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Banned Books: The World's Most Controversial Books, Past and Present

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Discover the stories behind the most shocking and infamous books ever published. Censorship of one form or another has existed almost as long as the written word, while definitions of what is "acceptable" in published works have shifted over the centuries, and from culture to culture. Banned Books explores why some of the world's most important literary classics and semi Discover the stories behind the most shocking and infamous books ever published. Censorship of one form or another has existed almost as long as the written word, while definitions of what is "acceptable" in published works have shifted over the centuries, and from culture to culture. Banned Books explores why some of the world's most important literary classics and seminal non-fiction titles were once deemed too controversial for the public to read--whether for challenging racial or sexual norms, satirizing public figures, or simply being deemed unfit for young readers. From the banning of All Quiet on the Western Front and the repeated suppression of On the Origin of Species, to the uproar provoked by Lady Chatterley's Lover, entries offer a fascinating chronological account of censorship, and the astonishing role that some banned books have played in changing history. Packed with eye-opening insights into the history of the written word, and the political and social climate during the period of suppression or censorship, this is a must-read for anyone interested in literature, creative writing, politics, history, or law.


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Discover the stories behind the most shocking and infamous books ever published. Censorship of one form or another has existed almost as long as the written word, while definitions of what is "acceptable" in published works have shifted over the centuries, and from culture to culture. Banned Books explores why some of the world's most important literary classics and semi Discover the stories behind the most shocking and infamous books ever published. Censorship of one form or another has existed almost as long as the written word, while definitions of what is "acceptable" in published works have shifted over the centuries, and from culture to culture. Banned Books explores why some of the world's most important literary classics and seminal non-fiction titles were once deemed too controversial for the public to read--whether for challenging racial or sexual norms, satirizing public figures, or simply being deemed unfit for young readers. From the banning of All Quiet on the Western Front and the repeated suppression of On the Origin of Species, to the uproar provoked by Lady Chatterley's Lover, entries offer a fascinating chronological account of censorship, and the astonishing role that some banned books have played in changing history. Packed with eye-opening insights into the history of the written word, and the political and social climate during the period of suppression or censorship, this is a must-read for anyone interested in literature, creative writing, politics, history, or law.

30 review for Banned Books: The World's Most Controversial Books, Past and Present

