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Banned Books

The world's largest online marketplace for books.

Books Behaving Badly

Every year hundreds of books get challenged for their content. Banned Book Week (September 23-30) is a time to celebrate the freedom the read. So pick up any book you darn well feel like, and enjoy!

Every year the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression compiles a list of banned and challenged books. A "challenged" book has, for whatever reason, been considered by one of more people to be inappropriate, and its removal from library shelves has been requested. A "banned" book is a challenged book that has actually been pulled from the shelves. Here are some of the books from this year's list.

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Banned for containing nude photos of 9 US Supreme Court justices

America The Book, Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart's The Daily Show is a major source of news for the 20-something set as well as older television watchers numbed by conventional reporting. Packed with jokes, this mock textbook contains chapters packed with ludicrous charts and maps, sidebars, illustrations and discussion questions. Features include a foldout chart of the "shadow government" and of course, the infamous "dress the Supreme Court" page depicting the justices in the nude.

Challenged for profanity, sexual content, vulgarity, violence and racial slurs

Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison

Awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1993, Toni Morrison powerfully evokes in her fiction the legacies of displacement and slavery that have been bequeathed to the African-American community. Although Beloved is likely the most widely celebrated of her novels, Song of Solomon is perhaps the most lyrical, following Milkman Dead as he struggles to understand his family history and the ways in which that history has both been damaged by and transcended the horror of slavery.

Challenged for vulgar language and violent imagery

All The Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy

The first and most admired book of McCarthy's Border trilogy is his National Book Award-winning All The Pretty Horses. In highly evocative prose that puts the reader firmly in the saddle, the novel follows the progress of laconic 16-year-old Texan John Grady Cole, his pal Lacey Rawlins, and the mysterious young sharp shooter Jimmy Blevins as they ride across the border into Mexico in search of adventure.

Banned for profanity and "pagan" content

Bless Me, Ultima, Rudolfo Anaya

Antonio Marez is six years old when Ultima enters his life. She is a curandera, one who heals with herbs and magic. Soon Tony will journey to the threshold of manhood. Ultima always watches over him. Under her wise guidance, Tony will probe the family ties that bind him, and he will find in himself the magical secrets of the pagan past. At each turn in his life there is Ultima who will nurture the birth of his soul.

Challenged for sexual content, offensive language and violence

The Hot Zone, Richard Preston

A highly infectious, deadly virus from the central African rain forest suddenly appears in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. There is no cure. In a few days 90 percent of its victims are dead. A secret military SWAT team of soldiers and scientists is mobilized to stop the outbreak of this exotic "hot" virus. The Hot Zone tells this dramatic story, giving a hair-raising acccount of the appearance of rare and lethal viruses and their "crashes" into the human race.

Challenged for depictions of infidelity

Between Lovers, Eric Jerome Dickey

Set in the San Francisco Bay area, Between Lovers centres around a complex love triangle. The novel's narrator is still reeling from being dumped by Nicole after seven good years and an aborted trip to the altar. She likes what she has now, but misses what she had, and wants to find out if she can have it all. She's playing with fire, but she lures her former fianc back into her life, opening the floodgates of anger, passion, pain...and refreshing honesty.

Challenged for profane language and depictions of teenage sexuality

Forever, Judy Blume

Published more than 30 years ago, this tender account of first love between teenagers Katherine and Michael - who decide to "go all the way" - continues to garner both praise and controversy over its sexual content. The book has been used to open up frank discussions about sex, yet groups to this day are campaigning to have it removed school library shelves.

Challenged for racial slurs, banned from school play stages

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has earned many distinctions since its publication in 1960. It won the Pulitzer Prize, has been translated into more than forty languages, and has sold more than thirty million copies worldwide. Most recently, librarians across the country voted it the best novel of the twentieth century. Imagine if the book was actually banned!



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