Friday, September 22, 2017

Book Blogger Hop No. 106: My Favorite Challenged/Banned Books



Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop,
hosted by Billy @


For more information, and 
to find out the topic of next week's question, click HERE.


This Week's Question

In regards to Banned Books Week,
what are your favorite books
that have been banned or
challenged?

(Submitted  by Kristin @ 







My Answer

I would like to make something perfectly clear before I get to this question's answer. There's a difference between banning books for adults, and banning them for children. I am not at all in favor of the former, but very much in favor of the latter. WHAT?! She's in favor of CENSORSHIP?! Well, see, that's the thing. People tend to think in generalities, and to go to one extreme or the other. I am making the case for a middle-of-the road stance. 

Before beginning this post, I did some Googling, and discovered that most books are banned by school libraries, and that the people who want certain books banned are parents.  It must surely be obvious to anyone that children and very young teens simply do NOT have the intellectual and, most important, emotional/psychological maturity to handle certain topics to be found in certain books. Censoring for adults, though, is not necessary, nor is it healthy. Adults can handle these types of topics, and should have the freedom to do so. If an adult wants to fill his/her mind with total GARBAGE, then s/he should be free to do so. Children and very young teens, however, should not have this freedom, in my honest opinion. I certainly wouldn't want my 14-year-old daughter (if I had one) to be reading Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov, for example. Nor would I want her reading the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy!! So, if I did indeed have a 14-year-old daughter, I'd be one of those parents actively involved in getting these novels, and similar ones, banned from my local middle school library, for SURE!!

When you click on this link, and scroll down the page, you will see two graphs -- one detailing reasons for these book challenges, and the other, detailing who the initiators of these challenges are. It will be very clear that the initiators, are, nearly in their totality, parents.

Having stated all of the above, let me once more reiterate that there should be NO censorship for ADULTS in a free, democratic society. This is totally UNACCEPTABLE. Besides, who's going to ban books for adult readers? Certainly no government should attempt to do so. But, even in the case of children and younger teens, the U.S. government has NEVER stepped in and attempted to do this. It's always been private citizens -- parents -- who have wanted certain books banned by their children's school libraries.

Another interesting point here is that this challenging of books has to do with libraries. Challenged and banned books are still freely available in bookstores, as well as online, although I've never seen pornography in regular bookstores, like Barnes & Noble. Of course, such books are indeed available online, as well as in adult bookstores.

Now on to this question's answer.

These are my favorite challenged/banned books. They are all YA novels. I don't think that kids should read these books until they're at least around 17 or 18. There are events in these books that might be a bit too scary or disturbing for children and younger teens.  

 





I do  think you need to have a certain level of psychological maturity to read the books that comprise The Twilight Saga. In my honest opinion, they are not appropriate for kids younger than at least 17. They are beautiful and romantic books, but they also contain concepts that might be too jarring and confusing for younger kids, such as the whole idea of good vampires. How can vampires possibly be "good"? Older teens can see how the Cullen family is committed to not harming humans, how Carlisle Cullen, the doctor who brought them all together, vowed to not give in to the vampire nature, when he himself was accidentally turned into a vampire, centuries ago. 

Edward Cullen, one of Carlisle's adopted children, follows his adoptive father's philosophy, striving not to harm the girl he loves -- Bella Swan. This idea of a man struggling to protect a woman from his baser impulses (because, as I have read in an online article, this is clearly a metaphor), is something that only older teens would be able to comprehend and appreciate.

I was way beyond adolescence when I first read Twilight, the first book in the series, in 2006. I fell head over heels in love with it, and promptly bought the second book, New Moon. Later on, I completed the set with Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. I ADORE these books, and have read them 3 times already! I have read the first 4 times -- 3 times in English, and once in Spanish.

Aside from the vampire metaphor, these books do contain some very laudable values, such as the sanctity of human life, the courage to withstand temptation, the value of family unity, and many others. Adult women of all ages (these books appeal mostly to females) love these books, too, as they are indeed wonderful, exciting reading! 

All four books made the list of "Top Ten Most Challenged Books" in 2009, and the first book made the list in 2010.







The Harry Potter series has also been challenged by parents, and I do think that, again, older teens can read them, but not younger ones, nor children. The thing is, and this has been pointed out by critics of the books, that each novel gets darker and darker as the series progresses. Although I love these books myself, I must confess that I came across some disturbing things while reading them. I was also an adult when I started reading the books, around 2000 or 2001, and I STILL found these things disturbing. One of them was a very macabre birthday party for one of the Hogwarts ghosts, whose name is "Nearly Headless Nick". Nick's head was used in a ghostly polo game.... Thankfully, this scene never made it into the film version! Another thing, and this one DID make it into the movie version, was the grisly ingredient of a severed hand included in a potion meant to bring Voldemort, the villain of the series, come fully back to life.I don't think young children should either read such things, or see them on film, either. 

