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Editado: Nov 8, 2007, 7:20am

I found this link from ALA. Thought some of you might like to take a look if you haven't seen it already.

Banned Books

Nov 8, 2007, 7:19am

I find it funny that LOTR was burned in Mexico as "satanic." Tolkein was a devout Christian, and LoTR has some definite Christian Allegory in it.

Nov 8, 2007, 10:24am

"Gropes of Wroth"??

Nov 8, 2007, 12:11pm

"Grapes" has an "unnatural act" at the end of the book; Rose breastfeeds the tramps after her baby dies. (Sorry if that's a spoiler.)

You gotta think like Dana Carvey's Church Lady here, people.

It helps to believe that everything associated with covered-up body parts is bad as well.

Nov 8, 2007, 3:24pm

nohrt4me: I was laughing at the typo in the paragraph on Grapes of Wrath. Apparently some publishers were indicted on "Gropes of Wroth." I might ban that title myself! ;-)

Nov 8, 2007, 5:07pm

Hoo boy!

I just put on my other glasses, and now I see the typo. Guess it's really true your eyes change a lot when you get old.

Well, anyway, that's why "The Gropes" have often been challenged.

Editado: Nov 9, 2007, 5:06pm


The Grapes of Wrath has been opposed for a long time becuase of supposed socialist sympathies.

I remember one of the saddest pictures I've ever seen was a guy with a fire in an oil barrel, droping in first print hardcovers of The Grapes of Wrath. (And Steinbeck is my favorite author!)

Nov 9, 2007, 8:13pm

Steinbeck might have been up before HUAC. (God, who wasn't?) But I'll have to look it up tomorrow.

Nov 10, 2007, 9:13pm

It says A Separate Piece was a filthy sex novel. Does it even mention the word sex? Or did I read the censored version?

Nov 10, 2007, 11:06pm

I believe that when they speak of "filthy sex novel" and A Separate Peace, they're basically referring to the homosexual overtones in the book. There's nothing overt (i.e. a flat out sex scene between Gene and Finney). Within the book, we're always going back to Gene's admiration of Finney's athleticism, good looks and the like - Blitzball is the game where Finney gets to show off his athletic build.

If you're looking to ban a book, Gene's desire to harm Finney is either an attempt to weaken him to have him once and for all OR it's his need to destroy his attraction to Finney because it's unnatural. Voila - you have yourselves a filthy sex novel.

I'm not saying it's right, but the codependency that Gene and Finney share can be construed many ways...

Nov 13, 2007, 4:47pm

Thanks. I was actually aware of the homosexual overtones, but for some reason I didn't translate that into why it would be banned. It makes perfect sense, from the point of view of people who wanted it banned, that is.

Nov 13, 2007, 10:29pm

Unfortunately, when it comes to banning books, it seems that "overtones" might as well be the same as graphic depiction. I'm sure that we all looked forward to every single page of assigned reading in school hoping to find any and all overtones that would titillate us to no end. Of course, I do lament the fact that I never did become this corrupted youth that reading all of those horrible books guaranteed!

I do wonder what the meetings are like when the "concerned citizens" get together to come up with the reasons for the banning. Can you imagine? Everyone sitting around, scouring through books for anything the least bit overtone-ish in hopes of presenting this to the local school board. (Of course, I'm sure there are already major groups with pre-done talking points, but the picture of it all cracks me up.)

Nov 14, 2007, 1:40pm

My tenth-grade English teacher had us play "find the sex scene" with The Scarlet Letter.

Nov 14, 2007, 7:43pm

I'm sure the "concerned citizens" that attend those smut-search meetings are sworn to secrecy... they probably read aloud to each other, highlighters in hand, wondering why the room is getting so warm, then sneak off in pairs to discuss the offensive passages in more detail... we need volunteers to infiltrate and investigate!

Someone could write a book about the shenanigans going on behind the scene, but it probably would be banned...

Nov 19, 2007, 5:07pm

TeacherDad, there may more truth than humor about the smut-freaks.

Some of the conversations that go on when kids get these "chastity rings" to advertise their sexual continence become long and somewhat explicit about what can/can't be done in order to continue wearing said ring.

Jun 29, 2008, 9:11am

13: "My tenth-grade English teacher had us play "find the sex scene" with The Scarlet Letter."

Cool teacher! I bet everyone read the book through to the end, very carefully. ;-)

So, in the interest of scientific and literary research, did you and your classmates grow up to be a bunch of over-sexed, anti-social deviants? Or perhaps it was a good outlet for the adolescent hormones common at that age, and you grew up to be normal, happy, healthy adults? And passed your English exam?

Jul 3, 2008, 8:02pm

>16 Karen5Lund:

Well, she eventually told us that there are some theories about how to interpret a particular scene in the woods.

So, in the interest of scientific and literary research, did you and your classmates grow up to be a bunch of over-sexed, anti-social deviants?

Well, I didn't. ;-)

Jul 6, 2008, 1:24pm

I find it amusing that alot of books on this list are there for language and sex acts, even though they are often used to show how bad a society or a character is (Brave New World, for example). And I must say, while I find Hemingway unreadable, I wouldn't say he's "non-mailable." Wow.
As for banning A Separate Peace-I read it in 10th grade and remember it as being a story about two teenaged boys, but don't remember anything about homosexual overtones. I guess sometimes you have to read things with a cynical adult's eye to see the smut in literature...

Jul 25, 2008, 10:10am

For a lot of people, vague undertones are more than enough to challenge a book. One example that comes to mind is The Foxman by Gary Paulsen, which was alleged to be "sexually explicit." It does allude to sexual acts between teenagers, but you really have to already know what they're talking about to know what they're talking about. It's about as far from explicit as you can get without omitting it altogether.

By the way, the book is pretty good, and a quick read.

There are many more examples of similar challenges and bans for material that is even less "explicit."

Ago 14, 2008, 10:47am

>17 Unreachableshelf: "there are some theories about how to interpret a particular scene in the woods"

Evidently that's not supposed to be the case in Tess of the D'Urbervilles, seeing as how the rest of the plot turns on what happens in that scene in the woods. But, when I read it in high school, I totally did not see that interpretation. Everyone else in my class did, and they tried to convince me for an entire period, but in the end what "convinced" me is that certain subsequent events make no sense unless you accept that particular interpretation of the scene in the woods.

Ago 15, 2008, 1:00am

One of my favorite challenges is Animal Farm because it portrays talking animals. As though kids don't have the intelligence to know animals don't talk. Its a fairy tale people, its written that way to make a point. If you object to it because it anthropomorphizes animals, you're missing the whole point!

Ago 15, 2008, 2:15pm

> #21: One of my favorite challenges is Animal Farm because it portrays talking animals.

I understood Animal Farm had been banned due to political overtones in the book, rather than the talking animals. It has been a very long time since I read that one though. Am I confused, or just missing the sarcasm?

Ago 15, 2008, 2:35pm

It was banned during the cold war for political reasons, then, later, for the talking animals.

Ago 15, 2008, 10:45pm

One of my all-time favourite challenges is Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, "because it was 'a real downer.'"