10 Banned Books Chosen By Readers Of BlogCatalog– part 1
This is the fourth year that I have observed Banned Books Week, and as always I received a bit of help from my friends over at Blog Catalog. Some of the suggestions my BC friends made were for favorites I have discussed in past years, but others were for banned books that I definitely have not previously written about. If none of the books featured here strike your fancy, Wikipedia has one of the best Banned Books Lists I have found.
Honestly, I was shocked when I learned that Where’s Waldo? has been targeted for censorship and is number 88 on an American Library Association list of most challenged books. It turns out that in the original version there was a naked woman in one drawing and a naked man in a tent in another. Anyone familiar with Waldo will realize of course that the naked figures in the huge sea of cartoon characters in which the reader attempts to “find Waldo” were neither obvious nor titillating. Nonetheless the publisher added a pair of white boxer shorts to the man in the tent and gave the woman a dress in later printings in response to the censorship threat.
Prior to its suggestion by The Independent Rage, I had not been aware that James and the Giant Peach has been frequently targeted for censorship due to the story’s occasionally macabre and potentially frightening content. I have to confess that I haven’t read this one before, but I have a copy on hand and will read it this week. I also have Storyteller, an authorized biography of Ronald Dahl by Donald Sturrock. It is hugely thick and I’m not sure if I will get around to reading it, but thought I would mention it for any Dahl fans who might be interested.
Anne Frank was a young Jewish girl who hid from the Nazis in a house in Amsterdam during World War II. While in hiding Anne kept a diary, which her father Otto retrieved and published after the war. (Anne died of typhus in a concentration camp. Her father was the only member of the family to survive the war years) Frank’s diary came to be regarded as one of the greatest books of the twentieth century. Currently, it is banned in Lebanon because it portrays Jews, Israel or Zionism favorably.
Vladimir Nabokov was a Russian-American multi-lingual novelist. His controversial 1955 novel Lolita was noted for its innovative style. The protagonist Humbert Humbert is obsessed with what he calls “nymphets” and embarks on an incestuous and pedophile relationship with his step-daughter, Dolores. Lolita has been banned in France as well as in the UK, Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa.
And finally today, with a tip of the hat to my friend Melinda for suggesting it, Brett Easton Ellis’ satirical novel American Psycho– a brilliant take on the 1980′s set in New York City has been banned in parts of Australia for its extreme violence and sexual situations.
Please visit again Thursday when I will be featuring five more banned books suggested by friends at BC. Are you reading a banned book this week? Please leave a comment and let me know what you are reading.