This morning when Ilogged into my library catalog, this is the message that I saw,
Someone, somewhere, doesn’t want you to read these books. Find out more at: www.banned-books.org.uk
There is something fascinating about banned books, isn’t there? It draws you. The mere words, ‘banned’ makes them ever so enticing. It makes me want to read them, find out what is inflamatory, derogatory or indecent about them.
I went through the list, and can only wonder at some of the famous books that are in the banned list. The words within quotes are the words from the website above.
The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein. ‘The book has been banned as ‘satanic’ in some areas and was even burned by members of a church in New Mexico in 2001. The controversy is ironic, though, as Tolkien was a devout Christian and many scholars note Christian themes in his work. ‘ says the site.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – ‘Alice was banned in the province of Hunan, China (1931) for the portraying animals acting on the same level as humans. ‘
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J K Rowling ‘It was banned and burned in many US states for promoting witchcraft, and also banned in some Christian schools in the UK. Maybe they didn’t realise it is just a story. ‘
Black Beauty – Anna Sewell. ‘It was banned by the South African government during the Apartheid era because of the word ‘Black’ in the title. ‘
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain ‘Alongside Huckleberry Finn, this book has attracted controversy for its use of racially charged language. In fact, this novel of a young boy growing up along the Mississippi River not only raised important questions of racial inequality that are still with us today, but revolutionised modern American story telling into the bargain. ‘
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood ‘A dystopian fictional world where women’s only function is to breed. It was no.37 on the American Library Association’s 100 most frequently challenged books 1990 – 2000 – challenged because it was claimed to be anti-Christian and pornographic. ‘
Do check out the website, if you want the complete list. It was fascinating to read why so many books which we would recommend based on so many criteria, is/was also banned in certain countries based on some other criteria. Also, how something that was inflammatory in another time period, would not even raise eye-brows today.
I also can’t help wondering why we still insist on banning books, when, in today’s global world, it is just so easy to get hold of a book, banned or not.
How is it for you? Are you more likely to try to read a book, because it was banned? I know I would. Banning something just makes me curious. Forbidden fruit, you know.
That reminded me of something from my childhood. There was some scandalous movie, which was making the waves. There were two older girls, daughters of my parents friends, whom I overheard lamenting, ‘By the time we get old enough to watch this movie, it will not even be outrageous!’. So true, don’t you think?