The Harry Potter series is definitely full of wonderful, magical things, and I don't agree with those parents who say these books are full of occultism. The "witchcraft" in the books is of the sort to be frequently found in fantasy novels. Besides, the spells and enchantments detailed in the books obviously do not work in real life. Lol. 

These books, like those of The Twilight Saga, contain many worthwhile concepts, such as courage, the fortitude to follow one's values even when it's easier not to, loyalty to one's friends, and even family values. This can be seen in the Weasley family, for example.

So these are my favorite challenged, or banned books. Again, I do support the freedom to read, but only if a person has reached a certain level of psychological and intellectual maturity. Of course, there's the case of gifted kids, who are beyond their age group in certain skills. Most likely reading will be one of them. However, these kids may not have the level of emotional maturity to handle certain topics, so I believe they, too, should not be exposed to them.

Reading is meant to be a rewarding, joyful experience. When the wrong books fall into the wrong hands, however, it can then become a terrifying, traumatic experience, or, at best, a very disturbing one.






What are your thoughts on
this topic?
If you're participating in this hop,
I'll go comment on your 
own BBH post.
If not, I will then comment on one 
of your blog posts!
Thanks for visiting!!!  
 





24 comments:

  1. This is a very interesting and thoughtful post.

    I think that you are hitting on an issue that I have been thinking about a lot. That is, beyond the actual banning of books by governments, the issue of censorship gets complicated. For instance, should libraries carry pornography? I think not. But what about materials that might be borderline? Should libraries carry books that espouse vicious race hatred like The Turner Diaries? I think that they probably not seek them out but what if people ask for them and want the library to order books like this? Perhaps anti - racists would want to read books like that to understand racism and violence better. But what if real White Supremacists start to request that libraries carry such books? It is not as simple as some make it out to be.

    In times of children's libraries I think that I would tend to be a little more open with these mainstream books. I think that letting children read these books freely out weighs whatever costs that reading some difficult or disturbing material. It is also really hard to determine what is disturbing. Perhaps parents could have the option of being notified of whatever their children were checking out?

    Have a great weekend Maria!

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    1. Hey, Brian!

      First, thanks for the compliment on the post! Glad you enjoyed reading it!

      You have made some very interesting, important, and SPOT ON observations in this comment!

      I really don't think that porn "literature" is appropriate in ANY library, whether one attached to a school, or a public one. I'm sure that many a child molester frequents adult bookstores to buy this kind of thing. If such material were made freely available in public libraries, who knows where that might lead? On the other hand, literature labeled "erotica" is probably available in public libraries. (I would hope it's not, in school libraries.) I'm thinking, for instance, of AnaΓ―s Nin's "Delta of Venus", and "Little Birds", neither of which I have read (and don't plan to), but the contents of which I know about through Wikipedia.

      As for books written by White Supremacists, I think they should be available in public, but not school, libraries. The thing is, parents can go with their kids to public libraries, and monitor what books they pick up. In school libraries, this is not possible, as parents work during the day, and have no control over when their kids visit the school library.

      I would not want a child of mine to even come across "The Turner Diaries" in a school library! (Yes, I looked up this book on Wikipedia.) Even if a child doesn't check a book out, they can certainly skim through it right there in the library, and their parents will never be the wiser. If the parents ever did find out, the damage would have already been done.

      You might remember my post about the book of stories by E.T.A. Hoffmann, on my other blog. I was around 8 or 9 when I read this book. My parents innocently bought it for me, thinking it was a book of typical fairy tales. As you know from my post, it wasn't (with the exception of "The Nutcracker"). There were stories in that book that did disturb and confuse me. My parents should really have checked out this book further before giving it to me. I tell you, some of those stories just left a very uneasy feeling in my mind.... I think I treasure this book in spite of that because of that nutcracker story. It IS a wonderful tale!

      Banning books for adults, on the other hand, is something I am totally against. It wouldn't be parents doing the banning, of course. It would be the government. Naturally, if that were ever to happen here in this country, then we would have a dictatorship.

      I just wouldn't want an objectionable book available for my child (if I had one) to come across in a school library just because some other parent feels that it's "okay" for children to be exposed to such a book.

      Thanks for a most thought-provoking comment!! Hope you have a great weekend, too!! <3 :)

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  2. Maria...you are AWESOME and AMAZING.

    This post is fantastic as always.

    I agree with you about the ban for children but not for adults.

