Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Banned Books

Just ran across the American Library Association's list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000. Found it interesting which scifi/fantasy titles showed up on the list, and where they ranked:

7. Harry Potter (series) - J.K. Rowling
20. Earth's Children (series) - Jean Auel
22. A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle
27. The Witches - Roald Dahl
37. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
52. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
56. James and the Giant Peach - Roald Dahl
69. Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut

I always find these kinds of lists so disturbing. Nazi book burners. Loria was just talking about that, how some folks here in Utah actually held a book burning of HP books. Freak-a-zoids. (Of course, that's not just UT -- my friend in Georgia told me how none of the kids in their neighborhood had read HP, because their parents wouldn't let them read those "devil books.")

Marissa, do you run across complaints like this at the library, asking you to actually remove titles? Does anyone have any insight as to why some of these titles are so threatening to adults? A couple of these were obvious, but what exactly is so insidious about James and the Giant Peach? Or A Wrinkle in Time? Do they have whole lists of banned books in other countries, or is it just the gun-totin' ignernt 'mericans who think like this? And what will show up on the 2000-2010 list? Da Vinci Code? Philip Pullman? Lemony Snickett??

Maybe the Book of Mormon should be considered a dangerous book... I mean, that one is actually converting people, right? ;-)


At 2:03 PM, Blogger YoSafBridg said...

yes actually we get complaints all of the time--we almost never remove books-what we do is quote our selection policy--there's basically a form letter--depending on the complaint which often is "this should not be where children can see it" we always put the responsiblity back on the parent to monitor what their children do and talk with their children etc--many people also want control over what everyone else wants--we again just use our selection policy (a wonderful tool every library should have) that we have a variety of materials, and people have varying tastes, what we buy has good reviews, popular value, etc. Because our collection is mostly well evaluated before we get it we don't have to remove stuff, though every once in a while it is reclassified and i guess sometimes stuff slips through cracks.

At 6:56 PM, Blogger YoSafBridg said...

Ursula said (in Dancing at the Edge of the World) a man in a small town near Portland tried to ban her Lathe of Heaven from a high school reading list because of: fuzzy thinking and poor sentence structure; a mention of homosexuality; a character who keeps a flask of brandy in her purse, and who remarks that her mother did not love her (it seemed curious to Ursula that he did not mention that this same character is a Black woman whose lover/husband is a White man); he also took exception to what he described as the author's advocacy of non-Christian religions and/or non-separation of Church and State; and finally, during discussion, he compared the book to junkfood apparently because it was science fiction.


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