As Banned Books week draws to a close we would like to draw your attention to one of our book displays on the ground floor, offering a selection of scandalous material to curl up with this weekend. To set the scene we thought we’d highlight reasons why books are banned – so here we go, the five biggest reasons for books being banned:
Sexual Content There are hundreds of titles in this category, here are a few to get your heart pumping.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne – A tale of an adulterous entanglement that results in an illegitimate birth. Set in 17th century Boston. Banned on sexual grounds and has been called pornographic and obscene even though there are no sex scenes and no sexual language. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison – Set in 1941 Lorain, Ohio it tells the story of Pecola Breedlove, an eleven year old black girl who dreams of having blue eyes so she can be beautiful and loved like all the blue-eyed, blond American kids.
At number two we have Offensive Language. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – Set during the last years of the Afghan monarchy the story sees Amir’s friendship with his servant Hassan torn apart by the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions happening in that part of the world and what Amir has to go through later on to repair that friendship. My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara – A story about Ken, who likes to-day dream and seems to do nothing right until one summer a chestnut filly will change his life and teach him about true friendship. The only swear word in the book is Bitch. This was used to describe a female dog!
At number three we have Unsuited for age group. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – When Katniss’s younger sister is selected as District 12’s female representative for the hunger games, Katniss takes her place and what happens after will change her life and her country’s life for ever! Now a series of films.
At number four we have Violence. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck – The tragic story of two migrant labourers set in central California during the great depression. George Milton is an intelligent but uneducated man and his friend Lennie Small is a huge strong man but with limited mental abilities. On familiar ground here at Brunel, A Clockwork Orange by Antony Burgess is set in a nightmare future in England. Alex (A fifteen year old droog) tells his story of gangs, robbery and violence in his futuristic slang.
And at number five we have Religious Viewpoints. The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood – Set in the future in the Republic of Gilead. There has been a decline in births. Offred and other handmaids are valued only for their ovaries. Women are now only used to breed, and if a woman can no longer get pregnant she is either hanged or cast out from the walled city to die of radiation sickness. Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter’s world changes on his 11th birthday when he gets a strange invite to attend Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. A whole series of very successful books follow Harry Potter’s life through school and despite being frequently a subject for banning and removal from libraries they have been made into some very successful films.
These are only a small amount of titles that have been banned for various reasons and you can find plenty more reading the articles linked to this post. What do you think? Should these books be banned? What books would you like banned and why? Check out our banned books display on the ground of the Library.