Oct 1 2012 8:35am

Banned Books Week 2012: We Like Banned Books and We Cannot Lie

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week, “celebrating the freedom to read.” Here's the list of the most challenged books of 2011:

The 10 most challenged titles of 2011 were:

1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

2. The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

3. The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language;occult/satanic; violence

4. My Mom's Having A Baby! A Kid's Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

6. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint

7. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit

8. What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones
Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit

9. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit

10. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Reasons: offensive language; racism

Last year, we asked which books you were thrilled to be able to continue to read. We figured it's a good question to ask, so now we're asking again:

What book(s) are you grateful to be given the chance to read? Have you read any of the books on the 2011 most challenged list?

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Elizabeth Halliday
3. Ibbitts
"To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee is my favorite book of all time. My Grandmother, a schoolteacher, gave it to me for my 9th birthday. She thought it would be a good life-lesson for me as I was, at the time, the same approximate age as Scout. She was right. In honor of her and Harper Lee, I reread the book every year in my birthday month. This summer I reread this wonderful story again ... for the 53rd time.
Rose In RoseBear
4. Rose In RoseBear
I second Ibbitts' praise of To Kill A Mockingbird. Magnificent work of art in prose form: "Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum."

I'm glad I can read the digital versions of the stroke books. I have a fondness for them --- you can't beat a 4300 word epistle whose title begins with the words Legs Wide. I may not like the subject matter, or be thrilled by the writing ... but nobody is compelled to cough up 99 cents to read it. If some poor, misguided soul does purchase said novella, they have the right to huddle in a private corner over their Kindle and read it. Freedom of speech is a glorious thing.
Jasmine Ray
5. JassyBaby
Happy Banned Books Week! Lol! I've also read and appreciated To Kill A Mockingbird in high school. Some banned books I wanted to check out were the ttyl series. On a list I saw Dance on My Grave by Aidan Chambers and it looked interesting.

I just started reading Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Don't know if it's ever been a banned book, but it's definitely controversial and I can see why.
Vanessa Ouadi
6. Lafka
As a French person, I'm always quite amazed by these lobbying groups who, in the sake of so-called moral standards (or plain and simple prudishness, depending on how you see it), try to have books banned. These kind of groups are definitely scarce in France, where they are not at all in our cultural tradition ; and we French tend to regard any attempt to censorship with the greatest contempt and distrust.

I do understand how a book can raise controversy, because of its content or language. I also promote the fact that all books cannot be read by all audience _ obviously, I would find disturbing to grant access to, hum, let's say the Fifty Shades trilogy in an elementary school library, for instance.

But through and through, I believe literature is one of the world's most precious assets. I simply can't understand how and why a book should be banned from public libraries.

You cannot imagine how glad I am to have been granted the chance to study in class, through my Junior High and Highschool years, books such as 1984, Animal Farm, Brave New World, Voltaire's Candide ...
It's also in my school library that I discovered John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, Stephen King's Carrie, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Alice Walker's The Colour Purple, William Golding's Lord of the Flies, or Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
I don't think any of these books have corrupted me in any way. Quite on the contrary, reading them have opened my mind to paying attention to social, religious, political or economical discussions. They made me want to read more, to explore new literary horizons.
I'm so glad these books _ and soooo many others _ weren't banned from the libraries I attended ; it would have been a great loss indeed.

So kudoes to the Banned Books Week!
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