Banned Book Week in the US

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jollyrogered
Posts: 701
Joined: March 25th, 2007, 10:39 pm
Location: Nebraska

Post by jollyrogered » October 1st, 2012, 7:26 am

I thought we might want to put something on the front page about it being Banned Book week.

Banned Books Week
Every year at the end of September the American Library Association celebrates BANNED BOOK WEEK, a celebration of our fREADom to read what we choose. This year BBW runs from September 30 to October 6th.

A quick note about BBW from the ALA website
“ Banned Books Week is the national book community's annual celebration of the freedom to read. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. The 2012 celebration of Banned Books Week will be held from September 30 through October 6. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982. For more information on Banned Books Week, click here. According to the American Library Association, there were 326 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2011, and many more go unreported.

There are numerous classic works that Librivox has recorded that were banned at one time or another. Here are a few with excerpts from the ALA’s section on Books that Shaped America:
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain, 1884
The first ban of Mark Twain’s American classic in Concord, MA in 1885 called it “trash and suitable only for the slums.” Objections to the book have evolved, but only marginally. Twain’s book is one of the most-challenged of all time and is frequently challenged even today because of its frequent use of the word “nigger.” Otherwise it is alleged the book is “racially insensitive,” “oppressive,” and “perpetuates racism.”
(4 Versions available at https://catalog.librivox.org/search.php?title=huckleberry+finn&author=&status=all&action=Search)


The Call of the Wild, Jack London, 1903
Generally hailed as Jack London’s best work, The Call of the Wild is commonly challenged for its dark tone and bloody violence. Because it is seen as a man-and-his-dog story, it is sometimes read by adolescents and subsequently challenged for age-inappropriateness. Not only have objections been raised here, the book was banned in Italy, Yugoslavia and burned in bonfires in Nazi Germany in the late 1920s and early 30s because it was considered “too radical.”
(3 versions available at https://catalog.librivox.org/search.php?title=call+of+the+wild&author=&status=all&action=Search)

The Jungle, Upton Sinclair, 1906
For decades, American students have studied muckraking and yellow journalism in social studies lessons about the industrial revolution, with The Jungle headlining the unit. And yet, the dangerous and purportedly socialist views expressed in the book and Sinclair’s Oil led to its being banned in Yugoslavia, East Germany, South Korea and Boston.
(http://librivox.org/the-jungle-by-upton-sinclair/)

Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman, 1855
If they don’t understand you, sometimes they ban you. This was the case when the great American poem Leaves of Grass was first published and the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice found the sensuality of the text disturbing. Caving to pressure, booksellers in New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania conceded to advising their patrons not to buy the “filthy” book.
(http://librivox.org/leaves-of-grass-by-walt-whitman/)


Moby-Dick; or The Whale, Herman Melville,1851
In a real head-scratcher of a case, a Texas school district banned the book from its Advanced English class lists because it “conflicted with their community values” in 1996. Community values are frequently cited in discussions over challenged books by those who wish to censor them.
(http://librivox.org/moby-dick-by-herman-melville/)

The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane, 1895
Restricting excess and refusing to allow teachers to teach books is still a form of censorship in many cases. Crane’s book was among many on a list compiled by the Bay District School board in 1986 after parents began lodging informal complaints about books in an English classroom library.
(2 versions available at https://catalog.librivox.org/search.php?title=red+badge&author=&status=all&action=Search)

The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1850
According to many critics, Hawthorne should have been less friendly toward his main character, Hester Prynne (in fairness, so should have minister Arthur Dimmesdale). One isn’t surprised by the moralist outrage the book caused in 1852. But when, one hundred and forty years later, the book is still being banned because it is sinful and conflicts with community values, you have to raise your eyebrows. Parents in one school district called the book “pornographic and obscene” in 1977. Clearly this was before the days of the World Wide Web.
(http://librivox.org/the-scarlet-letter-by-nathaniel-hawthorne/)

Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1852
Like Huck Finn, Of Mice and Men and Gone With the Wind, the contextual, historically and culturally accurate depiction of the treatment of Black slaves in the United States has rankled would-be censors.
(http://librivox.org/uncle-toms-cabin-by-harriet-beecher-stowe/)
duck... duck... ZOMBIE!

jollyrogered
Posts: 701
Joined: March 25th, 2007, 10:39 pm
Location: Nebraska

Post by jollyrogered » October 1st, 2012, 7:29 am

http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged

Is another good resource to find what other classic works on Librivox have been banned. Also interesting to note is that Project Gutenberg has an entire bookshelf dedicated to books that have been banned.
duck... duck... ZOMBIE!

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