This is the "About Banned Books" page of the "Banned Books Week 2014" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

Banned Books Week 2014   Tags: banned books, books, intellectual freedom, reading  

September 10-25, 2014 - Banned Books Celebration - Celebrating the Freedom to Read! Since 1982, the annual event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted.
Last Updated: Sep 4, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

About Banned Books Print Page

Banned Books 2014


Turn on the light

Bookman's Virtual Read-Out Video celebrating many banned books throughout literature.


Banned by Being Burned

Cover Art
The Koran - N. J. Dawood (Translator); Anonymous
ISBN: 0140449205
Burned (2011) by Evangelical pastor Terry Jones at his Gainesville, Fla. church, the Dove World Outreach Center. In response, thousands of protesters overran the United Nations compound in Mazar-I-Sharif, Afghanistan, killing at least twelve people.


Banned for Promoting "Economic Fallacies" and Socialist Ideas

Cover Art
Nickel and Dimed - Barbara Ehrenreich
ISBN: 0805063889
Has been banned from libraries for the mention of drugs, being inaccurate, using offensive language, and its political and religious viewpoints. Patrons have also said that it promotes socialism and presents "economic fallacies." --


Banned for Glorifying "Drinking, Cursing and Pre-marital Sex"

Winner of the National Book Award

Cover Art
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
ISBN: 9780679723165
Friends and colleagues discouraged Nabokov from publishing Lolita. The chronicle of seduction between the middle-aged Humbert and the pubescent Lolita threatened to be controversial. In the end, it was his wife, Véra, who convinced Nabokov to proceed. Despite the warnings of friends, Lolita appeared in Paris in September 1955, published by a press better known for its pornographic stock than for its efforts to make the works of Jean Genet, Samuel Beckett, and Henry Miller available to a wider reading public. The book's appearance sparked a flurry of publicity in France, where it was banned as a "dangerous book" until 1958. Lolita would eventually be banned in England, Australia, Burma, Belgium, and Austria and, at the local level, in some American communities. The controversy over the book only fueled sales. On September 17, 1958, the Cincinnati Public Library banned Lolita. The following week it reached number one on the bestseller list. -- Cornell University Library


Banned Books Celebration September 10-25

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community – librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types – in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

For more information on Banned Books Week, book challenges and censorship, please visit the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom’s Banned Books website at, or

Come visit the EGSC Library's display of banned books available for you to check out and read!


EGSC Banned Books Lecture Series

Banned Books Lecture Series

Sponsored by the EGSC Library

Wednesday, September 10, 4:00 PM—Professor Jessica Palumbo

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Thursday, September 11, 4:00PM—Dr. Armond Boudreaux

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Wednesday, September 17, 4:00PM—Dr. Eric Wruck

The Psychoanalysis of Sigmund Freud

Thursday, September 18, 4:00PM—Professor Desmal Purcell

Captain Underpants and The Amazing Spiderman: The Banning of Graphic

Novels and Comic Books

Wednesday, September 24, 4:00PM—Professor Steve Lavender

Ulysses by James Joyce

Thursday, September 25, 4:00PM—Dr. Alan Brasher

Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg

Join EGSC Humanities and Social Sciences professors as they lecture on banned books, both new and classic, and the topic of censorship in literature and art. All lectures will take place in the Learning Commons room J503. For more information click here.

Members of the community are invited to attend.




Banned for Promoting the Occult & for Being Anti-Family

Cover Art
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J. K. Rowling
ISBN: 9780545010221
In 2001, a group of parents in Lewiston, Maine, staged an old-fashioned book burning to torch a series of books they claimed were promoting violence, witchcraft and devil worship. (The fire department intervened before the first match was struck, and the protest’s organizer settled for a pair of scissors with which to mutilate the books.) Though Harry Potter was still in his literary infancy, the boy wizard’s saga had already garnered its fair share of opponents; similar public displays of contempt occurred across the country. While J.K. Rowling has concluded the series, the books still prompt some unsettling displays of public emotion, although most now involve elaborate costumes and patient movie-ticket lines. --


Banned for Being Blasphemous

Cover Art
The Satanic Verses - Salman Rushdie
ISBN: 0670825379
This book sparked riots around the world for what some called a blasphemous treatment of the Islamic faith (throughout the book, Salman Rushdie refers to the Prophet Muhammad as Mahound, the medieval name for the devil). In 1989, five people died in riots in Pakistan and a stone-throwing mob injured 60 people in India. Although Rushdie issued an apology, Iranian spiritual leader Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini publicly condemned the Indian-British author to death, putting a $1 million bounty on his head (an Iranian assassin would get $3 million, Khomeini promised). While European nations recalled their diplomats from Tehran, some Muslim authors, like Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz, defended Rushdie and accused the Ayatullah of “intellectual terrorism.” Meanwhile, Venezuelan officials threatened anyone who owned or read the book with 15 months of prison. Japan fined anyone who sold the English-language edition, and a Japanese translator was subsequently stabbed to death for his involvement with the book. Two major U.S. booksellers — Waldenbooks and Barnes & Noble — removed the book from their shelves after receiving death threats. And while Rushdie’s publisher, Viking Penguin, denounced such “censorship by terrorism and intimidation,” threats of violence forced the company to temporarily close its New York City office to improve security. --


Banned for Being Too Scary

Cover Art
Maus: My Father Bleeds History - Art Spiegelman
ISBN: 0394747232
Art Spiegelman’s acclaimed graphic novel Maus focuses on a son’s quest to learn about his father’s history as a Polish Jew who survived the Holocaust. The graphic novel is split into two alternating stories: One story is set in the novel’s present, with Spiegelman interviewing his estranged father about his experiences, and the second story is Spiegelman’s interpretation of his father’s life as a graphic novel. Spiegelman famously depicts each race as a different animals: Jews are drawn as mice, Germans as cats, Poles as pigs — a narrative technique that purposely cannot sustain itself when there is a question about a character’s specific race. Maus was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in the Special Awards and Citations – Letters category in 1992, becoming the first graphic novel to receive a Pulitzer.

