Blog for Ms. Ross's Classes

Books We Love to Hate

In the novel, books that are considered threats to Germany, the Nazi Party, and German national pride are burned in bonfires. As we saw today, this is certainly not the only time in history that books have been burned for their alleged offensive and corrupting ideas.

But book burning is not the only way to stop people from reading them. In our society, book banning is a popular pastime. It’s not too hard to predict some of the top offenders over the years, such as Catcher in the Rye (for its language, “loose morals”, and violence) and Harry Potter (for its descriptions of the occult). For a look at the Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century to be banned or challenged, see the American Library Association’s list of the Top 100 challenged books from 2000-2009. And here is a sampling of banned and challenged children’s and youth stories. Take a look at the lists, and then answer two of the questions below.

1. Is there ever a good reason for book censorship?

2. Have you read any of the Top 100 books (from either list)? Do you agree that it should have limited access?

3. What book, in your opinion, should have limited access? Why?

4. Some books have been Bowdlerized–i.e. the “offensive” parts have been changed or removed. Two such examples are the His Dark Materials trilogy (including The Golden Compass) and Huckleberry Finn. Is this an acceptable compromise?

5. Should writers have guidelines as to what they can and cannot publish–similar to the Standards in American television writing?


49 responses

  1. Been Jammin L

    1. I don’t think there is ever a good reason for book censorship. I think that expressing thoughts through literature should never be altered or censored because there is always someone who will find your thoughts interesting or be curious in what you have to say. Although i think using literature to attack groups of people or religions is wrong and pointless. Unless you are making a valid point or have reasons that are sensible, rather than just blatent hate. I think that it all comes down to a question of what people are trying to say and to who are they trying to reach out to.

    2. I have read a couple of the books from the Harry Potter series, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Goosebumps. I think it’s interesting that I read all these books as a child and would never have thought they would be a target of censorship (except for Huckleberry Finn with the N word being constantly used, it’s understandable people wouldn’t want kids reading that).

    3. I don’t really know of any books that I think should be censored. Maybe books written by people like white supremecy leaders or other groups of people only looking to exploit others.

    4. I think for the sake of kids reading it, it can be accceptable. Just so that they aren’t learning words too early that will get them in trouble. For adults though, censoring a book like Huckleberry Finn written back in the 1800’s I think it takes away from the history that the book has. People want to read stories like that, the way they were written. I believe that the original copies of the books should always be available but if you choose to read the censored version you should be able to have the choice to do so.

    5. I don’t think writers should have guidlines like television writers do. Television is more of a business than writing and people tend to react more harshly towards it. I also think that when writers are thinking about what they can’t do it most likely would take away from the story which could result in books that are “too safe” and just boring.

    March 2, 2011 at 6:15 pm

  2. Mitchj

    Answers to 4 and 5:

    I think that if a book has content that a person or community dosnt like, they shouldn’t ban or censor a book. Everyone has a right to their own opinion and no one should be able to limit accesses to those opinions.

    but if there is no way to stop book censorship, then a guideline would obviously be more acceptable than just arbitrarily banning books based on ones personal thoughts. That is a good idea.

    March 2, 2011 at 6:19 pm

  3. jlaylayyy

    Answers to questions 3&5:

    3. I think that no book should ever be banned, or even burned because it is someones work. If there are religious beliefs or morals to people that don’t agree with the books contents, then they don’t have to read the book or even look at it. I know its a common thing to have books banned from teaching and from certain countries because they considered “wrong” or “politically incorrect”, but i think that if we didn’t read these types of writing we wouldn’t truly “learn” from right and wrong besides our parents and other close people in our lives.

    5. I think authors should have some limits that are also in their rights for their citizenship. Obviously if your going to write a book about slaughtering someone or a story with much gruesome, you wouldn’t publish that to the public schools and you would publish it as unsuitable for children. I know it is considered freedom of speech and opinion and such but there are limits to when you can have too much freedom. When it gets offensive and starts to hurt many people, fiction or non-fiction.

    Also with days like today there should be no book of targeting a certain race and bashing it because everyone now should know that it’s wrong (knowing that people still do in many other places). But if your an elementary teacher, and you want to study a book with coarse language and details of death, maybe that teacher should choose a different one. They should make their decisions on the type of book to their morals and knowing not to teach such words to the students.