  1. 5 out of 5

    s.penkevich

    Buckle up, I’m going on a rant! This week (Sept 18 - 24, 2022) is the American Library Association's annual awareness week about censorship in the United States and a reminder to protect intellectual freedom. It seems all the more dire this year with the ALA reporting that in 2021 there were 791 challenges against 1,597 books, which was almost four times higher than ever seen since they began tracking book challenges in 2000 (273 in 2020 and 377 in 2019 for comparison). Even more alarming is tha Buckle up, I’m going on a rant! This week (Sept 18 - 24, 2022) is the American Library Association's annual awareness week about censorship in the United States and a reminder to protect intellectual freedom. It seems all the more dire this year with the ALA reporting that in 2021 there were 791 challenges against 1,597 books, which was almost four times higher than ever seen since they began tracking book challenges in 2000 (273 in 2020 and 377 in 2019 for comparison). Even more alarming is that in just the first half of 2022 there already have been 681 attempts to ban 1,651 different titles in public or school libraries. I think this is an important topic to pay attention to (remember, 82-97% of challanges go unreported) and have been following different challenges across the country for over a year, plus as a bookseller, library employee and just general lover of books, this is a topic that very much concerns and involves me. For the sake of this piece I am only going to be discussing challenges/bannings that occur in the United States, though this is an issue worldwide I would be happy to discuss at any time, and I would also just like to dive into the issue because I feel that the general understanding of it or reporting on it is stilted and often unhelpful. For starters, I feel the term Banned Books Week is problematic framing whereas Freedom to Read Week is more productive and a better rallying cry to defend intellectual freedoms. Otherwise it leads into a rather romanticized look at it which often becomes rather unhelpful and self-serving. On that note the frquent use of prison imagery—such as books “locked up” for displays—is unhelpful unless it is being used to call attention to the fact that prisons have the largest book bans in the United States, something that goes rather under the radar. So let’s take a look at what is happening, why it is happening and, most importantly, what can you do about it. First, for sake of clarity, when we talk about a book being challenged, this means that there is an attempt to remove or restrict access to a book. 70% of all challenges involve multiple books. If a book is banned, this means a removal of the material from the shelf. It doesn’t often occur, and in a public library setting you can usually still have access to these books through interlibrary loan, the thing I do all day at work. Now, in the present the overwhelming majority of titles facing challenges are works that center people of color or LGBTQ+ voices. You’ll frequently see social media lists that focus on historically banned books like 1984 or Ulysses, but in the present it is very much targeting queer or Black voices. Here is the list of the 10 most banned or challenged books from 2021: 1. Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe 2. Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison 3. All Boys Aren't Blue by George M. Johnson 4. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez 5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 6. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie 7. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jessie Andres 8. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison 9. This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson 10. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin This makes for a pretty great reading list, honestly. Which is a great thing to do, especially if you request them through your local library to give them circulation numbers that can be used when defending not removing. On the topic of that, the ALA states that only a librarian can remove a book, so the legislations that have been popping up trying to allow city officials to review and remove books is a gross misunderstanding of how collection development works, and in the case of one Texas city, officials were sued for doing so and admitted in court it was entirely for political reasons. Having a book in a library or as part of a school curriculum legitimizes a book, and much of what these challenges are doing is trying to delegitimize a book even contrary to collection development policies that assess a need for a book within their community (taking into account ILL access in library collectives) and efforts for a balanced collection. It is all about access, which we’ll get into shortly. Let's look at some of the data released in PEN America's recent report on book bans in school or public libraries from July 2021 to June 2022. 41% of banned titles have LGBTQ+ themes or characters, and 40% because they contain a prominent character of color with 20% of the titles being books that deal with issues of racism. 21% have what is deemed to be sexual content. Of the books that have been banned, 75% are fiction titles with 49% being YA and 19% picture books. And below is the prevalence of bans by state: Book banning has made a lot of headlines recently, such as a Tennessee school board banning the holocaust graphic novel The Complete Maus, pastor Greg Locke holding a literal book burning in Tennessee, the Proud Boys protesting books at a Chicago board meeting and threatening students with violence, or the library right next door to me facing doxxing of employees and threats that led to the library losing a milage vote and fearing closure due to a small group claiming having queer books was grooming children (this occured even after the books were placed in restricted access). Book banning is not a popular stance, with 71% of voters opposing it from public libraries and 67% in school libraries, yet it keeps happening. Furthermore less than 1% of all challenges are initiated by students, the people most affected by the bans. So who are initiating these challenges? They are small but very vocal groups across the US with connection to right wing politics and political funding such as the public-institution group Mom’s for Liberty or the conservative advocacy organization No Left Turn. Both groups frequently post lists and ask people to take them to schools and libraries to demand their removal, often leading to awkward situations where the books were never on the shelf to begin with or the challenger quickly revealing that they cannot cite specifics about why the book should be removed (no challenge will or should ever be taken seriously if you haven’t actually read the book). Of the 50 groups PEN America tracked banning books, 73% were created within the past year and exist almost entirely on social media. Right wing organizations have released toolkits for how to challenge books, including The Federalist that once posted an article urging people to ban books but got nearly every detail about library activity, collection development and Banned Book Week hilariously wrong. Many of these groups are well connected with donors, notably those connected with anti-public school groups like orgs tied to Betsy Devos. Most often the banning is a wedge issue that has a larger aim against public institutions and have discovered that these sort of challenges get them a lot of attention. Which is tricky, because we should raise awareness but not feed them the attention and the way we talk about things and the use of responsible rhetoric is key as well as promoting informational and digital literacy. Which leads to the biggest thing here: the books themselves are mostly props in a larger goal to try and shake confidence in public institutions and defund public libraries and schools. Lets look at a lot of the claims around these challenges, because they don’t hold up under any scrutiny. First is the claim that book challenges are to protect kids. However, it is a specific type of voices (PoC and Queer) that are being targeted and if Othering, silencing and removing access to books about/for one type of kid is how you “protect” another, than you are claiming only certain type of kids deserve protection. Similarly with the whole “not with my taxes” argument, as Queer, Trans and PoC also pay taxes into public institutions and deserve to be represented as well. The biggest tell is that these book removals are targeting libraries and for the most part have left bookstore and publishers alone, and if they truly thought these books were evil they would be at least pretending to stop them at the source. These challenges are and should always be referred to as anti-public education efforts and a coordinated attack on queer children. Which is the saddest thing, because many of the books that are being targeted are ones I wished existed when I was a teenager. These are people who already are struggling with sense of self and feeling Othered in a very cis, hetero pandering world and books like these can be a lifeline. It is also a reminder that their voice matters too, so silencing voices like these feels like a personal attack saying everyone gets a voice except you. Furthermore, the claim that queer books are grooming children is absurd and inappropriate as well as intentionally missing the point on how sexuality works. Nobody reads these books and decides to be queer, that’s just not how anything works. Sure, I’ve found power in books like this that helped me come to terms with myself, but those thoughts already existed and giving them a chance to be considered was a great thing, and everyone deserves that. Everyone deserves to feel seen and find access to their communities. Access is key. When removing a book you are restricting access. The irony that people saying they don’t want their taxes going to a book on the shelf is that they already did and removing it is costing more and also now whenever someone wants a copy of that book they are pushing the work off onto another library to retrieve it and send it, while still having their local library perform the labor of placing it on a hold shelf. While well-intentioned people come up with ideas of donating books or making banned books little libraries, this is actually not that helpful. The point is unrestricted access for ALL, not just those in your neighborhood, and collection development teams are already overworked trying to get books on the shelves. Donated books rarely make it to the shelf anyways. If you want to help, take the money you would have used buying a stack of banned books to donate and send it to groups fighting against book challenges such as PEN America or Bookstoprisoners.net that help get books to those in the most restricted places: prisons. But returning to access, part of the larger goal of dissolving public institutions is to replace them with similar privatized version that can and certainly will restrict access at will, picking and choosing who gets education, books they want, etc. and almost certainly spending a lot of effort on gatekeeping. A cursory glance at history will tell you all you need to know about who gets in and who doesn’t. Moms for Liberty, who is also partnering with Ron DeSantis and Betsy DeVos to place members on school boards in Florida, recently said book bans aren’t bad because you can still buy the book. The logic is that information access should have price barriers and not be available to the public at will. What else can you do? Well, a lot. First, pay attention to local elections and vote for people who don’t have a goal to defund public libraries or schools. Show up to board meetings and defend intellectual freedom, these are rarely well attended and just a small vocal minority can do a lot of damage when unopposed. Write to your local paper about the importance of intellectual freedom. Most importantly, use and support your local library. Request queer books to show there is a need in the community or donate time and money to help. Review and recommend banned books on social media, like this very website here. Books are for everyone, and a small group of people should not be removing access to books from people who need them. If you don’t like a book, don’t check it out, but don’t stop others from doing so. Thank you for your time.

