J. Robert Godbout

J. Robert Godbout
Windham, Connecticut, USA
April 08
Freelance writer, classical musician, professional daydreamer. Lost in my own mind, care to join me?

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Editor’s Pick
JULY 23, 2009 8:14PM

Weekly 10: Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books Of 2008

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The written word in all its beauty, power, and sacredness is not always as free as it should be. We, as Americans, are unique because of the Constitutional guarantee afforded us that speech is free.  However every year books are challenged and banned from all over the country for various reasons.

The American Library Association's (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom keeps a database of books challenged and/or banned from across the US. For the year of 2008 (the latest data available) the ALA received 513 documented challenges. What is surprising, even scary, is that according to their own research, for every reported book challenged there are as many as 5 challenged books that go unreported in the US.

In this week's Weekly 10 I bring you the top 10 of these books. For more information on challenged books, or on the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom, please visit their website at: http://www.ala.org.


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


So for all us nerds that want to be bad, let's grab our library cards and read some banned books!

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I'm sure already head about it, but Amazon has the right to zap the e-books you downloaded for Kindle without warning. Ironically, they zapped Orwell's "1984".
Yeah, and I believe they are having all kinds of copyright issues (spoken word if memory serves me) that seems to be slowing the ubiquity of the device.
I don't own one myself but would be interested in trying the product.
Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen." ("Where they burn books, they will, in the end, burn human beings too.").
Heinrich Heine
I see that four of the books included the offense of "religious viewpoint." Better yank that damn A Christmas Carol off the shelves.
Thanks for this reminder! I purposefully buy banned and challenged books for my 11 year old daughter since they tend to be more intellectually stimulating. In my opinion a truly good book challenges one to reconsider preconceived notions.
@Brenda - Now that is a cool mom! I agree and think the beauty of free press/speech is that it allows people to think for themselves.
Thanks for bringing us this list.

(Just a note on the Kindle mess, Bezos issued a pretty frank apology today for the "1984" mess.)