    March 2, 2011 at 7:29 pm

  4. Jake Kang

    1. Yes. I think that we do need book censorship, or any type of censorship, in order to govern and live in a country. By censoring books or medias, the government gets many advantages in ruling the country. We, the citiznes, should not desire to know and acquire everything. We need to lose something to gain something.
    2. Yes. I have read some of the book in the list. “Harry Potter,” ” Of Mice and Men,” and some other great books. Some of them particulary contain inappropriate contents for young readers. Thus, I agree that it should have limited access.
    3. Yes. I believe that there should be some limited access in “Harry Potter.” Even though it is such a great book, it still contains murderous and brutal scenes. For example, the book talks about the death of Longbottom under torture. However, we are letting young children to read this book, saying that it is such a great book. I believe that some of readers are too young, or mentally unprepared, to read it.
    4. Yes it is an acceptable compromise. As I have explained, we need some kind of “limited access” because some of the books contain inappropriate contents for some particulary readers.
    5. No. For this idea, I disagree. Writing is the beautiful result from the writers who express their thoughts through writing. If they have guildlines, many, or even all, books would be resemble to each other. Then, there will be no point of reading books. The reason why we need some “limited access” in some particulary books is because it may contain appropriate contents for some readers. Thus, we should not make a guildline when writing a book.

    March 2, 2011 at 7:32 pm

  5. TommyLu

    1. Is there ever a good reason for book censorship?

    [Educational & Entertainment.]

    “Depends.” “No” for the books that are true facts and catergorized as documentry. “Yes” for overly fictional and unrealistic fantasy such as Harry Potter.
    *Take a moment to think about my answer.

    I, believe that cencorship should be judged based on the fact the book is either telling the truth or bluffing the facts.

    And for the language arguments, that’s just stupid. No one would read a book because of its nasty language. People whom would truly understand the book would not apply those languages to their life either. Therefore, People are worried about the language censorship, I think; they are just stupid for blaming curse languages from books.

    *note – not that i would cencor Harry Potter, it just that Harry Potter is for entertainment purpose and not for educational purpose.

    3. What book, in your opinion, should have limited access? Why?

    PlayBoy. For obvious reasons. People would bann “How to kill a Mocking Bird” [Before] but not Playboy. I think the majority of people are hopeless.

    March 2, 2011 at 10:57 pm

  6. Alice L

    1.I do not think there is ever a good reason for book censorship. I think everyone have the right to say what they believe in. Writers have the right to express their ideas. There are always two sides to everything. Some people will agree, and some will disagree. The readers can choose what they want to read.
    4.I do not think this is an acceptable compromise. Writers have the right to write what they want to write. Some books may be offensive, however I think the writer is just using stronger words or exaggeration to tell the reader their message. Changing the story can affect what writer wants to tell the reader. People can choose what they want to read. Someone might disagree with a book, but someone might love it.

    March 2, 2011 at 11:13 pm

  7. Jade

    1. I personally don’t think books should be censored. Books are opinions of other people and by censoring them or banning them in a sense you are telling the author of that book that their opinions are wrong. I think that if you you start reading a book and begin to disagree with whats being said then you should just simply put it down and not read it. Not everyone has the same views on things.

    2. I have read the Harry Potter series multiple times and still dont get why it has been banned. To an extent i understand because of the magic in it and what not, but its so over dramatized you can tell its all make believe.

    March 2, 2011 at 11:59 pm

  8. Dalyn M

    Censorship is never a good thing, and I never liked people who get over the top with political correctness. Times change and opinions about certain matters change as well but if people edit them out of books and movies we may eventually forget about them and history will repeat itself.

    People seem to forget that humans have been around for thousands of years and have been exposed to all kinds of things that wouldn’t be accepted today. It seems parents think that things like sexuality and gore (referring to TV mostly) with somehow “traumatize” their kids. Sure everyone is different but I find that most of the stuff that gets censored tends to offend adults more than the kids people think their “protecting”.

    March 3, 2011 at 12:13 am

  9. Jae Lim

    1. Yes, books have been banned all over the world for many reasons. Usually the intention is to protect people, especially children, from controversial ideas or opinions that are considered dangerous.

    March 3, 2011 at 12:28 am

    • Jae Lim

      2. None of them. However, if a reader gets offensive from reading a book, the reader should not bother to keep reading the story. Thus, in my opinion, readers should decide what to read or not rather than setting limited access becuase every individual has different ideas, thoughts, and feelings toward many things. It’s not like everyone would hate it just because you hate it.

      March 3, 2011 at 12:37 am

      • Jae Lim

        3. Well, the books with inappropriate contents that may disturb the viewers especially young children should have limited access to avoid such bad things that could happen to children or children could do from reading them.

        March 3, 2011 at 12:40 am

  10. Jae Lim

    4. I would say Yes. Like I stated above, it’s acceptable to change or remove the “offensive” parts that are considered dangerous to readers.

