Last year during Banned Books Week I wrote a deliberately semi-provocative post about the number of books actually banned in the United States. (Hint: The answer is zero.) I think that’s important to remember and celebrate. There were some books removed from school libraries or curricula that year though:
Books removed from public libraries in 2010-2011: 0
Books removed from a school library or curriculum in 2010-2012: 9
I thought I’d follow up with this year’s American Library Association report. Here are this year’s results:
Books removed from public libraries in 2012-2013: 1
Books removed from a school library or curriculum in 2012-2013: 11
The results look pretty similar to last year, although I’m disturbed to see a book removed from a public library. The thing I was pleased to see is that the ALA has begun to include censorship in other countries in their reports. Here’s the info from their report:
Stone Dreams by Akram Aylisli
Burned (2013) at various locations around Azerbaijan. The novella is sympathetic to Armenians and recounts Azeri atrocities in the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Twenty years ago. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev stripped the author of his titleof “People’s Writer” and the pension that goes with it. A pro-government political party in Baku, Azerbaijan, announced that it will pay $12,700 to anyone who cuts off the ear of the 75-year-old novelist for portraying Azerbaijanis as savages.
[My thought: Cutting off people’s ears is a great way to disprove allegations of savagery]
Allah, Liberty, and Love by Manji, Irshad
Banned (2012) because officials in Malaysia said it went against Islamic teachings and led to a raid on a bookstore in the country. Activists and others said they believe Manji’s book was banned because she is a lesbian.
Muslin Women and the Challenges of Islamic Extremism edited by Norani Othman
Banned by the Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs (2008) on the grounds that it was “prejudicial to public order” and that it could confuse Muslims, particularly Muslim women. The Malaysian High Court overturned the ban on January 25, 2010, and on March 14, 2103, the Federal Court threw out the government’s appeal to reinstate the ban.
Two books I read this year which were banned in their country of origin:
In Praise Of Hatred by Khaled Khalifa (Syria)
One Day of Life by Manlio Argueta (El Salvador).