  2. 4 out of 5

    La Crosse County Library

    See also: Fantastic resources from the American Library Association (ALA) related to book banning, censorship, and intellectual freedom I think I was drawn to this book because of just all the news lately about worrying trends in book bans nationwide. (Although, this is an issue worldwide as well!) I was sad to see a story in the headlines recently about a small-town library in Michigan having to close because fiscal year funding for its operation was voted down. This got me thinking about books See also: Fantastic resources from the American Library Association (ALA) related to book banning, censorship, and intellectual freedom I think I was drawn to this book because of just all the news lately about worrying trends in book bans nationwide. (Although, this is an issue worldwide as well!) I was sad to see a story in the headlines recently about a small-town library in Michigan having to close because fiscal year funding for its operation was voted down. This got me thinking about books even more than usual, about what censorship and restricting access can to do a community. On a personal note, as a child, libraries were always my sanctuary, wherever I went. I can't imagine not having had libraries growing up. Banned Books: The World’s Most Controversial Books, Past and Present is an accessible, illustrated handbook to books that have been banned for one reason or another from classical fiction to contemporary fiction and nonfiction. Divided into different historical eras, each book features an image of its cover and an explanation as to why the book was banned or contested in its time. Its central message, encapsulated in the introduction, is that censorship tends to do more harm than good. Part of learning is critical thinking, in which one considers all the views on a subject and comes to an informed position. This is hard to do when books are banned or restricted. Not to mention, an informed electorate is crucial for any democratic system of government! My experience of working in a library and seeing diverse groups of people come through on any given day is that books are critical not only for the accumulation of knowledge (you know, occupational or school learning, or just for curiosity), but for seeing each other (that is, people of other backgrounds/experiences) and seeing yourself. I think this is especially true for marginalized groups, such as women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals. Content geared for these groups are seeming to come under increased scrutiny, for ideological, political, or religious reasons. The problem is if people don’t see books representing their lived experience on the shelves or in a digital resource collection, that just helps to further marginalize and Other them. (Okay, I’ll step down from my soapbox now.) While I wished that some of the history was fleshed out a bit more, Banned Books not only gives an important primer on the history of banning books and censorship, but a new reading list for its readers! It’s a great, quick read for a general audience. Happy reading! -Cora Find this book and other titles within our catalog. See also: Fantastic resources from the American Library Association (ALA) related to book banning, censorship, and intellectual freedom

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    Quick read. Basically an overview of why certain books were banned. What was found to be objectionable..etc. Also touched on some of the background of the authors.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Carr

    Can't really rate this one. Just the perfect resource when looking for the jist of the most banned and challenged books. I did like the added content to each passage that references the most recent challenge sightings and why. The perfect book for cramming for Banned Books Week Trivia Night. May listen to it a few more times leading up to the competition 😆. Can't really rate this one. Just the perfect resource when looking for the jist of the most banned and challenged books. I did like the added content to each passage that references the most recent challenge sightings and why. The perfect book for cramming for Banned Books Week Trivia Night. May listen to it a few more times leading up to the competition 😆.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Meow558