    March 3, 2011 at 12:45 am

  11. Jae Lim

    5. Definitely. It’s just like out society. Without law, everything will go chaotic.

    March 3, 2011 at 12:49 am

  12. Jae Lim

    For examply, let’s say you have to write a short story for your English homework, would you use the F word in the story?


    March 3, 2011 at 12:53 am

  13. Larisa

    1. I think there is a good reason for book censorship, only for certain books because of the language content and explicit detail of things which can be avoided.

    2. I have read Harry Potter books, and I believe that they shouldn’t be banned due to parents being concerned of the Wizardry, that isn’t as bad as some other books with an excessive amount of bad language and other things with explicit detail.

    March 3, 2011 at 1:21 am

  14. Katelyn

    1. Is there ever a good reason for book censorship?

    In my own opinion people who agree with book censorship should have double standers.If you think about it why should a book be censored when it brings up the matter of sex, or racial slurs,but then when it comes to a movie it can have nudity, poke fun at different races and glorify different things in society that would be looked down on. I think if someone wants to read a book about different topics then they should have the ability to do so. If they are aloud to censor books then why can’t they censor t.v shows or movies? I am not saying that a library in a school for kids ages 6-10 should have books with topics of murder and rape on the shelfs, its not censorship if they took books like that off the shelve, its common sense of what level of maturity is needed to read such books.

    2. Have you read any of the Top 100 books (from either list)? Do you agree that it should have limited access?

    Out of this list I have only read harry potter a long time ago. Sure it promotes witch craft and magic, but we are a decade into a new millennium where its okay to have shows such as “gossip girl” or “16 and pregnant” which glorify sex, drugs and money. But we can’t have a book that opens up imagination to kids. Even though the book Harry Potter, is banned for magic it has good meanings behind it of friendship and family.

    March 3, 2011 at 1:52 am

  15. Jonascoyes

    yes i have read some of the books on the top 100. Books SHOULD NOT be banned but if they do have enough material in it that is inapropriate there should be a parental advisory on them. People must understand that when a book uses a ratial slure, it generally is used in context not for discrimination! Books should be kept as how they are and read in context. If it is truly a big deal, dont tell your kid read an inapropraite novel

    March 3, 2011 at 2:00 am

  16. Camb

    1. There is never a good reason for censorship, whether it be within a book or for something completely different. There is no logical reason to completely reject and hide someone’s opinion. The only way an opinion (which is essentially what a book can become) can be dangerous is if people stop thinking for themselves and become mindless pieces of meat that believe everything they read and don’t ever make their own opinion. I’ve always been taught to try and understand all sides of something before making my own decision and, most importantly, I make my own decision.

    4. As I said before, there is no good reason to censor anything, and I mean anything. Books like Huckleberry Finn are American classics and to take out whatever it is may be offensive can really affect the tone, mood, theme or a number of other things within the book. Again, as long as people understand when it was written and what was the purpose, there is nothing wrong with it. We need to have our own sense of censorship rather than letting the government or the schools do it for us. Freedom of speech is not something that can, or should, be easily compromised with.

    March 3, 2011 at 2:38 am

  17. Jenn Pal

    1. I don’t think that there is ever a good reason for book censorship, purely because it is freedom of expression; unless of course, it is directed at a particular group of people based off of race, religion, etc. Dan Brown’s book “The DaVinci Code” angered many Catholics, and I wouldn’t doubt it was banned in some countries… But he didn’t deliberately “attack” their religious group, he used a potentially brilliant idea that just happened to contradict some other people’s beliefs. It’s not like he was straight up telling Catholics that their whole idea surrounding Jesus and Mary Magdalene was wrong or anything. No matter what anyone writes, it’s going to end up offending someone anyway.

    2. I’ve read several books on that list before, but I don’t really believe they should have limited access. If a book is too inappropriate for a child, then it should have somesort of advisory sticker on the front, like records do. If parents or whoever are really that paranoid, then we might as well stop making music, too.

    3. Mein Kempf, and similar books, should have limited access; however, I don’t think they should be completely banned. Mein Kempf is perfect proof of Hitler’s insanity, and may be studied in the future.

    March 3, 2011 at 3:10 am

  18. Joanna C

    1. I believe that books should be raked as television programs and movie are, but I do not think any book should be prohibited entirely. I do think rating the book helps people to select books. Teachers and parents would be able to choose the right books for children or teenagers. I remember deeply that there was a book from my elementary suggested book lists and I did not agree that it was suitable for elementary students. When I was reading it, I felt extremely sick because of the sexuality. Although I do not remember the name of the book or what was it about at all, I can still remember myself throwing the book away with disgust.
    2. Yes, “The Kite Runner”. I can understand the reason why this book is banned because it would seem to be offensive for people or the religious groups in the Middle East. However, I personally do not agree that this book should be banned. Apart from some of its inappropriate contents (actually I only remember one raping scene that I felt uncomfortable with), it is definitely a great novel to read. The author portrayed how the life was like during the unstable status of a nation and war and also the friendship and betrayal well enough. It could be rated but not banned.

