Banned Books: Persepolis, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, and Nickled and Dimed

This post is part of a series for Banned Books Week 2013 and some information may be outdated. Questions? Please reach out to us online or at the Information Desk.

Christina

Christina Hennessey, Cataloging Librarian

What is your favorite Banned Book?

Brave New World is a book I return to again and again over the years, and it is my favorite book, banned or not. Even though it was published in 1931 (!), it correctly predicted much of how society would turn out in the future. It is also a really entertaining read regardless of what decade you read it in. Read it in concert with Orwell’s 1984, and you will never see the world the same way.

Why is Banned Books Week important to you?

Instead of banning books outright that may confuse, confound, or anger readers, we should educate them to read critically and take books in the proper context.

Looking over the American Library Association’s lists of banned and challenged books, which have you found to be the most surprising and why?

I am amused to see that the Captain Underpants series are the most challenged books of 2012. God forbid that we acknowledge that people wear underpants, that one might have a professor with the name of Professor Pippy Pee-Pee Poopypants, or that bad guys could get sent to Uranus.

Alex

Alexander Justice, Reference Librarian

What is your favorite Banned Book?

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Why is Banned Books Week important to you?

Almost everyone wants to ban something. Banned books week reminds us to get outside of our own prejudices and to not try to play Big Brother.

Looking over the lists of banned and challenged books, which have you found to be the most surprising and why?

Persepolis. We really need to understand the experiences and points of view of countries and cultures that are the target of polemics and politicians. I think our relationship with Iran could and should be better, and that’s one way to get there.

Mahnaz

Mahnaz Ghaznavi, Curator of the University Archives

What is your favorite Banned Book?

One of my favorite banned books appears on the ALA’s Top 10 challenged books for 2010 list is Barbara Ehrenheich’s Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. As suggested by its title, the book is about contemporary working class life, and the fate of the overwhelming number of Americans who earn minimum wages that are inadequate for supporting themselves and their families. The reasons cited on the ALA Top 10 list for why this book should be banned are “drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, and religious viewpoint” . Although the book was published in 2001, it continues to garner opposition, as it did in 2010 by communities in New Hampshire and again, in 2012 in Pennsylvania.

Why is Banned Books Week important to you?

Banned Books Week is important because it brings us face to face with the First Amendment of the Constitution, the cornerstone of democracy in the United States.

Looking over the lists of banned and challenged books, which have you found to be the most surprising and why?

In a democratic country, I find each and every title on the ALA list to be surprising (in a bad way).