Despite its accolades and critical praise, Maus has been challenged for being “anti-ethnic” and “unsuitable for younger readers.”

In a 2012 article on ICv2, Nick Smith of the Pasadena Public Library in Pasadena, California, writes about a challenge to Maus:

"In the library world, books are challenged all the time, mostly for making someone uncomfortable with their own view of the world. In our library system, Maus was challenged over its portrayal of the Poles. The challenge was made by a Polish-American who is very proud of his heritage, and who had made other suggestions about adding books on Polish history, for our library’s collection, so it was not out of the blue. The thing is, Maus made him uncomfortable, so he didn’t want other people to read it. That is censorship, as opposed to parental guidance." -- Comic Book Legal Defense Fund


Banned for Being "Profane," "Vulgar" & "Anti-American"

Cover Art
Slaughterhouse-Five Or The Children's Crusade - Kurt Vonnegut
ISBN: 0385312083
Slaughterhouse-Five is one of the most-banned books of all-time. See the following news article for more information about the history of the banning and burning of Slaughterhouse-Five:


Which book would YOU ban?

Which of the following books would you ban from the EGSC library?


Banned for Explicit Language

Cover Art
The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger
ISBN: 0316769487
Within two weeks of its 1951 release, J.D. Salinger’s novel rocketed to No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list. Ever since, the book — which explores three days in the life of a troubled 16-year-old boy — has been a “favorite of censors since its publication,” according to the American Library Association. In 1960, school administrators at a high school in Tulsa, Okla., fired an English teacher for assigning the book to an 11th-grade class. While the teacher later won his appeal, the book remained off the required reading list. Another community in Columbus, Ohio, deemed the book “antiwhite” and formed a delegation to have it banned from local schools. One library banned it for violating codes on “excess vulgar language, sexual scenes, things concerning moral issues, excessive violence and anything dealing with the occult.” When asked about the bans, Salinger once said, “Some of my best friends are children. In fact, all my best friends are children. It’s almost unbearable for me to realize that my book will be kept on a shelf out of their reach.” In 1980, 25-year-old Mark David Chapman shot Beatles legend John Lennon in front of his Manhattan home and later gave the book to police as an explanation for why he did it. --


Banned for Being Anti-Christian

Cover Art
The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien
ISBN: 0345339738
Coming in at #40 on the American Library Association’s banned book list, surprisingly to many, is J.R.R Tolkien’s epic masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings. The...most popular, reason behind censorship attempts is that some find the story to be “irreligious.” This comes as a shock since Tolkien was a devout Catholic, and long-time friend of Christian fantasy author C.S. Lewis. He even wrote in a letter to Lewis that the creation of the LOTR was a “fundamentally religious and Christian work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.” This is reflected in several pages with quite noticeable Christian themes and subtexts. When Tolkien began creating the world of Middle-earth, he foresaw one that would reflect Christian views and incorporate basic elements of Christianity into the world of fiction. Nevertheless is has been repeatedly banned in Christian schools (and homes) as being anti-Christian, and generally anti-religious.

One of the most recent, and highly criticized, reports of banning the work occurred in Alamagordo, New Mexico in 2001. A local group claimed the books were satanic and promoting witchcraft, and consequently, set about burning a large cache of the books outside the Christ Community Church.--Banned Books Awareness Project


Banned for Insensitivity to Racial Issues and "Coarse Language"

Cover Art
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain; Thomas Cooley (Editor)
ISBN: 0393966402
In 1885, the Concord Public Library in Massachusetts banned the year-old book for its “coarse language” — critics deemed Mark Twain’s use of common vernacular (slang) as demeaning and damaging. A reviewer dubbed it “the veriest trash … more suited to the slums than to intelligent, respectable people.” Little Women author Louisa May Alcott lashed out publicly at Twain, saying, “If Mr. Clemens [Twain's original name] cannot think of something better to tell our pure-minded lads and lasses he had best stop writing for them.” (That the N word appears more than 200 times throughout the book did not initially cause much controversy.) In 1905, the Brooklyn Public Library in New York followed Concord’s lead, banishing the book from the building’s juvenile section with this explanation: “Huck not only itched but scratched, and that he said sweat when he should have said perspiration.” Twain enthusiastically fired back, and once said of his detractors: “Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.” Luckily for him, the book’s fans would eventually outnumber its critics. “It’s the best book we’ve had,” Ernest Hemingway proclaimed. “All American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.”

Despite Hemingway’s assurances, Huckleberry Finn remains one of the most challenged books in the U.S. In 1998, parents in Tempe, Ariz., sued the local high school over the book’s inclusion on a required reading list. The case went as far as a federal appeals court; the parents lost. --


Loading  Loading...