    March 3, 2011 at 3:33 am

  19. Ray L

    1. Yes, there is a good reason for book censorship. Many books are banned for significant reasons. The most important reason is to prevent children from reading them. If children read a banned book they’ll be heavily influenced and will alter their behavior as they grow older for example if children read a racist word or comment on “To kill a Mockingbird.” They might say that word to someone they don’t like and maybe will become racist themselves. Another reason is prevent people from becoming non-democratic. There are still books today that have communist and dictatorship principles. Some people become non-democratic because of influence from books. So those books definitely need to be banned.
    3. 1984 by George Orwell definitely should have limited access because of its communist views and principles. Books about communism or authoritarianism are not appropriate today in democratic nations. To kill a Mockingbird also should have limited access because of racist comments and rape scenes.

    March 3, 2011 at 3:50 am

  20. ksim

    1. In some cases, there are good reasons for book censorship. It depends on who the audience is who are reading the novels and what message the author wants to portray. I do disagree with however, the banning of Harry Potter novels, I find it ridiculous that people are legitimately worried that it will encourage black magic.

    2. I have read the book “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding and also the Harry Potter series, I disagree that those books should have limited access. Harry Potter was a very well writen series, that made millions of dollars in profit and is huge movie series as well. It is loved my many people, and in my opinion, the author should be able to write about whatever they choose. In grade eleven, our class studied “Lord of the Flies” and if I recall correctly, it didn’t spark much controversy amoung my class.

    March 3, 2011 at 4:02 am

  21. inVicktion

    1. Personally I think that there is never a good reason for book censorship but to a certain extent. I think that people have the right to write about whatever they wan’t but imo it should not be available to certain age groups. It’s not right for a little kids to be reading about certain stuff as it can greatly influence them in a bad way. For example an 8 year old might read a book with lots of foul language and maybe feel it’s right to use that kind of language. Other than that I think it’s not right to censor certain books and people should be free to write about whatever and read about whatever they wan’t to.

    2. Out of the two lists the only books I have read are the Harry Potter Series and the Bridge to Terabithia. I don’t really remember Bridge to Terabithia too much but from what I remember it seemed like a good book that shouldn’t be censored. I have also read the Harry Potter Series and I greatly disagree that they should be banned. While reading HP I never not even once thought of it as being inappropriate and in fact I would encourage everyone to read that series. I haven’t read one flew over the cuckoos nest but I watched the movie and assuming the book is exactly like the movie I don’t think that book should be censored.

    3. I really can’t think of any books that I feel should be censored.

    4. I feel this is an acceptable compromise as the book itself may be very good but may have stuff in it which may not be suitable for most people. For example according to Jake and Curtis’s presentation Huckleberry Finn used the “n word” but from what I have heard Huckleberry Finn is a great classic book. Just because the book uses inappropriate words doesn’t mean that the book should be banned, and I feel that changing certain the offensive parts is acceptable.

    5. I don’t think that writer’s shouldn’t be restrained but free to write whatever they want to. But if its very inappropriate maybe make it restricted and limited to older people.

    March 3, 2011 at 4:05 am

  22. R Fletcher

    1. I don’t think there should be censorship on books. We live in an era where people are free to express themselves without fear of oppression. I feel that readers should be aware of the type of book they are reading and the subject matter that it involves. If the reader decides that they personally disagree with it, they can make the decision not to read it. Just because a small group of people disagree with the contents of a book, does not mean everyone does. As readers we must make the personal choice whether we want to read a book that may be deemed controversial.

    2. I have read several books that were posted on the top 100 most challenged books list, and I do not fell that they should have limited access. One can not prevent people from reading, whether a certain book is banned or not. Not everyone has the same opinion on what should be banned and what shouldn’t. With this in mind, instead of banning or censoring books, people should simply make the decision for themself. To read or not to read.

    March 3, 2011 at 5:23 am

  23. D Jiang

    1) I don’t think we should have censorship on books, not in where we live at least. Just by looking at the long list of censored books and their reasons, I found that most of the censored content is not censored in movies and TV shows that we see everyday. Even more, there not really a point censor a book anyways, because the people who want to read it can always find a way reading it since we live in a time where it is just too easy to get information.

