Books Banned in 2012 - 2013: A Reading List
It's Banned Books Week--the time of year to think of censored classics like J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye ("obscene"), Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer ("a cesspool") and Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita ("one of the filthiest books I've ever read"), and chuckle at the puritanical sensibilities of our parents and grandparents.
Banned in Greenville County, South Carolina
But, and it might be easy to forget in godless New York, the banning of books: not actually a thing of the past. It's happening all over, so often that the American Library Association says its hard to even estimate how many books were banned in the past year.
"While we can point out a number of instances when we know a school board or library board voted to remove or restrict access to a book," Macey Morales of the ALA tells the Voice, "we are uncomfortable with offering any numbers because we know that our challenge reports are incomplete and even when a challenge is reported to us we don't always receive a follow-up report on the outcome of the challenge."
Robert Doyle of the Illinois Library Society, however, has helpfully compiled a list of books banned and challenged in the past year. It's not exhaustive, but if you're going to read a book this week, why not make it one of these?
The Family Book by Todd Parr
Banned in the Erie, Illinois school district. The offending line? "Some families have two moms or two dads." Resource materials provided by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network were banned by the district as well.
Banned in Erie, Illinois.
Looking For Alaska by John Green
Banned in Sumner County, Tennessee schools for "inappropriate language" and a scene involving (gasp!) oral sex. The controversy prompted Green (also the author of The Fault In Our Stars) to issue a strident video defense of his Printz award-winning New York Times bestseller.
Allah, Liberty, and Love by Irshad Manji
Banned in Malaysia by officials who said it "insulted Islam" and had the power to "deviate Muslims from their faith." There was also speculation that the ban, which was struck down by a judge earlier this month, was related to the fact that the author is a lesbian.
Neonomicon by Alan Moore
Banned in Greenville County South Carolina, where the librarian who made the decision called the book "disgusting." The public library's two copies were donated to a consignment shop.
And, what might be the most egregious example of the past year...