    I am excited about the link to the list. Can't wait to click on it.

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. I know I can always count on you for an intelligent, informative, well-thought-out post.

    YOU ARE THE BEST.

    ENJOY your weekend.

    Happy Hopping!!

    Elizabeth
    Silver's Reviews
    My Book Blogger Hop

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    1. Hi, Elizabeth!

      OMG, you're SO SWEET!! THANK YOU for all the compliments!! (blush, blush)

      I'm so glad you agree that banning books for adults is not right, but that, in the case of children, it is. I know from my own reading experience just how strong a book's influence can be, whether for good or ill. If I have fount it hard, as an adult, to cope with the effect of certain books, how can a child be expected to handle these books?

      Thanks again for your kind words! You are one of the NICEST bloggers I know!

      Hope you enjoy your weekend, too!! Happy Hopping to you, as well!! HUGS!!!!! <3 <3 <3 :)< :) :)

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    2. HUGS, and thanks as always for replying to comments left on your blog and returning comments.

      That is what I do too. It's what should be done. HUGS.

      Delete
    3. Hi, again! <3 <3

      Well, I can understand it if people don't have the time to both reply on their blogs, and then comment back on those blogs whose owners left comments on their own. But, AT THE VERY LEAST, they should comment back. This is the COURTEOUS thing to do!!

      So, many THANKS to you, as well, since you, too, always comment back. And then you go the extra mile, and reply to comments on your own blog.

      HUGS RIGHT BACK AT YA!!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

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    4. Yes...being courteous should be the top thing to do along with enjoying your blogging experience.

      True on the time element, but everyone should try his/her best to comment. :)

      ENJOY the rest of your weekend, Maria.

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    5. Thanks!! You, too!! I'm on my cell, so here are some emojis!! πŸ’πŸ˜€πŸ’₯πŸ˜ŽπŸ‘πŸŽƒπŸ˜πŸŒ·πŸ˜˜✌

      Delete
    6. You're very welcome!! πŸ’πŸ˜˜πŸ’πŸ˜˜πŸ’πŸ˜˜πŸ’πŸ˜˜πŸ’πŸ˜˜πŸ’πŸ˜˜πŸ’πŸ˜˜πŸ’πŸ˜˜

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  3. Personally I'm not for banning books for anyone, whether it's children or not. But of course there are always exceptions, although when I was younger (early teens) I was reading pretty mature stuff and I could handle it, though I do think it depends from person to person. Not all kids or even adults are the same after all. Great post! :)

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    1. Hi, Stephanie!

      Thank you for the compliment on the post!! <3 <3

      While everyone matures at different rates, I know I wouldn't want an objectionable book to be available for my child to come across (if I had a child) in a school library, just because some parents think it's okay for such a book to be there for all the children at that school.

      Brian, in his comment above, mentioned a book written by a White Supremacist, William Luther Pierce, who published it under the alias of Andrew Macdonald. This book is titled "The Turner Diaries", and has been described as "explicitly racist and anti-Semitic" by The New York Times. I DEFINITELY would NOT want a child of mine to come across this book in a school library!

      Here's the Wikipedia link to this book:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Turner_Diaries

      So, yes, I do think that certain books should not be available to children in school libraries. The thing is, parents are not around during the school day to monitor what books their children see in the school library. So they are unable to make sure that their kids don't come across things they may not be able to handle. People, not just kids, will sit down with a book they've just come across and leaf through it, as well as skim it. Thus, a child would be able to do this with an objectionable book, and the parents would never be the wiser, until the damage was done.

      I value everyone's opinion, especially when stated in a civil manner, as yours was. I respect your position, even if I don't agree with it.

      Thanks for the thought-provoking comment!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

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  4. Hi, Maria. The only think I am in favor of being banned is child pornography, which is illegal anyway. I feel very fortunate that my parents did not censor my reading. And I have no intention of doing so with my daughter either. What I will do, however, is know what she is reading and be available for her to discuss it if she needs me to be.

    I would never condone the outright banning or censorship of any book, including those I may be opposed to for moral or ethical reasons. I am a strong believer in a person's right to choose. While I do feel that parents should have the right to police what their own children are reading, I don't feel that just any parent has the right to dictate what my child or anyone else's reads. What my child reads should be my call, not theirs. When we start banning books just because we are personally offended, it goes against our own beliefs, or it makes us uncomfortable, we go down a slippery slope. What is disturbing or offensive to you, isn't necessarily disturbing or offensive to me. Children mature at different rates and what one child/youth can handle another might not be able to. Where do we draw the line?

