Posted tagged ‘banned books’

Book world gearing up for Sarah Palin’s memoir

November 3, 2009

Harper Collins has announced that Sarah Palin’s memoir, Going Rogue: An American Life (ghost-written with Lynn Vincent) will go on sale November 17, 2009.  The 400-page hardcover will release with an initial print run of a whopping 1.5 million copies, and the e-book will follow after Christmas.

Abruptly resigning from her political post as Governor of Alaska earlier this year, Sarah Palin has managed to stir up controversy over and over again, and readers will no doubt be curious to see what she has to say of her own experiences. According to her publisher, Jonathan Burnham, “It’s her words, her life, and it’s all there in full and fascinating detail.”

As with most political figures, Palin has her supporters as well as critics. Late last year, ABC news revealed that back home in Alaska, Palin (then Mayor of Wasillia) had fired a librarian for refusing to ban certain books in the local library, after her church had been lobbying for the book Pastor, I Am Gay to be removed. That, along with numerous strongly conservative views that Palin has tried to implement politially has garnered much publicity.

Palin’s conservative leanings are also reflected in her literary influences.  In one interview, she revealed that her top favourite writers are C.S. Lewis (along with his Narnia tales, readers will remember that he was a staunch supporter of religion, liberally incorporating it into his work), as well as Dr. George Sheehan, a one-time columnist for Runner’s World, who had published several works on athletics and battling cancer.

Palin will be appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show on November 16th to discuss her book.  Incidentally, it will also mark the first time that Palin publicly talks about her book and appears on Oprah.

What are your thoughts on Sarah Palin, and how do you think her new book will be received?

Philip Pullman, Khaled Hosseini top ALA’s most frequently challenged banned books list

October 2, 2009

I was quite surprised this week to see so much classic literature topping the ALA’s most frequently challenged list for 2009. To clarify, this is a list of books that are challenged by individuals in the community. They have to submit a “challenge form” stating their reasons, to a school or public library.

First off, here’s the list:

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
    Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
  2. His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman
    Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence
  3. TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  4. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
    Reasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence
  5. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, and violence
  6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group
  7. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  8. Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, by Sarah S. Brannen
    Reasons: homosexuality and unsuited to age group
  9. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  10. Flashcards of My Life, by Charise Mericle Harper
    Reasons: sexually explicit and unsuited to age group

Now, I want to know: should these books actually be *allowed* to be challenged? Doesn’t that basically just amount to censorship, pure and simple? If parents are truly concerned about their children reading non-appropriate material for their age group (which is a valid concern of course!), perhaps books should be getting ratings, the same way movies do. At least to borrow from a public library would set age restrictions on younger patrons. What do you think? Would you also challenge any of these books? Find out more about other banned books over the years on Infloox.