    March 3, 2011 at 5:48 am

  24. Lester Y

    1. I think book censorship is originally created for readers to have a safe and harmless reading environment, however as Internet becomes so common and accessible these years, book censorship is longer in effect in many aspects. So personally I think it would be better to do book rating based on different maturity levels like what people do on TV shows and movies. In this way, the context of the banned books can be reserved without worrying the bad influence on young readers.

    2. To be honest I’ve read many of them (ex. Happy Potter series and Lord of the flies) and I don’t find any of them are so inappropriate that should have limited access.

    3. Well since I’m not as a serious reader, I don’t find any of the book on the list should have limited access.

    4. As I said, it’s meaningless to censor anything thing, since the use of Internet is so limitless nowadays. But somehow I think book censorship provides a guideline for readers to choose the right books for them.

    5. I don’t think it’s really necessary, since we are living in a country of democracy. We can pretty much say or write anything we want to, as long as we are not insulting anything. (A)

    March 3, 2011 at 5:55 am

  25. D Jiang

    2) I only read “Harry Potter” off that list and I don’t even see how should that book be banned in some places

    March 3, 2011 at 5:55 am

  26. D Jiang

    3) I don’t read a lot of books and books don’t have a strong impact to me after reading them. There is not a book I think should be banned from as far as I understand books.

    March 3, 2011 at 6:01 am

  27. Sdhindsa

    1. I don’t believe that book censorship is a good idea in most cases, however there are instances when books can cross the line. This is when action needs to be taken. This is usually the case when it comes to children reading books. There are some things that children should not be exposed to at a young age as this might significantly alter the way they act and look at certain things in life. Having said that, people do have the freedom to express their beliefs and opinions. If someone disagrees with them they should just put the book down and stop reading.

    4. I don’t think this is a good compromise as this takes away from the motifs, and mood of the book. The writer put those words or phrases in there for a reason so they shouldn’t be cut out. The reader needs to understand the motives for writing the book a certain way and if they do not agree with it then they should just put it down and stop reading.

    March 3, 2011 at 6:01 am

  28. Max Chou

    1. I think there’s no good aspect reason for book censorship. Conventionally, it looks like the censorship has controled people’s reading and education. However, It can never control the thought of people. Everyone has right to think or dream. The book censorship is like a cage. People is the bird. Since the cage can limit the bird’s action and freedon, It can never stop the bird from looking out through the interstice. The people’s thought is like the bird’s sight. It can not be limited. Clearly, book censorship only makes people suffer.

    5. I don’t there should have guideline for writing. Writing the is like building houses. They use different resources and elements to construct the paragraph and adorn it. Different building and design make the place spectacular. Instead, writing is the same. If there is a guideline for writing. Every story would be similar and reading would not be intersting anymore.

    March 3, 2011 at 6:03 am

  29. D Jiang

    4) this basically goes back to my answer for question 1.In my opinion, books should never be censored. There is not a good reason to remove or change a few content from a book. By removing the content it might change the whole message of the book. I don’t think books are responsible of much of the violence or foul languages in our society. Books are meant to entertain and inspire, each book opens up a little bit of world to us. I am not a reader; this is just my opinion.

    March 3, 2011 at 6:10 am

  30. D Jiang

    5. What made books interesting sometimes is their limitlessness. If they have set the limit then I would never read again in my life. (Like I ever did)

    March 3, 2011 at 6:13 am

  31. cooky

    1. Yes. Some contents of a book may include wrong message and give the readers an inappropriate idea. In real life, some people would accept the wrong message and do something bad, such as killing.
    2. I have just read a few of them. I think they shouldn’t be banned. Every book has a different style of story and format. We can learn more by reading them.
    3. I think books shouldn’t be banned. However, teachers or parents should care about what is a child reading.
    5. Yes.

    March 3, 2011 at 6:16 am

  32. Marissa-jean

    4. Removing parts from books could go both ways. For one it does keep the certain book out on the shelves for people to enjoy which is the whole idea to reading in my opinion. But then again books are written a certain way because that’s how the author felt it should be, and changing it or removing parts just isn’t right.

    5. I personally do not believe that writers should have guide lines when it comes to writing books, writing is a form of freedom and creativity. No one should be able to say what you read, if they don’t like it then they don’t have to read it.

    March 3, 2011 at 6:43 am

  33. daniel S

    1 In my opinion there are certain reasons why some books should be censored. I think a book like Mein Kampf should not be out there, any book that promotes hate, racist, discrimination or any other type of evil feelings towards a group or individual should be censored as well as books that share sensible information like how to make drugs or hack computer those books should be censored for they only do harm.
    4 Modifying a book due to its content is a very effective way of getting the message across without anyone being offended this might take away from the author’s creativity but it’s better than censoring the whole book. In a way it might change the aspects of certain books but the main message will be the same at the end it doesn’t matter what words you use what matters is if the author gets his message across.

