Thursday, June 12, 2008

Reporting on the Challange June

Poster courtesy of American Booksellers Foundation For Free Expression

The deadline to register for this year's "Banned Book Challenge" is June 30. To date, 61 people, including the people below have signed up to read 481 banned or challenged books.

Elana B., Australia, 7 bannedbooksarethebeesknees, USA, 5
Cleo, USA, 2

Please see comments for reviews from people who have submitted their completed titles.

1 comment:

fahrenheit451moderator said...

Joanne B. Reports on her completed challenge:

Watchmen/Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
Challenged for violence, nudity, and as unsuitable for younger readers. Yes, it's violent and bloody, but no more so than many of the books, movies, and games that middle-schoolers are exposed to.

Brave New World/Aldous Huxley
Challenged frequently because of depiction of sexual promiscuity, and "contempt for religion, marriage, and the family." Ummm, satire?

East of Eden/John Steinbeck
Based in part on a bible story (Cain and Abel), so it's not surprising that some would find it "ungodly and obscene."

Snow Falling on Cedars/David Guterson
Challenged for graphic violence, racial bigotry and honeymoon sex. Most of the violence occurs in chapters describing WWII, and so is utterly necessary to the story. Racial bigotry is the underlying theme of the story, and is condemned. How can we expect young people to diverge from their elders' bigotry without stories to tell them how horrific it is? Honeymoon sex --Oh, really. Doesn't that say more about the private lives of the book challengers than they probably want to reveal?

The Indian in the Cupboard/Lynne Reid Banks
Challenged because of negative or inaccurate portrayal of Native Americans. The portrayals of all the 3-inch plastic figures are inaccurate, but enough clues are given to urge the young reader to explore further about the Five Nations and Algonquins, cowboys of 1889, WWI British soldiers, etc. This sweet story makes a great starting point for a curious child.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings/M Angelou
Challenged for language, explicit depictions of rape and sexual conduct, and racism. If the victims of abuse and racism shouldn't have their stories read, then should our youth learn about these issues solely from the perpetrators' point of view?

A Clockwork Orange/Anthony Burgess
According to the ALA site, this book has been challenged several times for "objectionable language" -- strangely, not for its apparent (albeit satirical) celebration of ultraviolence, rape, or torture.

An American Tragedy/Theodore Dreiser
For An American Tragedy, Dreiser was threatened with legal action by the Boston district attorney, who was taking action against titles deemed to danger the "morals of youth." True, the protagonist was pretty lacking morally. Also true, though: he was punished proportionally.

Women in Love/DH Lawrence
Challenged for obscenity, partly as a hangover from Lawrence's previously banned novels. The only thing I found objectionable is that the characters would not stop haranguing on, about existential twaddle. But maybe that's just me.

The Martian Chronicles/Ray Bradbury
Challenged for profanity. I noticed none.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe/CS Lewis and The Magician's Nephew/CS Lewis
Challenged because of depictions of "graphic violence, mysticism, and gore" -- all of which are to be expected in such manifestly religious allegory.