Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Climb on board for banned books week

Going on all this week are 30th anniversary observances of the American Library Association's "Banned Books Week." Religion, sex, race, and drugs are a few of the topics purportedly treated offensively in the books various parties have sought to ban. On the censors' hit lists have been classics of African American literature like Native Son, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and Their Eyes Were Watching God; children's classics like Where the Wild Things Are, Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret, and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland; American lit staples by Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, and Twain; and books that have provoked famous court cases, such as Joyce's Ulysses and Lawrence's Lady Chatterly's Lover. Truly, the parade of once-banned or challenged titles is mind-boggling. We've got a strong sampling of them for sale right now, which you can scope out here.
A 1960 commuter enjoys the supposedly salacious novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover on the tube (Derek Berwin/Getty Images). Published in Italy in 1928 and banned in Britain, it was the first title to be tested under England's 1959 Obscene Publications Act. On the one side, writers such Graham Greene and Aldous Huxley condemned the government's description of the novel as "pornographic" and demanded that it be published, whereas the prosecution denounced its "purple passages" and multiple uses of the f-word, saying it would "corrupt" minors.

BBW hits close to home with Daedalus customers: our Pinterest page and Facebook posts devoted to it have received unprecedented activity!


  1. Banning a book is the silliest exercise in futility. It puts a big red sign on a book that might have gone unnoticed otherwise: Here lies something controversial and/or salacious!
    (Even my cat thinks limits exist to be tested.)
    I can't believe I've only read a dozen of the listed banned books. Got to get crackin'.

    1. Like in Harry Potter, when Umbridge bans the Quibbler and immediately everyone in the school reads the article.

  2. Some of my favorite books have been banned at one time or another. Didn't Gandhi say, "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win" -- perhaps not about books, but I think it still applies.

  3. The majority of the books that have been banned have contained such an important message, perhaps of dissonance from society, government, etc., or the portrait of worlds outside of our own. Which is why for me, the banned books list also works as a Must Read list, many of the books that have had the most cultural impact and personal impact in my opinion are on the list.

  4. Couldn't agree more, all. These are, in my opinion, because they challenge us. The only things worth reading should aspire to do the same...

  5. It's funny to read this list because it reminds me of all the required reading lists I ever had in school.

  6. In checking out the list of once-banned and challenged books, I haven't read even half of the books that are on the list, but because made the list i now have to check out all of the titles!!!!

  7. Dig that bloke trying to cadge an eyeball-ful of LCL on the sly. Get your own, mate! Help the economy!