Friday, April 19, 2013

Most Challenged Books in 2012

As part of the State of America's Libraries Report 2013, under the section for Intellectual Freedom, I found the updated list of frequently challenged books for last year. This list is compiled each year by the ALA and I wanted to share it as an update for my Banned Books Challenge (which I am admittedly very far behind on -- I hope you guys are doing better than I am!) Some of these books have been on previous years' lists, but others are gaining this distinction for the very first time. So for anyone who is participating in the challenge, I present these as some additional reading inspiration. And if you happen to have read one of them already this year, link up your review!

Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Looking for Alaska, by John Green
Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls
Beloved, by Toni Morrison

P.S. I'm was quite surprised to see Thirteen Reasons Why and Looking for Alaska on this list -- though judging by their popularity, I suppose I shouldn't have been!

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photo credit: Love Of Books by George Hodan

17 comments:

  1. It is interesting to me that in the wake of big media stories about teen bullying and subsequent suicides that two books featuring teen suicide are on the list. Unfortunately, my first book for your challenge, A Prayer for Owen Meany, was a dud. The writing is beautiful, but I couldn't make it past page - wait for it - four. It's just not the story I'm currently in the mood for. I hope to return to it before the year is out!

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    1. One would think given those media stories, more books that deal with those tough subjects would be encouraged rather than discouraged.

      And it's too bad Owen Meaney was a dud! I've been wanting to read that one ever since attending an event where John Irving did a reading from it -- but I can totally understand not being in the mood for a particular kind of book!

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    2. Maybe I just need a new perspective like with Tess! I'm currently working on a grant to get a banned author to come speak to my students for Banned Books Week this fall. Fingers crossed!

      Also, thanks for your support of my Wordpress move, but although it was easy to import from Blogger, I think Wordpress itself may be out of my league. My yen to move may have come on the part of being jealous of the beautiful, original layout of full-time bloggers, and when I stepped back and thought about my blog objectively, I realized I didn't need that, so I'm going to stick with what I know!

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    3. You're welcome Kristin! I know I don't have it in me to switch and there are things about blogger that I really do like, so I'm good with where I'm at right now. If you feel up to it though, I know I felt a lot better about blogger when I gave my blog a little bit of a facelift -- all it really took was a new (free!) background -- there are lots of sites out there where you can find some really great ones. I used shabbyblogs.com & I know thecutestblogontheblock.com is another good one.

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  2. I'm kind of surprised about Looking For Alaska although I haven't read it yet and Dairy of the Part Time Indian is surprising to me also. I read that book for school and it wasn't that bad. Interesting. Thanks for posting.

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    1. It seems books read in school are the ones most often challenged which seems kind of ironic to me! The more popular a book is the more likely it is for people to start kicking up a fuss unfortunately.

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  3. Book banning is lame, but I do think that age appropriateness is important in terms of school libraries. For example, 50 Shades should not be schools, yet Captain Underpants is probably fine.

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    1. I can see your point about 50 shades! I actually think it's more of an honor to make the frequently challenged list -- so many of the books that are on these lists are classics and other really great books (there are exceptions, of course...) At the very least, making the list is a sign of a book's popularity -- if people weren't reading them, no one would bother trying to ban them!

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  4. Thirteen Reasons Why dose touch on a touchy subject, but I honestly don't know why it would be banned. I always find it interesting to see what books people challenge.

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    1. Yes, it does seem that touchy subjects are most often challenged -- seems illogical to me since books can be such great teaching tools, but I suppose not everyone sees things that way!

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  5. Yep I'm really surprised that John Green made it onto this list. I'm just thankful Harry Potter's not on it, lol. I am hoping to get around to reading 'The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian' sometime this year.

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    1. Oh Harry Potter has definitely been on the list before, he just didn't make it this year! Must have had a dip in popularity (and no new movie last year!) to cause the book challengers to focus their attention elsewhere!

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  6. This is great! I just picked all of my banned reads for this year from the list. Did you see Book Riot did a graphical analysis ("Things We Are Apparently Most Afraid Of: 2012") of the content? http://bookriot.com/2013/04/25/the-most-challenged-books-of-2012/

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    1. Perusing the Banned Books list really does open up a small window into the human psyche. Thanks for sharing!

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    2. I love that graphic Justice -- thanks for sharing!

      And yes, it is so interesting to see what the "censors" are most afraid of when it comes to books.

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  7. I have to say that I am not shocked by 50 Shades. But Looking for Alaska? Really? I need to read that one to see why it's on the list. Great!! Another book on my TBR list.

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I'd love to hear what you think :)