    Banned Books was a pretty good read. It was a very basic overview of several banned books, throughout several eras. I think this was very informative and interesting, it wasn't biased. I wish it had gone more in depth, or had a greater selection of books, but what is there is good. It includes several books about racism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, religion, and other topics. I would recommend this book to people who want suggestions on more taboo books (or formerly taboo) and who are mere Banned Books was a pretty good read. It was a very basic overview of several banned books, throughout several eras. I think this was very informative and interesting, it wasn't biased. I wish it had gone more in depth, or had a greater selection of books, but what is there is good. It includes several books about racism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, religion, and other topics. I would recommend this book to people who want suggestions on more taboo books (or formerly taboo) and who are merely interested in what is considered bad enough to banned. Thank you to DK Publishing for this ARC on NetGalley.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    From The Decameron to 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows, the editors have collected titles of the books that have managed to be controversial and challenged over the centuries. Early books were listed on the Vatican's Index Libroum Prohibitorum or List of Prohibited Books. Each book is listed with the author and publication date (era) which includes those published/challenged into 2021. A brief summary of why it was condemned as well as the where/when it was challenged and results of the challenges. From The Decameron to 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows, the editors have collected titles of the books that have managed to be controversial and challenged over the centuries. Early books were listed on the Vatican's Index Libroum Prohibitorum or List of Prohibited Books. Each book is listed with the author and publication date (era) which includes those published/challenged into 2021. A brief summary of why it was condemned as well as the where/when it was challenged and results of the challenges. Reasons can range from 'inappropriate' portrayals of religious figures and themes to the frailty of human nature. Racial and gender portrayals - both positive and negative. Homoerotic relations. Death and euthanasia. Murder, violence and/or rape. Drug addiction. Parents feeling that the subject matter is too adult, too 'degenerate', too morally questionable. Some I've read over the years. Some I've only heard of and will likely eventually, get around to reading. Some I will never read - due to content or possible personal impact. And many, I have never considered as having a reason to ban - - maybe I'm too open-minded?? Then there are the ones I've never heard of - like Emile Zola's The Earth; Kate Chopin's The Awakening; Final Exit by Derek Humphrey - among others. Certainly, reading a book is a personal choice but before someone signs a petition to challenge the inclusion of any book - be it a public library or for a school assignment - I personally feel they should at least, read the book themselves in order to express their reasoning from a stance of actual knowledge rather than rumor and innuendo. 2022-198

  7. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Chadsey

    Truly a list of well-known books and the history of literary censorship.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    A brief history of banned books, mostly focuses on banned books in the Western literary canon, would have been nice to see a wider variety besides the usual suspects.

  9. 5 out of 5

    joyce w. laudon

    Do you think that books should be banned? Who should decide? Or…should readers themselves decide what they want to read? These questions have recently come to the forefront once again. This book is fascinating. A perusal of its contents shows that book banning has been going on for centuries. It also informs the reader that books once banned are not banned for evermore. For example, the first section of the book includes The Canterbury Tales, a title that is now often studied in schools and univer Do you think that books should be banned? Who should decide? Or…should readers themselves decide what they want to read? These questions have recently come to the forefront once again. This book is fascinating. A perusal of its contents shows that book banning has been going on for centuries. It also informs the reader that books once banned are not banned for evermore. For example, the first section of the book includes The Canterbury Tales, a title that is now often studied in schools and universities. Other examples of previously banned books include Frankenstein, Madame Bovary, Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird and in the 21st century, The Kite Runner and The Hate U Give. These are just a few of the many books included in this title. The book begins with a short introduction. The perspective offered is that censorship is generally counterproductive and often controversial. Following this section each title is described and its history and reasons for censorship given. Browsing through this book will be interesting as readers look at books that they have either read or not picked up. In the end, I think that it invites its readers to think and care about this important issue. Many thanks to NetGalley and DK for this title. All opinions are my own.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ashe

    Banned Books: The World's Most Controversial Books, Past and Present, from DK Publishing, is an excellent overview of well-known books that have been, and in some cases still are, banned or censored in some places. I think a lot of readers will know the bulk of these books, but it is really cool to get a brief synopsis of each book, and why it was banned. I also really enjoyed the way that it was organized. We got our pre-1900's all the way to the 21st century. This is a nice-looking volume and I Banned Books: The World's Most Controversial Books, Past and Present, from DK Publishing, is an excellent overview of well-known books that have been, and in some cases still are, banned or censored in some places. I think a lot of readers will know the bulk of these books, but it is really cool to get a brief synopsis of each book, and why it was banned. I also really enjoyed the way that it was organized. We got our pre-1900's all the way to the 21st century. This is a nice-looking volume and I feel like it would make a wonderful coffee table book. I can't wait to get a physical copy. It can also be a good resource for younger folks when talking about censorship. It's very visual, and I loved all of the colors and photos that are littered throughout. so much fun. and it's made me driven to read some of the ones I haven't read yet!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cris

    I’m not sure how to rate this yet. I thought it was going to be a novel about banned books instead it’s a list of banned books. They discuss very briefly why the book was banned. Sadly, I see our society banning more and more books because it doesn’t meet their agenda. In my opinion, it’s ok if books don’t meet everyone’s expectations. It’s even better if the book makes you stop and think. Any book that allows you to start conversation is a good book. So I guess I will give this one 3 stars.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Traci

    Interesting look at several works that have been banned over the decades. I knew most of the titles that have been challenged here in the U.S. but was quite surprised at the ones from other countries. Not the reasons they were challenged, mind you, as those seem to be universal. Which is sad...we seem to be threatened by the mere existence of the same thing over and over and over.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dallas Reads

    I love books like this. Extremely informative, but also to the point. There aren’t pages upon pages of information overload regarding each entry, but rather just a handful of paragraphs. This makes the book a quick and easy read, but also enjoyable. I learned a lot, and also found quite a few books to add to my TBR. 4.75/5.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Haas

    I don’t really have a rating for this book just because it’s hard to rate. It’s a perfect and succinct look into all of the most banned books in existence from the past through to modern day. It doesn’t leave anything to the imagination and includes author responses to censorships when possible. A great respource if you are interested in the history and present of censorship.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jen-Jen