    I am grateful to many of the YA books out there today that tackle very real teen issues in a way that teens can relate to. Books like Speak, The Hate U Give, The The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, for example. I just know someone's going to challenge The Hate U Give. Even if just for profanity. They are amazing books I would not hesitate to let Mouse read when/if she says she wants to give them a try.

    This is topic I feel very passionate about as you can tell. :-) I hope you have a good weekend, Maria!

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    1. Hi, Wendy!

      I appreciate and value your opinion, because you have stated it in a very civil manner. However, I must still disagree with it. And I feel just as passionately about this as you do, too.

      The thing is, parents are not with their children during the school day, so, obviously, they have no control over what types of books their children encounter in a school library. Children -- as well as adults -- will frequently stop and look through a book they've come across in a library. If their curiosity is piqued, they will then sit down and start skimming through the book they have come across.

      So the thing is, if one parent feels that my wanting a certain book banned from my child's school library infringes on their parental rights to allow their child to read such a book, the opposite view holds true, as well: their support of that book infringes on my own parental rights to not want my child to come across that book in the school library, with the possibility that my child might want to leaf through and skim the book. They might not check it out, but, it's still available in the school library. If they want to, they can continue to look into that book whenever they go to the library, if no one else has checked it out. This possibility is a very obvious one, if the child knows that their parents wouldn't want them reading a particular book.

      Parents who want to allow their children to read any type of book freely should simply go to a public library, where controversial books are freely available. In a school library, however, they should not be. Again, it's the issue of parental control.

      Brian mentioned, in his comment above, a book written by a White Supremacist, which The New York Times described, at the time of its publication, as "explicitly racist and anti-Semitic". The Southern Poverty Law Center, which is an advocacy group for the poor and minorities, labeled it as "a bible of the racist right". The book is titled "The Turner Diaries", and was published in 1978. I certainly would NOT want this book to be available in school libraries, whether these are public school or private school libraries. From what I read in the Wikipedia article, this book is EGREGIOUSLY RACIST. No, I would NOT want any child of mine to walk into their school library, encounter this book on a shelf, and sit down with it in order to skim through it. I would NOT want any child of mine to absorb racist points of view at an age when they might be influenced by them. This book has no place in a school library, not even in a high school library.

      Here's a link to the Wikipdedia article on this book:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Turner_Diaries

      (TO BE CONTINUED)

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    2. (CONTINUED FROM ABOVE)

      Do I think this book should be available in a public library? Of course. That's an entirely different matter. Public libraries have titles accessible to anyone, of any age. If I take my child to a public library, I will make SURE to monitor what book(s) they take off a shelf. I will be there to say, "I don't think you're quite ready to read that yet. I think you should wait until you're older. Trust me, sweetheart." I would say this calmly, without any "Because I say so!" comments. But then, I would have already established a relationship of friendship and trust with my child. This means NO yelling, NO spanking, NO violent behavior of ANY type. No comments such as, "You NEVER listen to me!!" "Why can't you be more like so-and-so?" "You'll NEVER amount to ANYTHING!!" If a parent establishes a relationship with a child based on common courtesy, respect, and most of all, LOVE, that child will instinctively KNOW that their parent really does want THE BEST for them. And that child will trust the parent when that parent says, "You're not ready for this yet. Trust me."

      Again, because I am unable to be with my (hypothetical) child during the school day, I am unable to calmly steer them away from a damaging book, should they encounter such a book in the school library. Therefore, such a book should NOT be in the school library, precisely because I am unable to be there to protect my child from it.

      Again, parents who want to make sure their children are exposed to all kinds of books, no matter their content, should simply take them to the public library. No one censors books there. And if they every tried to, they would be entirely WRONG.

      Books like "The Hate U Give" are fine for older teens. This book should not be banned, just because of profanity. Its message is SO important, the issue of profanity shouldn't even come up. A given person may not want to read it because of that, but the fact remains that it should be freely available. I think this book should be available in school libraries, too, but only in high school libraries.

      Thank you so much for such a thought-provoking comment, Wendy! Hope you have a good weekend, too!! HUGS TO YOU AND MOUSE!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

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    3. P.S. I meant SENIOR high school libraries.

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  5. I've never read the Twilight books, but I loved the Harry Potter books! Great answer!

    Here’s my Book Blogger Hop!

    Ronyell @ Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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    1. Hi, Ronyell!

      I LOVE the Harry Potter books, too, in spite of some things that did disturb me as I read them. J.K. Rowling has a GREAT imagination!!

      Thanks for commenting!! <3 :)

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  6. I'm not in favour of any banning. Then again, I would not expect a middle-school library to stock something like Fifty Shades of Grey to begin with.

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    1. Hi, Nicki!

