Friday, April 15, 2011

Challenged Books 2010

Yesterday, the American Library Association released its list of the top 10 most frequently challenged books of 2010. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins made the list this time in "what's become a virtual rite of passage for young adult sensations," the Associated Press (via the Washington Post) reported.

"I've read in passing that people were concerned about the level of violence in the books," Collins said. "That's not unreasonable. They are violent. It's a war trilogy."

This year's top 10 are:

1. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson Reasons
2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
4. Crank by Ellen Hopkins
5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
6. Lush by Natasha Friend
7. What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones
8. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
9. Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie
10. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Some random comments:

"It almost makes me happy to hear books still have that kind of power," Alexie said. "And there's nothing in my book that even compares to what kids can find on the Internet."

The ALA reported 348 challenges to books in 2010 and at least 53 outright bans. According to Barbara M. Jones, director of the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom, some books on the list "reflect current trends and changes in technology, including Hunger Games, inspired in part by reality television; Aldous Huxley's classic Brave New World, which anticipates antidepressants and artificial fertilization; and a work of nonfiction: Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich's despairing account of trying to get by as a waitress, maid and Walmart worker," the AP noted.

"The closer books come to things that are really happening in a lot of lives, the more they become a reminder of what people don't like to think about," Jones said, adding that Ehrenreich's book "really hits hard what it's like to have a low paying job."

My take: Nickel & Dimed was a great muckraker of a book. Sherman Alexie's book is funny and deserves all the awards it has won. Brave New have got to be kidding. What a joke this whole Banned Books thing has become.

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