    4.5 stars

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kate Rock

    When I first looked at this book, seeing DK and illustrations inside, I assumed it would be a children's book, introducing the concept of banned books at an elementary school level. Not only was I wrong, but I was also pleasantly surprised with the contents. This books explores banned books from numerous countries in 6 distinct time periods. The books profiled are given a summary, an overview of the content that caused it to be banned - some including historical context as well -, along with whe When I first looked at this book, seeing DK and illustrations inside, I assumed it would be a children's book, introducing the concept of banned books at an elementary school level. Not only was I wrong, but I was also pleasantly surprised with the contents. This books explores banned books from numerous countries in 6 distinct time periods. The books profiled are given a summary, an overview of the content that caused it to be banned - some including historical context as well -, along with when the respective bans were put into place and if they have since ended or continue to be challenged. One of the things I most appreciated about this book was the inclusion of books from other countries. While I knew about quite a few of the banned books from the United States that were discussed, I knew of very few international banned books and enjoyed learning more. This book presented the information in a non-biased and engaging way, for people to learn and understand more about the books profiled. For myself, I have been introduced to at least a handful of books I am now interested in reading. 'Read whatever they're trying to keep out of your eyes and your brain because that's exactly what you need to know.' - Levar Burton I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to DK and Netgalley for the advanced review copy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Michelle

    This book was very good, but very, very, disheartening. To see all the books that have been [and continue to be] banned is upsetting and frustrating. I have never understood why books get banned. IF you don't like a book or the idea of a book, THEN DO NOT READ IT. It is not rocket science. Sigh. I grew up in a home where I was allowed to read whatever I wanted. I was never, ever censored [though there are books I read more or less in "secret" because I was fairly sure that if I was found out, my This book was very good, but very, very, disheartening. To see all the books that have been [and continue to be] banned is upsetting and frustrating. I have never understood why books get banned. IF you don't like a book or the idea of a book, THEN DO NOT READ IT. It is not rocket science. Sigh. I grew up in a home where I was allowed to read whatever I wanted. I was never, ever censored [though there are books I read more or less in "secret" because I was fairly sure that if I was found out, my mother would not have approved and would take the book away from me. I am not sure why I thought that because she never, ever did that] and my mother encouraged the library visits I made and the heaps of books I dragged home every 4 - 5 days [if only because it kept me quiet - I was, and still am, rather inquisitive]. Maybe that is why I am so frustrated by people who short-change their children by trying to think for them and to force their ideas and ideologies on them. Of the 87 books on this list, I have read [and mostly liked, though there are a few that I absolutely did not like and that is totally okay] 28** of them. I have 15 of them on my TBR list. I will be getting to them sooner rather than later. As should everyone who has ANY of them on their reading lists. IF you want to know more about banned book and why they were/are banned then this book is for you. IF you know about banned books and want to introduce others to the knowledge about them, then this is the book for you. If you just need reminded how hard we all need to fight against this nonsense and how difficult it will be, then this is ABSOLUTELY the book for you. I highly recommend this book to everyone and anyone. Thank you to NetGalley, and DK Publishing and all who worked on this book for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. ** The Banned Books I Have Read The Canterbury Tales Grimm's Fairy Tales Frankenstein The History of Mary Prince The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn The Awakening Lady Chatterley's Lover Brave New World Their Eyes Were Watching God The Grapes of Wrath The Diary of a Young Girl The Catcher in the Rye Fahrenheit 451 The Lord of the Flies Things Fall Apart To Kill a Mockingbird In Cold Blood 1984 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Are You There God, It's Me Margaret The Color Purple The House of the Spirits The House on Mango Street The Handmaid's Tale The Alchemist The Harry Potter Series [7] The Complete Persepolis The Kite Runner

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ella

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is (the way I see it) a book in a series of little books with the highlights of information on several different topics. Making it an easy read and easy access for anyone who would like to know the basics of several things like banned books or great loves,... The problem with this book is that it made my "to be read" list a whole lot longer... It did surprise me though that there are or where a lot of children's books (like Philip Pullman's "His dark materials", J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" This is (the way I see it) a book in a series of little books with the highlights of information on several different topics. Making it an easy read and easy access for anyone who would like to know the basics of several things like banned books or great loves,... The problem with this book is that it made my "to be read" list a whole lot longer... It did surprise me though that there are or where a lot of children's books (like Philip Pullman's "His dark materials", J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" or Angie Thomas's "The hate you give") on the list of banned books. "The words themselves are clean, so are the things to wich they apply, but the mind drags in a filthy association. Well, then, cleanse the mind, that is the real job." - D.H. Lawrence I do understand that some books where/are band although I must say that banning a book is never the solution, by doing so it only makes it more attractive. Instead of banning a book I understand the restriction of one. Make certain books unavailable for children or young minds or underdeveloped emotional minds. Some of the books talk about very sensitive subjects and are not suitable for evey stomach others are just an interpretation of one individual and I don't think that we as human beings have the right to tell another how they are supposed to feel/think or see the world. Most books are/where banned because they "hurt" anothers view of life/love/beliefs wich is just ridiculous. Others are/where banned because some of us where or still are very closed minded. "If you start reading a book and you don't like it you always have the option of shutting it. At this point it loses its capacity to offend you." - Salman Rushdie Books are portals to other worlds. Some tell about history or magic others about religion or love, some stories really happend or are a way to tell ones own truth others are just fantasy. They are a way to escape the horrors in ones life, to bring joy and tears. They should never be banned. But that is just my opinion.