    March 3, 2011 at 6:49 am

  34. C.S.

    1. In my opinion, book censorship is not necessary, but for some materials there should be a limit. For instance, the books involve sexuality and filthy discrimination are definitely not appropriate for youth to read. Like television programmes, books should be categorized into levels. Although this method seems not effective, it’s the best way to tackle it. People would not want totally censorship on books since that’s the right people have in democratic society. It is always better to discuss than hiding everything that is not consider good material.

    2. I have read two books from 2 lists, for the requirement of English 10 and 11 – “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee and “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding. Also, I read “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown and first Harry Potter books in Chinese and movies. I understand some books against the religion. For example, Golding points out that human are not so pure, everyone has a evil seed inside. In contrast, I think people have to respect other people’s religion like how others respect them. “True faith would not be influenced by words.”

    “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee involves some race discrimination and violence against female, but I think she is only emphasizing that people in that period were having prejudice and in order to tell people not to do so.

    March 3, 2011 at 7:22 am

  35. Keara Bee

    Answers to 1 & 2:

    I don’t like the idea of book censorship personally, but I thought that Daniel brought up a good point with harmful ideas in books. But at the same time, a book like Mein Kampf is widely known now and if I were to read it, it would be to learn from the mistakes that others made by their actions. There are groups who agree with Hitler’s words, like neo-nazis of our world, but there are many more people who are educated about Hitler’s reign and do not agree with it. Literature is a precious gift that should not be taken for granted. A person has to power to pick up a book and read it or simply leave it alone. It is very much personal choice to choose what you read, but please, don’t use it for awful things! If a book like Harry Potter is frowned upon by religious people, then it is their choice not to read it. A person can learn a LOT from books, so reading a book involving African slavery for example, may change a person’s entire view and help them be more open minded to the faults of mankind.

    I have read a couple books on the list and I have to admit that Harry Potter is one of my favourite series on the planet. I have read them all as least 14 times. Probably more… 🙂 A lot of the books on the list are classic stories which I don’t think should be hidden away under censorship. There is a lot to learn from books written from half a century or so ago, for one example. It is a window into the life of that time period and into the thoughts of the author. And I also think that people these days need all the help they can get to learn from the past mistakes (some of them lethal) of others.

    March 3, 2011 at 7:22 am

  36. M Hall

    1. Book censorship is never a good idea. Why must you have your work edited and twisted to meet their standards? Isn’t the whole point of writing to express your view on whatever?

    2. No book should have limited access. That is just government reminding us they have this imaginary power when in fact people are the government and if there are enough people the changes will be made.

    3. The only book that I would censor is Twilight to save people from the pain.

    4. Rewording is ok as long as there is a justifiable reason (such as a children’s book adaptation).

    5. Due to the wide range of audiences, it is ok to reword a show, but not take off complete. Or you could just keep it the same and give it a higher age restriction.

    March 3, 2011 at 7:37 am

  37. lance lu

    1. I think there is always a good reason for book censorship. For example, some books are poisoning us, especially for younger generation. Some people claim that censorship is against the human freedom, and authors should have the right to decide what kind of story that they are prefer. However, i still think there should be some rules for books, censorship is the one of punishment for those disobedient books.

    3. I personally think that the books which content violent and bloody stuffs should have limited access. And those dangerous books, such as teaching people how to be murder shounld be banned. Because if we allow those books sell on public, they will affect many people, thereby they will bring negative impact to our society which is realy horrible. However, the books about politics shouldn’t be on the list of censorship. I people should have some right to share their opinions about politic.

    March 3, 2011 at 7:39 am

  38. Gabriel the Literature Anarchist

    Ok, so I was going to get extremely epistemological (look it up) and write a lot to cover all the aspects of my argument, but considering that this is a blog, here’s the condensed version. Talk to me later if you want, I always enjoy a good discussion.

    I do not believe that anything should ever be banned. First of all, it’s a wast of time and tax money. A responsible gov’t would not use it’s resources to try to destroy ideas it doesn’t like – it’s futile. Furthermore, there will always be methods of circumventing restrictions, so again, why waste time? Secondly, the only reason for books becoming problems is because narrow-minded individuals have an unhealthy fear of change, which, ultimately, is the whole point of ideas and their genesis: they are change-makers.

    I see some comments blaming books for causing problems, but in reality it’s the entire human race that causes problems. Does book banning stop wars and inter-tribal hatred in Africa? No way. As far as I can tell, those cultures don’t tend to read much.

