Monday, May 12, 2008

Reporting on the Challenge May 12, 2008

Poster courtesy of ABFFE (American Book Sellers for Free Expression.

To date, 58 people, including the people below have signed up to read 467 banned or challenged books. Please see comments for titles that have been submitted by readers.

jadyn513, USA, 10
blimey, Iceland, 1
Steph, Canada, 5 (also here)
hana, Vietnam, 3
samke23, USA, 40

Take the "Banned Book Challenge" from now until June 30.


fahrenheit451moderator said...

Your Comments:
Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence Banned as pornographic, the story is a bit Oedipally discomforting. The characters think about sex a lot but the sex is not written at all graphically. The descriptions of nature, on the other hand, are bursting with sensuality.
Joanne, USA

Go Tell It on the Mountain
by James Baldwin
Banned due to themes of rape, masturbation, violence, and degrading treatment of women. Why is it that African-American authors' fictionalizations of their sometimes horrific family and cultural histories are so much more likely to be banned than European-American stories? Could it be that "White America" just doesn't want to know?
Joanne, USA

The Call of the Wild by Jack London
On the ALA list, but seems to have been banned only in Fascist regimes and only because of the author's socialist beliefs and other works. This book is an exciting adventure story about a tame dog that finds his wild side in the Alaskan wilderness. There's some brutal violence.
Joanne, USA

The Terrorist by Caroline B. Cooney Challenged for negative portrayal of Muslims and Arabs. I agree that some of the Middle Eastern characters come across as a bit shady, but I was equally concerned about the stereotypical depiction of "Ugly Americans." I didn't particularly enjoy this story about a teenage girl trying to come to terms with her brother's murder, but then it's definitely not written for adults. Teens might like it and ought to be allowed to read it. I only hope they don't adopt the jingoistic attitudes of the American characters.
Joanne, USA

James and the Giant Peach
by Roald Dahl
This book has been challenged for a variety of reasons, none of them rational (in my opinion). Because it advocates disobedience? -- to adults who beat James for no reason at all? Because it contains magic [note: miracles=good, magic=evil]? Its magic exists only to ensure justice. In what moral code is it wrong for stories to punish evil and reward virtue? Other reasons it's been challenged: Communism? References to snuff, tobacco and whiskey? Too scary? I can't even comment.
Joanne, USA

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Challenged for "explicit descriptions of black life," profanity, and images of violence and sexuality. In other words, the novel tells the truth about the African-American experience in America.
Joanne, USA

The Witches/Roald Dahl
Challenged because it's about witches, who "in reality" are satanists. Roald Dahl responded that, in reality, witches don't exist, and that the challenging parents lacked a sense of humor.
Joanne, USA

The Pillars Of The Earth
by Ken Follett
Restricted "due to its obscene and pervasively vulgar content." Yes, there are sex scenes and rape and violence. This seems to me to be an adult novel, but also a great source of information on 12th century England, especially the conflicts between the Church and the Crown, and on cathedral architecture. Any reader willing to commit to the 1000 page length is mature enough for some melodrama and violence, in my opinion.
Joanne, USA

by Kurt Vonnegut
According to Wikipedia, Slaughterhouse-Five is often challenged "because of its realistic and frequent depiction of swearing by American soldiers, its irreverent language, and some sexually explicit content." Why don't these people just admit that they have a problem with anyone who questions war itself or the things that the good guys might have done in waging war? Soldiers swearing, unacceptable. Allied forces firebombing and annihilating a German city -- no problem.
Joanne, USA

A_Teacher said...

During YALit, as a class we read "The Giver"; on my own I read "Fahrenheit 451" "Twilight" and plan to read "Speak"

Anonymous said...

Wow 40! That's gonna be a lot of reading!