  19. 4 out of 5

    J Earl

    Banned Books: The World's Mos Controversial Books, Past and Present, from DK Publishing, is an excellent overview of well-known books that have been, and in some cases still are, banned or censored in some places. Most readers will be familiar with all of these books even if you weren't aware of each one's history. Most, in fact, are frequently part of course study in literature. Each is given a short entry explaining very basically what the book is about and why it was banned (which is heavily d Banned Books: The World's Mos Controversial Books, Past and Present, from DK Publishing, is an excellent overview of well-known books that have been, and in some cases still are, banned or censored in some places. Most readers will be familiar with all of these books even if you weren't aware of each one's history. Most, in fact, are frequently part of course study in literature. Each is given a short entry explaining very basically what the book is about and why it was banned (which is heavily dependent also on when and where). Certainly there could have been more detail on each book, but for the purpose of this book the entries are just about right. Very much more detail and the book becomes unwieldy. Eighty seven books (the Harry Potter series counts as one here) with the details about each would quickly require either fewer books or an encyclopedia size book. Either option would defeat the purpose, which is to shed some light on the number of books that we know and love today that at one time was the target of narrow-minded authorities, whether secular or religious. This is a nice-looking volume that can serve as a nice introduction when talking to young people about whether censorship is the better option to open debate, or what it says about those wanting to ban books that rather than confront the ideas they want to hide them away. Guess when you know your argument is not valid you seek to control others through other means. I would recommend this for everyone from a curious teen to someone who just likes to have a handy reference on some of the more popular banned books from the past (and backwoods parts of the present). Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Beyond the Pages with Eva Kim

    Quick Summary: Very informative and outlined well; introductory level resource My Review: My first impression of Banned Books: The World's Most Controversial Books, Past and Present by D.K. Publishing was one of curiosity. I was intrigued by the title, and I wondered what books would be presented. I also wondered how the featured works would be portrayed. The publisher did a great job with outlining the book's content. I appreciated how each period was labeled. Additionally, I really liked how th Quick Summary: Very informative and outlined well; introductory level resource My Review: My first impression of Banned Books: The World's Most Controversial Books, Past and Present by D.K. Publishing was one of curiosity. I was intrigued by the title, and I wondered what books would be presented. I also wondered how the featured works would be portrayed. The publisher did a great job with outlining the book's content. I appreciated how each period was labeled. Additionally, I really liked how the societal attitudes, temporal nuances, and audience responses and/or receptiveness were noted. The layout and soft illustrations were effective and did not detract from the informative content. They were appropriate and invited the reader to further engage with the material. The one negative critique I have relates to the book's cover. I did not find it to be visually appealing. Although I understood the approach, I felt that it was too plain. It seemed to be out of sync with what was inside the book. I feel it may deter some readers. My Final Say: As banned books have now, and it seems have always been considered to be a controversial topic, I believe that this book will be of interest to many. It is easy to follow and could, undoubtedly, be used as a classroom resource for upper middle to high school ages and up. * I would love for this book to be the first in a series featuring banned books. It was a fantastic idea! Rating: 4.5/5 Recommend: Yes Audience: Upper Middle/High School to Adult Keeper: Yes Re-read: Yes Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley, who provided a digital ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review. The words I have expressed are my own and were not influenced by the aforementioned in any way.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Banned Books is the ultimate reference guide to challenged books throughout history. Broken down by time, such as pre-1900, dating back as far as 1370s, to modern day 2021, each chapter reveals titles that have caused controversy. It reveals backstories of the authors, explains what the books (or articles) are about, and where/why they are banned. Readers will learn about the Index of Prohibited Books, as well as the many laws protecting and punishing Freedom of Speech. Some of these authors hav Banned Books is the ultimate reference guide to challenged books throughout history. Broken down by time, such as pre-1900, dating back as far as 1370s, to modern day 2021, each chapter reveals titles that have caused controversy. It reveals backstories of the authors, explains what the books (or articles) are about, and where/why they are banned. Readers will learn about the Index of Prohibited Books, as well as the many laws protecting and punishing Freedom of Speech. Some of these authors have mysteriously disappeared, one who had passed had his body dug up, burned, and tossed in a river. It talks about the punished people that read the books and tried to sell/share these titles. Some books/authors are easily recognized, from Chaucer to Darwin, from Lee to Malcolm X. Some however will be new to readers, for instance, I had never heard of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz or Etheridge Knight. There are pictures of books and authors, as well as quotes from the titles or those criticizing the work. I look forward to using this book as a reading challenge and see how many I can find in print. This book can easily be devoured in one-sitting, or cherished overtime. It belongs on every bookcase in homes, schools, libraries, and bookstores. Notes: I signed up to honestly review an egalley from DK Publishing, through Netgalley. This review was originally published on the Ariesgrl Book Reviews website.

