The ALA just released the top ten challenged books from 2010--very interesting (and sad): http://ala.org/ala/newspresscenter/news/pr.cfm?id=6874
In honor of our personal freedom to choose books, I wrote a blog post with my Top Ten Favorite books that have been challenged in the past.
What are your favorite banned books? What do you think of the current list from the ALA (link above)?
I am completely against 'banning books'. Our library has three sections: childrens, young adult, and adult. When you set up your library card, they code it in their system differently for children than they do for adults so that children can not check out adult material. Children need to be protected from certain materials that are not meant for them and for the most part that is up to the parents although I think what our library has set up is a good supliment. My curiousity comes in what libraries these books were banned from. Are these mainly at school libraries where young children below the age recommendations for the books have access to them, or are these public libraries for all ages? I know that I spoke to my local library director about complaints like this a few years ago and she told me that on their form they have for complaints such as these they ask at the bottom if the person has read the book in its entirety. According to her, most of the time that answer is no.
Your post has several components. First there is the issue of censorship. Of course, I am against banning books. Freedom of expression is both a moral right and a Constitutionally protected right (in the US).
But then, there is the issues of age-appropriate reading matter. Should certain books be kept out of reach of children if they contain adult language, adult situations, sexual situations, or graphic violence? If so, how does society keep these books from children? Banning their publication is one option, but not, in my opinion, an acceptable one. But while I would find banning such content from a public library unacceptable, it might be appropriate to keep it out of, say, a grade school library or a church library.
There are differences between preventing publication of a book (prior restraint); refusal (by wholesalers and distributors) to distribute a book; refusal (by bookstores and chains) to stock a book; and banning a book from a library (especially since there are so many types of libraries, from grade school libraries to public libraries).
In the past, publishers acted as gatekeepers and much "offensive" material was simply never published, and what slipped out (e.g., Lady Chatterley's Lover, Tropic of Cancer) often remained in pallets in distributors' warehouses or in sealed wrapper on the top shelves of dimly-lit bookstores. With the self-publishing boom and the rise of Amazon and e-books, the gatekeepers have fallen by the wayside, which raises yet another issue: do we need a rating system for books? If so, who would issue the ratings? A review board or the publishers themselves?
Another issue: what if Amazon decides to decline books based on content? As a near monopoly in online and ebook sales, should one company have the right to ban books?
that's really sad... i just read 2 of them though...
5. "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins
10. "Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer