Saturday, April 2, 2016

Banned Books

 I am quite anti-censorship and the banning of books is one of the most annoying things that civilization has come up with. It is akin to validifying someone's thoughts. Yeah, those thoughts got published as books but they started as thoughts and ideas at the very core. It is so 1984-ish (George Orwell's) thought control. Strange how they, people who challenge books to be banned, are afraid of thought being spread! 

Are Ideas so exclusive that they can be buried under Banned tags?
I believe that ideas are not something that can only spread by exchanging. Ideas do ignite and evolve on its own. Most importantly thoughts are not exclusive! Many people can come up with same ideas without ever coming across each other. For example the invention of Airplanes, many people were working on the same mechanism during that era. It was a matter calibration and execution that, the Wright Brothers got that achievement's medal pinned on by history. However, we can rest assured that we were bound to get a flight sooner or later. 

Here are some of the books that are/were banned and are often frequently challenged on the grounds of "offending" Religion, Sexuality, and Political Opinion.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi: In 2013, banned in Chicago classrooms for gambling, offensive language, political and religious viewpoints. It was also considered to have “politically, racially, and socially offensive,” graphic depictions. This book is most challenged book almost every year.
My Opinion: Enjoyable and incite-full. It is a memoir told in the form of graphic novel. The book gives you first-hand depiction of Islamic Revolution and life one family in Iran. The story speaks very strongly for education and condemns fundamentalism. 

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck: This book was banned in Ireland (1953) for profanity and using God's name in vain. Another most frequent reason for the banning of this book is because of euthanasia.
My Opinion: This book just gives me the feels! There is a strange sense of impending hope throughout the novella. It has a somewhat sad tone but yet it keeps the track filled with anticipate. 

Candide by Voltaire: In 1930, U.S. Customs seized Harvard-bound copies of Candide, claiming obscenity. 
My opinion: Not outrightly banned, (or is it?) but yet detained from entering the country. well, about the book; I loved it. It's witty and satirical. However, most of all it is short yet encapsulates so many things! It feels like it was too short of a book to include so much content. It delivers more than written words, Wonderful and Impressive!  Especially considering the fact that this book was written barely three days by Voltaire.
Animal Farm by George Orwell:  It was banned in the USSR and other communist countries, In 2002, the novel was banned in the schools of the United Arab Emirates, because it contained text and/or images that are against Islamic values My opinion: I loved this book. One of my favorite classics. Absolutely brilliant. The writing is wonderful, the way this story is told is fascinating. George Orwell's book 1984 was also banned for political reasons. However, his dystopian worlds are the epitome of what could go wrong in social and political structures. Banning these books seems like a propaganda to push aside revoking of political ideas. No denying there may be some an ugly side to the social and political structure, but things are not just black and white. Balance is the key. Moreover, religious banning is beyond comprehension for me.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: It was Formerly banned in China, beginning for its portrayal of anthropomorphism. Considering that attributing human language to animals was an insult to humans. My Opinion: Banned for What! Goodness! I enjoyed reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, It was a very beautiful depiction of a child's mind with no boundaries and depiction of a fairytale-like world. Lewis Carrol did know what goes inside a child's mind and fantasies. Speaking of Lewis Carroll, He was a bit scandalous. “I always call him Lewis Carroll Carroll, because he was the first Humbert Humbert.” ~ Vladimir Nabokov (author of Lolita)If you know what I mean, if you don't know what I mean, google it. Trigger Warning Pedophilia 

The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank: This book is banned in Libanon for its positive depiction of Jews. 
My Opinion:  I cannot fathom the reason for this ban, I understand the underlining religious disharmony but come on Libanon! Also, Frank's diary is edited for sexual content, I have read the edited copy and unabridged copies are available nowadays.  
Looks like I can go on and on with this list! 

PS for more information on banned books visit here


  1. The banning of books, for that matter censorship of any kind, tends to have the opposite effect that the censors want. So aside from it being absurd to force your personal beliefs on what another can or cannot see, in the end it does no good.

    Knowledge and ideas want to be free.

    Great post about banned books and the silliness that it is.
    I've done some blog posts in the past for banned books week, if I do a set of guest posts on the topic again this September would you be interested in a slot?

    Laith (apx #1712) visiting for April A-Z from Laith's Ramblings (

    1. Thanks! Indeed it is a silliness. Sure I would like to do that same for Banned Books Week, it is always good to spread awareness. Let me know about the same.
      Thanks For visiting! :)

  2. Oh I never knew Animal Farm was banned. And most of the books are unknown to me

    B - The Eye of the Beholder

    1. Book Banning is so baffling to me, getting to know the reasons why a certain book was taken off the shelf is even more peculiar!

  3. I didn't know Candide had been banned. I wish more people read that book. It is instructive on so many different levels. I can see the USSR banning Animal Farm. It struck a bit close to the bone.
    Elizabeth Hein - Scribbling in the Storage Room

    1. Agree, Candide is a great book!
      Animal Farm was intended to be analogous to Russian History... Expression of contempt must have been foreseeable, though. :P

  4. I agree with you - all books have value if only to be used as a lesson in what NOT TO BELIEVE! I'm interested in your take on banning hate literature...Mein Kempf, for example?

    I remember when I was in high school one of the books on my required reading list was The Cather in the Rye and I remember my mom saying that when she was in school this book was banned. I remember thinking that it was such an innocent, even innocuous book (words from my current, adult vocabulary that express the reaction of my teenage self, hahaha). I am still blown away that it was banned, but I have heard that it is a favorite of serial killers, so maybe there's something to it...?

    1. Agree, many bans are just inconceivable. The Catcher in Rye, might be banned because of the cuss words, but that vocabulary is inevitable for the targeted readers. Teenagers will be exposed to it anyway! (ironically that is pretty much depicted in that book too) :P

      Oh yes! I remember there was some famous serial killer who liked The Catcher in Rye a lot. Wonder if there is any legitimate connection. haha! I like that book too.

      I think hate literature provides another dimension to the literary world. I haven't read Mein Kempf, and if I will read it I think will not internalize hate expressed by Hitler. I would rather read it to analyse and understand the history. Perhaps, also Hitler's world's view. I am unlikely to pick Mein Kempf anytime soon. However, I would like to have a right to read it. I would like to make my own choices.

      I believe banning books is an attempt to takes the right to make that choice. Hateful Ideas are not difficult to access. Books, on the other hand, are educational in one way or the other.

  5. I agree. Any idea that exists will find a way. Books have been conventional mode, now we have the new media and social channels funning a thought or idea. Very well written post. I have read only Animal Farm.

    1. Thank you! :)
      I agree new media is a faster mode of exchanging ideas.