Topical Talk: Banned Books

This post was inspired by Eloise @ Eloiseisreading – did you know it’s banned book week? I thought I’d take a look at some of the banned books I’ve read and investigate some I might add to my TBR.

Banned Books Week

For this first section I’ll be looking at book which were banned by various governments according to the Wikipedia list of banned books.

ALICE’S ADVENTURE IN WONDERLAND by Lewis Carol is the first book which catches my eye, banned in Hunan, China because it gave animals human qualities and this was believed to potentially be “disastrous”.

Next is ANIML FARM by George Orwell, a book I haven’t read – I’m still working my way through 1984, bare with me – but intend to. The book was banned (perhaps unsurprisingly) by the USSR and other communist countries, then in 2002 banned in United Arab Emirates because it contained text going against Islamic values – namely the talking pig. The book continues to be banned in North Korea and is censored in Vietnam.

THE DA VINCI CODE by Dan Brown is something else I itned to read and in September 2004 it was banned in Lebanon when Catholic leaders decided it was offensive to Christianity.

Unsurprisingly again – if you’ve read 1984 or understand what it’s about – NINETEEN EIGHTY FOUR by George Orwell also makes the list, because Stalin understood it was satire about his leadership. It was banned from the Soviet Union in 1950 and nearly banned by the US and UK in the early 1960s. In 1990 the Soviet Union legalised the book.

Challenged Books

For the next section I’ll be looking at books which are frequently challenged in both the adult and young adult genre. This is according to the American Library Association (ALA). Here are some particularly interesting texts and novels that have been challenged:

  • THE DIARY OF A GIRL by Anne Frank
  • THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME by Mark Haddon
  • THE KITE RUNNER by Khaled Hosseini
  • TWO BOYS KISSING by David Levinthan
  • THE GOLDEN COMPASS by Phillip Pullman
  • THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER by Stephen Chbosky

These books were all classed as having “diverse content” and have recieved attempts from libraries, schools and the media to ban them – luckily, unsuccessfully. There is also an extended category for Young Adult Banned and Challenged Books which I also thought I’d take a brief look at:

  • THE HANDMAID’S TALE by Margaret Atwood
  • THIRTEEN REASONS WHY by Jay Asher
  • THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy by Suzanne Collins
  • TWILIGHT series by Stephanie Meyer
  • TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee
  • THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green
  • AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES by John Green
  • LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green
  • PAPER TOWNS by John Green

Now, take a look at the lists – how many banned books have you guys read? What do you think about banned books? Is there ever a time when it is morally right to ban a book? Let me know in the comments!

Isn’t it interesting that the longest list belongs to the Young Adult category? (Also, someone in the US has a very big problem with John Green, that much is obvious). In honour of banned books week, pick up that read you’ve been reluctant to finish or dig out one of the above in celebration of the freedom to read whatever you want – be in George Orwell, John Green or Stephanie Meyer.


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4 thoughts on “Topical Talk: Banned Books

  1. I’m always flabberghasted by the idea of banned books. Books are supposed to open our minds to the experiences of others. It kind of breaks my heart when books are banned because the characters in them are perceived different than ourselves.

    As a therapist, I know that kids are reading these books and the ones banned for “mature content” are child’s play to many of the kids I serve. I think it’s laughable that adults think they can sensor what their kids read and experience by banning books. Try using parental controls on the internet if you really are worried about explicit content. Try having a conversation about these “mature” topics instead of avoiding them. Use them to build a relationship with your kids instead of marginalizing them…kI’mdoneIswear. #rantover. Thanks for the good post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • For the young adult books list, I suspect it was schools and parents trying to stop kids from reading books they thought were too “mature” – little do they realise their children have probably been exposed to much worse and censoring what someone is allowed to read will only lead to their children being even more ignorant.

      Like

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