Cozy up with a banned book today

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Library will play matchmaker between readers and controversial tomes.

By Juan Anthony Rodriguez

The librarians might just have your perfect match. Let them fix you up on a date with a past, one with a fair share of run-ins with the naysayers for violations of good taste and decency.

Hook-ups with the bad boys and girls of literature are on the third floor of Moody Learning Center Sept. 22-25, coinciding with National Banned Book Week.

Celebrate free speech and freedom of choice with literature that was once prohibited, challenged or has been the subject of social debate content deemed graphic.

So take advantage of your rights and go on a date with a banned book.

Librarian Celita DeArmond first presented Banned Book Blind Date in 2013 for Banned Books Week.

Librarians will display books chosen from the American Library Association’s list of frequently challenged books of the 21st century.

Books can be challenged on the basis of material considered “sexually explicit” or containing “offensive language” or deemed “unsuited to any age group.”

The list includes “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker, “Beloved” by Toni Morrison and “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller.

The American Library Association catalogs reasons books are challenged, including subject matter or content perceived as being anti-ethnic or including offensive language, racism, cultural sensitivity, sexism, occult/Satanism, abortion, nudity or homosexuality.

As advertised by the name, the banned books are under wraps, disguising the cover, title and author until check-out. Then, readers will learn their date’s identity.

Each morning, librarians will put out 10 books that have been banned or challenged. “We will put out a few each day to kind of give more people a chance to participate in the event,” library assistant Leticia Alvarado said.

All the books, at one time or another, have been on the banned book list.

Participants in Banned Book Blind Date must be current students or employees with a valid college ID.

“Students will also be given a gift bag filled with goodies for a date with the book,” Alvarado said.

For more information about Banned Book Blind Date, visit Moody Learning Center or call 210-486-0554.

For more information on Banned Book Week, visit

Who knows? Maybe you will find true love.



Top 10 Challenged Books of 2013

Out of 307 challenges as reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom

1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey

Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence

2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison

Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence

3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

4. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group

6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone

Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit

7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green

Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya

Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit

10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith

Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence




According to the Office for Intellectual Freedom, at least 46 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century have been the target of ban attempts.

Visit the Banned Books Week Web site at

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck

4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker

6. Ulysses, by James Joyce

7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison

8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

9. 1984, by George Orwell

11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov

12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller

16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell

18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway

19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner

20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway

23. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston

24. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison

25. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison

26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell

27. Native Son, by Richard Wright

28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey

29. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway

33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London

36. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin

38. All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren

40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien

45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair

48. Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence

49. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess

50. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin

53. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote

55. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie

57. Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron

64. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence

66. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut

67. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles

73. Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs

74. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh

75. Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence

80. The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer

84. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller

88. An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser

97. Rabbit, Run, by John Updike

The titles not included may have been banned or challenged, but the Office for Intellectual Freedom has not received any reports on them.


1 Comment

  1. It’s just amazing to see the list of challenged books – many of my favorites. It reminds me of Nazi Germany and the book burnings. This is not unlike the environment with our current government. Democrats claim to be very liberal and accepting of everyone – unless you disagree with them. Our mainstream media represents one side of the story and seems to protect our President at any cost. This doesn’t feel like freedom of speech. Just as I will continue to read books on the above list, please don’t be complacent and only listen to the taking points that you are provided by one side. You are young – but you are smarter than that.

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