    As for the two lists of banned/challenged books, I’ve read quite a few of them. Many of them contain material that some may find offensive, but for someone with a mature world-view, these books make important statements about past and present cultures, moralities, and events. For example, Catcher in the Rye is a standard of literature when it comes to describing the difficulties of young-adulthood. Personally, I feel like I learned a lot from it. Just because a book challenges conventional thinking doesn’t mean it is worthy of being banned, or rather, metaphorically “burned”.

    I don’t think that any book should have limited access. The people who don’t like the ideas in them simply shouldn’t read them in the first place and not push their own possibly unpleasant ideas on others.

    And “bowdlerize” all you like. People who feel like they need a version of a book whose main ideas have been detracted from can go ahead and read the doctored concepts.

    Just my two bits…

    March 3, 2011 at 7:53 am

  39. Liang W

    1. Is there ever a good reason for book censorship?

    I don’t think there is a good reason to cersor books. The content of a book is the imformations, ideas or knowledge the author want to express. They have the freedom of speech. We can whether choose to read them or not to. Also, I think books help us to learn the mistakes in the past and prevent it form happening again.

    5. Should writers have guidelines as to what they can and cannot publish–similar to the Standards in American television writing?

    I don’t think there should be guidelines for writers, because then there will be no point writing a book since people are not allowed to express whatever they want. Everything will be similar, so there will be no more different ideas and thoughts we can learn and discuss about. And I don’t think people will feel like reading books anymore.

    March 3, 2011 at 7:53 am

  40. JohnL

    1. Yes there are good reasons for book censorship. Some books may offend the reader and promote negative influence but at the same time, the reader should be more aware of choosing their book.

    4. Yes, it is an acceptable compromise because it is a solution to prevent books people enjoy from being banned.

    March 3, 2011 at 8:01 am

  41. k lofter

    1) I think that as a principle books should not be censored. Apart from keeping heavy, adult books out of school libraries, I think there is no reason for it to occur.
    A funny thing about banning and censoring books is that it tends to result in the opposite of the intention. Trying to keep a book out of the public eye just makes more people want to read it.

    5) I don’t think that writers should have to follow a guideline as to what they can and cannot publish. Books are not television. If writer’s had to write around rules and regulations, their novels would lose meaning. Also, if a book is unreasonably crude or disrespectful, the author will have a hard time finding someone to publish it anyways.

    March 3, 2011 at 4:01 pm

  42. S.yek

    Answers to #1 & 5

    1.) I think the only reason books should be censored is if it incites violence to somebody because of their race, political views, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Other than that I believe authors (and all people for that matter) should have the freedom of speech and publication.

    5.) No I don’t think guidelines should be given out because it let’s people be more creative without the fear of being censored. Some of the worlds best literature have been banned/censored. Without guidelines and fear of censorship we may inspire a new generation of talented writers to publish amazing pieces of literature. The only thing that I find offensive would be what I said in my first answer about inciting violence.

    March 3, 2011 at 9:35 pm

  43. JuanDS

    1.Funny thing is, I like to think that nothing should be censored, however there are some books that process really important information that could not only hinder a person’s life but many others, for example books on how to assemble weapons, or that tell certain information about a person’s life such as secrets, lies and so on.

    5. Personally I believe that writers themselves do actually have their own filter/guidelines as they write their books and they care to ask permissions to use peoples private information, or at least stop and think “ If this would were on the wrong hands what could happen” however as to making a guideline I think the only rule should be use common sense and follow your morals.

    March 4, 2011 at 4:04 am

  44. Miko Zhang

    1. In some extreme cases, there are legitimate reasons to ban a book, however numerous amounts of other books, it is simply ridiculous to have them banned. I find that most of the time, reasons for banning books are very narrow minded and shallow. For example, banning the book “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is simply idiotic. Mark Twain uses the “n” word not to offend anyone or to insult anybody, but to highlight the damage of racism and the intolerance that people had back then for black people. He does this to show people that racism is WRONG. I find that it is very ironic that the book was banned because of the use of the “n” word when it was only used in the first place to fight racism and intolerance.

    2. I have read about 5-7 of the books listed. Some of the books I read when I was at a very young age. Some of the books I cannot possibly know why they were banned. Books like Harry Potter and Captain Underpants were part of my childhood. I had a great deal of joy reading them and did not feel like they affected me in any way. There are however, some books which should be considered. However, I do not think that the book should be banned or censored, but simply out of reach from children of a certain age.

