joyce, would have it:

I read it a hundred times or so,
Backwards and forwards, down and up,
Through both ends of a telescope.
I printed it all to the very last word
But by the mercy of the Lord
The darkness of my mind was rent
And I saw the writer's foul intent.

Interestingly, I don't believe Joyce was ever actually banned in Ireland - where people were just expected to know it was a sin to read his Ulysses.

message 7: by William F. (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:48AM) (new)

William F. DeVault | 4 comments It's a curious story. Several years ago, right after my first book (1997's "PanthEon") came out, I was approached by a gentleman via email who was working with a cultural exchange organization that was setting up clubs in high schools through Ireland.

They were doing a Valentine's Day fundraiser, making Valentine's Day cards on the computer, customized, to sell, and he wanted my permission to show the girls at this one school, it was a convent high school in Dundalk, Ireland, my poetry.

Well, the girls loved the pieces he showed them (market studies indicate that teenage-college aged women are a strong component of my sales) and they decided to just use my works. I was flattered, honored, etc.

About a week later he contacts me and tells me that the nuns read through the poems the girls had selected, had cancelled the project and banned my works from the school grounds.

Just a few weeks after this my second book ("from out of the city") was due and I included in it a poem about a young girl in a convent school hiding her forbidden sheaf of poetry from the nuns as she explores the feelings the words stir in her (let's face it, nuns get hinky about that). I called the poem "A Touch of Heather".

My publisher called right after the book came out to say she'd gotten an order for "multiple copies" from Dundalk, Ireland. She couldn't or wouldn't tell me anything more, but I always hoped it was either some nuns looking for a cheap thrill or a small, renegade group of students.

Here is the poem:

A Touch of Heather
(for the nuns at Dundalk)

And tonight
a young woman
on the cusp of the silence of yesterday
and the variations of tears and joy to come
will read a dog eared copy of her favourite poet
and he will touch her.

Six thousand miles
from where he wrote the words
and three thousand miles from where he lived them
at the time of their emergence from the stream of thought
into ink to press to paper like lips against flesh.
And they will touch her.

The lights flee
to the touch of the nun marking curfew
and she is left with the pale blue curve of moonlight
as she draws the last syllables across her tongue
like the prayer she recited for her teachers this morning.
And they will touch her.

Eyes to mind.
Mind to heart. Heart to hands that play stand in
for a man she'll never meet face to face, flesh to flesh.
But her hands play second to his absence and she learns,
lessons caught in fingertip expressions of borrowed ardour.
And they touch her.

The night reigns.
And she is lost in the exploration of darkness
that draws her from this place, grey walls on the green land.
Her ragged, hot breaths, played out for an abstract lover
on an island touched not by his feet or hands or eyes.
And he touches her.

William F. Devault. all rights reserved.

message 8: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie That was a great poem, for lack of something better to say. It was beautiful and true.

If I were a published author (but I'd rather say when become a published author) I would be proud that my book had been great and powerful enough to stir feelings, but I would be angry at the banning itself. I would be upset that I wouldn't be able to reach those people, too.

message 9: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (last edited Feb 03, 2010 11:19PM) (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (maybedog) | 623 comments Mod
For the purposes of this group, we don't define or limit the discussion in any way. For a book to be included in our monthly book reads, we prefer it to have been banned somewhere that we can corroborate or challenged with some sort of legitimacy. For example, if your best friend's mom said she didn't want your grade school to carry Grover's ABCs and the school laughed at her, it probably isn't a good monthly group choice. If the complaint went as far as the school board or more than one mom complained about it, it's more appropriate fodder. I like to be able to verify that the book has been challenged in some way online so that we can all participate in the discussion about why it was challenged. I've asked for help when I can't find anything online about a suggested book being challenged but the only time I rejected a book was when an author suggested his own book and we couldn't verify it had been even published let alone banned anywhere.

message 10: by Daisy (new)

Daisy | 7 comments Kelly wrote: "For the purposes of this group, we don't define or limit the discussion in any way. For a book to be included in our monthly book reads, we prefer it to have been banned somewhere that we can corro..."

Where was The Outsiders banned? I mean, here we read it first semester and worked with it and took tests on it, it was like 10% of our grade.

message 11: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (maybedog) | 623 comments Mod
Hi, Fyopiagdt!

We're talking about the The Outsiders in I'd love to have you join us since you have a different perspective being a bit younger than some of us are.

To answer your question, the book was first published in 1967 and was almost immediately challenged. It has been as high as number 2 on the ALA's list of top 100 challenged books according to some sources. So it's hard to say where and when it has been banned or challenged. It is widely considered to be a classic nowadays which is why your teacher made you read it. In general, it is in smaller, more conservative communities that books are banned. It is far more difficult to ban a book a large city with a large school board with a large constituency than it is to ban one in a small town with a school board of 3 people. I grew up in a big city so I was required to read books 25 years ago with no complaint by parents that are still being banned today. It's really quite ridiculous.

message 12: by Daisy (new)

Daisy | 7 comments Thanks :)

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