      In an ideal world, I would not favor banning, either. But the banning being talked about here is only for school libraries. We're not talking about the government banning books for ADULTS. Now THAT I would be up in arms against!!

      I would not expect a middle-school library to stock "Fifty Shades of Grey", either. But I'm sure there are parents that wouldn't mind that, unbelievably enough. This is why we do need to ban certain books for certain age groups in school libraries. "Fifty Shades" is a good example. Perhaps it could be allowed in a SENIOR high school library, but not in a middle-school library.

      Anyway, parents who want to allow their kids to read ANYTHING can just take them to a public library. No books are challenged or banned at public libraries, to my knowledge.

      Thanks for commenting!! <3 :)

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  7. Honestly, while I can see where you are coming from I absolutely disagree with you. As a parent, it is MY responsibility to guide my child and 'police' his/her reading choices same as TV, computer games etc. Someone else dictating what is acceptable for my child is 100% unacceptable. Every child is different. I know what my son is comfortable with, what's likely to upset him, what will require/inspire discussion. What my son can deal with will be different from what his friends can and vice versa. It is not for someone else to decide by removing the choice.

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    1. Hi, Nicola!

      I, too, can see where you're coming from, and I must still disagree with you, too.

      If this is all about choice, then everyone's right to choose must be considered. The rights of the parents who do NOT want their kids to read certain books have to be taken into account, as well. Parents who want to allow certain books into my child's school library will then infringe on my own right to NOT want my child to have access to these books. Why is the right of those parents more important than mine?

      The thing is, parents are obviously not around during their children's school day. Thus, parents have no idea when their kids go to the school library, nor what books they might encounter there. I would not want my child (hypothetically, since I don't have kids) to see a book on a shelf that I would not want them to read. People -- children and adults -- will frequently pull a book off a shelf, leaf through it, and then start skimming it. I just would not want a potentially emotionally damaging book to be available in the school library for my child to look through. But it WOULD be available there, if parents who want to allow their kids to read ANYTHING insist that this book SHOULD be available. So again, this infringes on my own right to not want this book to be available for my child to possibly find and start looking through.

      Parents who have no qualms about allowing their kids to read ALL kinds of books should simply take them to their local public library. To my knowledge, books are not challenged or banned there.

      People get upset over this issue, AS IF it had to do with the GOVERNMENT banning books for ADULTS. This is obviously not the case AT ALL. I would be up in arms myself, if that were happening. But it's simply NOT.

      Parents who are concerned about the types of books their kids might come across in their school libraries have every right to request that these books not be available to their children AT THE SCHOOL LIBRARIES. I reiterate, those parents who feel differently should just take their kids to a public library.

      Here's a link to book titled "The Turner Diaries", written by a White Supremacist. This book is EGREGIOUSLY RACIST. I don't think most parents would want their children's middle-school library to have this book available on their shelves. It could PERHAPS be made available on SENIOR high school shelves.

      Here's the link:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Turner_Diaries

      I don't know how old your son is, but if he's in the 10 to 12 age bracket, I seriously doubt that you would want to allow him to read this pile of RACIST GARBAGE.

      Thanks for your honest opinion, and for stating it in a civil manner! <3 :)

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    2. Hi Maria, I admire how much this topic matters to you and how much research and thought you have put into it. Your arguments are very compelling. :)
      I also admire your patience throughout your comments thread!
      Have a good week, you've given me lots of food for thought.

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    3. Hi, again, Nicola!

      Thank you! This topic does indeed matter to me, even though I don't have kids myself. I'm a little surprised that I have never given it that much thought before, too. But participating in this week's Book Blogger Hop made me very aware of this issue.

      There are banned books that I would definitely not read myself, such as "Tropic of Cancer", by Henry Miller. However, I will staunchly defend an adult's right to read this book. Still, I would not want to see it in any school library -- not even a high school library.

      Brian @ Babbling Books mentioned "The Turner Diaries" in his comment, as you probably noticed. Since he didn't provide a link to this book, I Googled it, and was APPALLED at what I read about it! SICKENING. Of course kids aged 13 to 15 could read this book. And they could very well be swayed by its racist statements.

      I just think that children's minds are much too precious to be polluted and possibly damaged by some of the potentially psychologically harmful elements in certain books.

      The Goosebumps series, by R.L. Stine, is a case in point. This is a HORROR series written for CHILDREN. If I had kids, I would not buy these books for them, and I would absolutely NOT want them to be available in their school library!

      I have another post on this issue, dated as of today, in which I elaborate on this topic.

      Thanks for commenting again! I'm glad I've given you lots of food for thought!

      Hope you have a good week, too!! <3 <3 :) :)

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