    3. In my opinion, books such as “The Color Purple” should definetly be out of reach from children. The book contains materials which should not be read by children, as it is definetly disturbing in many ways.

    4. I think that this is an unacceptable action. By taking out that specific part of the book, it is taking out what the book is as a whole. Without that part, the book is not itself, and has lost its genuine state. Also, I believe that nowadays, young people are so affected by the media and the internet, that books have little to no effect on their way of thinking. This is in a way sad, but because this is so, there should be less reason to ban or censor a book.
    5. Yes, writers definetly should have standards to their writing. It is a matter of responsibility for their work. If their work will offend or cause serious consequences, the writers should never have wrote it down in the first place. Responsibility is key, if you don’t want your book to be banned, be careful of what you write. However I believe that if there were to be guidelines, they must be VERY carefully reviewed, and agreed upon by numerous amounts of people.

    March 4, 2011 at 5:06 am

  45. 1. I think there are no reasons for a book to be censored because it’s just a matter of choice. As a person you can choose whether you want to read a particular book or not. You can’t tell anybody what book to read and what not to read, it’s their personal choice. Also you have to be responsible in choosing a book, for example if the book is inappropriate and is intended for adults only then you should not let children to read that book until they reach the appropriate age and if they want to read it at that time, it’s their choice. And also, a particular book is different for every person even though it’s the same book, the same title, and the same author, it is different for everyone, everyone has different opinions about a particular book so you can’t force everyone to have the same opinion on a particular book.

    4. Changing or removing offensive parts is not an acceptable compromise because when you change something it is not the same anymore. The context of the book is changed, the true meaning is change. Maybe an acceptable compromise is to have age restrictions but not changing the book.

    March 4, 2011 at 5:52 am

  46. Jack Jang

    1) Some people say that book censorship is needed that because some of the factors are offensive for some type of people. Although it is offensive in some reason, the only way to perfectly understand the author’s purpose is reading many types of books. This is why i am not agreeing with the opinion of book censorship.
    2) i will say , no. Knowledge is a treasure that anyone can get.These days however, many types and many cultural difference are blocking people from reading books. For me, It is a not good to read Japanese book because of Japanese invasion in our history, yet i love the story of The Memoir of Geisha which is a story of a geisha. Also this is a way to understand the way it feels.
    3) I think only bible should be limited access because in my opinion, bible has some kind of holy power. Some people are not really religious but they say that they are religious because they go church. Therefore i think bible should be read by only some people who has true belief in christian.
    4) I think these offensive matters are the Climax of these literature. Mark Twain who wrote Huckleberry Finn’s adventure was a good writer who described the era and place well and the offensive matter make me easy to understand his purpose. That is why i am disagreeing with the idea of changing or removing the parts that is offensive.
    5)It is really funny that we have a guideline for good writing and bad writing. i think all the literatures and many arts are all great thing that people make and this is why i think we have to protect those whether it is good or not. If it can shows the feeling and giving a new knowledge to people, it is a good book to have. Therefore i think it is a bad idea to have a guideline for writers and that is why i am respecting all the writers in the world whether they are ESL student or not.

    March 4, 2011 at 6:21 am

  47. Curta

    1. There is never a truly good reason for censoring a book. Even if a book is truly terrible, the citizens of any country who pick up a book should have the humanity to stick with their values regardless of what insanity might be spoken in the book.

    2. I have read a few of the Top 100 Challenged books. I definitely don’t agree that any of the books I’ve read from it should be censored — such an innately physical object can be put down at any time, chosen to be read willingly, and the general idea of a book can more often than not be determined from the back cover.

    3. None of the books should have limited access. Who would the access be limited to? “Important” citizens? In this age of information, not only is it unnecessary to limit access to books, but it is nearly impossible with the prevailing popularity of the Internet.

    4. Censoring offensive words in a book in not an acceptable compromise. In my opinion, certain words that can offend any group of people are usually not inserted into a book just for little giggles by the author. Oftentimes, the words are punctually placed and add a realistic degree of emotional value to the situations occurring in a book that contains offensive words. If the blatant realism of a book is too strong for anyone, they can put it down. Better yet — let’s burn it! (But not force others to burn their copies because you feel that if you don’t enjoy a book, nobody else in the world should be allowed to either.)

    5. No, there should not be guidelines for writing books. With books, there are often descriptions on the back, and they are practically always placed in a category in a store that should warn anyone going near what to expect in the content. Additionally, there are a fair share of books with age ratings slapped onto it. The fundamentalist Christian American has no justification for paying perfectly good money to read a copy of “The Joy of Gay Sex” and complain about it’s content, and suggest that writers have restrictions on what they can publish.

    March 4, 2011 at 8:00 am