  22. 5 out of 5

    J. d'Merricksson

    Banned Books looks at controversial classics and modern books alike. This little tome is more important than ever, what with all the crazy conservatives trying to ban all manner of literature from schools. From classics like The Great Gatsby to modern authors like Phillip Pullman and JK Rowling, banning books isn't a new thing. Some did surprise me, as did the reasoning behind some books. Some reasons seem silly to me today (Catcher in the Rye… *uugghhh*). Others I may choose not to teach, but c Banned Books looks at controversial classics and modern books alike. This little tome is more important than ever, what with all the crazy conservatives trying to ban all manner of literature from schools. From classics like The Great Gatsby to modern authors like Phillip Pullman and JK Rowling, banning books isn't a new thing. Some did surprise me, as did the reasoning behind some books. Some reasons seem silly to me today (Catcher in the Rye… *uugghhh*). Others I may choose not to teach, but certainly wouldn't strive for banning, or making a big deal about someone choosing to read for pleasure, even if I wouldn't. The Harry Potter books have sadly fallen into this category for me due to the author's stances on certain things. Books for high school age kids really shouldn't be banned for reasons such as *gasp* LGBTQ+ representation, or mild sexual situations. Or even more extreme if it's necessary to the story (The Kite Runner). This aren't young kids. They know about sex. And banning books with positive depictions of LGBTQ+ characters denigrates and dismisses an entire subset of the population. ****Many thanks to Netgalley and DK for providing an egalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Banned Books describes some of the most commonly banned books from the 1370s to today. Each page includes a short description of the book, along with where it was banned and the main reasons it was banned. As we continue to deal with school districts, states, and countries banning books today, this is an important read. Short references like this will hopefully help us to become more familiar with the books that come up for banning most often, leading us to understand them better and make good c Banned Books describes some of the most commonly banned books from the 1370s to today. Each page includes a short description of the book, along with where it was banned and the main reasons it was banned. As we continue to deal with school districts, states, and countries banning books today, this is an important read. Short references like this will hopefully help us to become more familiar with the books that come up for banning most often, leading us to understand them better and make good choices. This book is a short read and does give some good insight into what books were banned most often and why. It also gave me some ideas for books I need to read in the near future! Since Banned Books isn’t a narrative, it tends to read more like a reference book, although its short length makes it easy to complete. While it was obvious that the authors were presenting this as a list of the most commonly banned books and trying not to add any commentary of their own, I think the book would have benefited from some commentary—or at least a conclusion at the end, as it ends rather abruptly. I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mariama Thorlu-Bangura

    This was a very interesting book to read. Although I'm sure this is just a drop in the bucket regarding how many books have been banned within the past 1000 years. One thing I noticed about all the books covered: the same general reasons were given for their being censored - obscenity, vulgarity; sexual content; racial issues. It boggles the mind that people would prefer we hide from issues such as sexual abuse (rape; molestation), racial injustice, physical abuse, and homophobia, but for many o This was a very interesting book to read. Although I'm sure this is just a drop in the bucket regarding how many books have been banned within the past 1000 years. One thing I noticed about all the books covered: the same general reasons were given for their being censored - obscenity, vulgarity; sexual content; racial issues. It boggles the mind that people would prefer we hide from issues such as sexual abuse (rape; molestation), racial injustice, physical abuse, and homophobia, but for many of the authors of the books covered, that is what those who objected to their work wanted. Sadly, these types of foolish attitudes still exist, and will sadly continue to exist because of pure fear of anything different from the 'status quo'. This book is vital for people to read, as it will probably lead those who read it to read the books covered, thus expanding their intellectual horizons. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Banned Books, and recommend those who love books to read it as well. Thanks to NetGalley and DK for this ARC, which I voluntarily read and reviewed.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Arnett

    It is physically a small book (6x 8” about 200 pages) arranged chronologically (the first book was banned in 1564, the last entry is 2021.) It covers titles that were deemed offensive (language and/or subject) and others based on content; sexual, religious, political, gender orientation, race, etc. Most are related to books that were inappropriate for children and advocates wanted them removed from libraries or school required reading lists. Some are expected such as Hitler’s Mein Kampf and Henr It is physically a small book (6x 8” about 200 pages) arranged chronologically (the first book was banned in 1564, the last entry is 2021.) It covers titles that were deemed offensive (language and/or subject) and others based on content; sexual, religious, political, gender orientation, race, etc. Most are related to books that were inappropriate for children and advocates wanted them removed from libraries or school required reading lists. Some are expected such as Hitler’s Mein Kampf and Henry Miller’s The Tropic of Capricorn others are unexpected like the Harry Potter books (because they deal with witchcraft.) Some books you have read or were perhaps required to read as a student like J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. Other titles you may not even recognize. Each entry is only a page or two with a description of the content of the book and why it was banned. Interesting reading that may provide insight into books you have never read or never wanted to read as well as titles you may now want to read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    ⭐️ finished: 9/11/12 ⭐️ rating: 8/10 ⭐️ takeaway: Just in time for banned books week—A comprehensive listing of the world’s most controversial books from the Middle Ages until now. The book is organized by time periods (pre-1800s, the 19th century, between the wars, the postwar years, the late 20th century, and the 21st century). Each short entry describes the book and it’s plot, by whom it was banned and for what reason, and a quotation from the author or the banning authority. Book censorship ru ⭐️ finished: 9/11/12 ⭐️ rating: 8/10 ⭐️ takeaway: Just in time for banned books week—A comprehensive listing of the world’s most controversial books from the Middle Ages until now. The book is organized by time periods (pre-1800s, the 19th century, between the wars, the postwar years, the late 20th century, and the 21st century). Each short entry describes the book and it’s plot, by whom it was banned and for what reason, and a quotation from the author or the banning authority. Book censorship runs the gambit of outright bans to restricted access and even authorial self-censorship, but all forms ultimately have similar consequences. This book celebrates books subjected to limits on publications sale, or availability at some point throughout history and affirms their important place in our global society. As noted in the introduction, Mark Twain (and also Hermione Granger, who incidentally is a character from a banned book included here) knew that banning a book only serves to make it more popular!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Meg (thyme.for.books)

    Banned Books takes a look at some of the most controversial books that have been banned throughout history. Using the examples in this book, the author shows that book banning and censorship in literature is not just something in current society but has been prevalent through the ages. While this can be considered a sensitive topic itself, I found this book to be as unbiased as possible when explaining and defining the reasons for each of the books examined in this volume. Both the political and Banned Books takes a look at some of the most controversial books that have been banned throughout history. Using the examples in this book, the author shows that book banning and censorship in literature is not just something in current society but has been prevalent through the ages. While this can be considered a sensitive topic itself, I found this book to be as unbiased as possible when explaining and defining the reasons for each of the books examined in this volume. Both the political and the religious climate are referenced at the time of each book's controversy. The book is written in a straightforward way, simple enough for any reader interested in the topic. This is a very interesting book. It’s a great jumping off point for further study on the topic of banned literature. This would make a great addition to any library public or personal. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to NetGalley and DK!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Thank you to NetGalley and DK for my advanced copy in exchange for my unbiased review! "Banned Books" by DK looks at some of the most controversial books that have been banned. DK delves deep into history in order to illustrate that book banning isn't something unique to our current period, but something that has persisted throughout our history. This is easily shown in how the book is organized which is by the book's time of publication. Honestly, as someone who loves reading and works at a lib Thank you to NetGalley and DK for my advanced copy in exchange for my unbiased review! "Banned Books" by DK looks at some of the most controversial books that have been banned. DK delves deep into history in order to illustrate that book banning isn't something unique to our current period, but something that has persisted throughout our history. This is easily shown in how the book is organized which is by the book's time of publication. Honestly, as someone who loves reading and works at a library, I was incredibly interested in this one. One thing that I found kind of irritating is something that has to do with the formatting of my digital copy. About halfway through, I ended up just downloading the NetGalley Shelf app to my iPad so that I could actually look at and see all of the visuals used in this. If you decide to read this, get a print copy or read from a PDF. All in all, I enjoyed this book but that formatting is not very accessible, at least digitally.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cloak88

    Pretty cool book and informative to! Banned book is about.... Bannend books! Which books got banned, why it happened and by whom. Honestly its quite interesting to see both the shift through the ages of why and by whom books got banned. And then later on rather depressing when you find out that plenty of modern books face similar critique (often unjustified and utterly unnecessary). Overall this book gives you the most remarkable banned book per ages in chronological order. Who wrote them, why th Pretty cool book and informative to! Banned book is about.... Bannend books! Which books got banned, why it happened and by whom. Honestly its quite interesting to see both the shift through the ages of why and by whom books got banned. And then later on rather depressing when you find out that plenty of modern books face similar critique (often unjustified and utterly unnecessary). Overall this book gives you the most remarkable banned book per ages in chronological order. Who wrote them, why the got banned and other notable information. The descriptions aren't really in depth, but there are a lot of them and themes definitely start to make themselves apparent as you get further in time. A good book for anyone who likes reading books about books.

  30. 4 out of 5

    patrick Lorelli

    I found this to be an interesting topic since I have read of so many schools and libraries around the country banning books over the last few years. I have come to find out that this has really been going on since books or writing has been in existence. Some for a political reason others for different opinions in either the area or maybe country, or a dictator. All in all sad that there were books on the list that I read in the sixties and seventies that were considered classics that are now ban I found this to be an interesting topic since I have read of so many schools and libraries around the country banning books over the last few years. I have come to find out that this has really been going on since books or writing has been in existence. Some for a political reason others for different opinions in either the area or maybe country, or a dictator. All in all sad that there were books on the list that I read in the sixties and seventies that were considered classics that are now banned for whatever reason. Grateful to have kept the books from my mother who was a teacher from the fifties and my father who wanted us to also learn and have an open mind they both believed you could start by reading. Overall a good book. I received this book from Netgalley.com

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