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Have you ever read a banned book?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on October 4, 2007

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Photo of Martha McPhail

The Scarlet Letter,’ ‘Huckleberry Finn,’ ‘Catcher in the Rye’ and I listened to ‘A Brave New World’ on tape.”

Photo of Austin Pulliam

“Do any of my old science textbooks count?”

Photo of Allison Olaes

Sold,’ by Patricia McCormick, which is about the sex slave trade in Nepal, and ‘Speak,’ by Laurie Halse Anderson, which is about a girl who is raped before her first day of high school and is alienated by her peers.”

Photo of Jared Burcham

“I don’t think so. It wouldn’t bother me that it was banned, I just haven’t come across any that I wanted to read.”


Flap Doodle 8 years ago

R_I, I think that was "Shoggoths Don't Cry".

jonas 8 years ago

Read a bunch of them. People ban all sorts of books, for little to no rational reason at all.

Crossfire 8 years ago

OJ's If I Did It book. Oh wait, that one is still banned.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years ago

Harley: The question was about "READING" banned books.

Godot 8 years ago

If a book was truly banned, how could anyone get a copy to read? This is trumped up. There is no book banning in the US in general, it is done by small jurisdictions to reflect the sensibilities of the community they represent. No entity (other than the Clinton machine) can ban a book from being published and sold.

toefungus 8 years ago

This seems to be an annual article.

trinity 8 years ago

yep, i sure have! and some of 'em are classics. oh-and i agree with godot.

Flap Doodle 8 years ago

The Hardy Boys at the Mountains of Madness

acg 8 years ago

I also agree with godot. They can "ban" a book in your local school/local library but you can always get it from somewhere else. And now, with the internet, you can order a book, any book and have it in a few weeks. The only book I've ever had a hard time getting ahold of was Necronomicon. I had to go to three bookstores before I could find one that would order it for me and that was the Raven downtown (love that store!!). This was the early 90's though. I bet it would be easier to get now.

mom_of_three 8 years ago

I am not sure I ever went to a school where a book was pulled from the shelves.
But I read all kinds of books not allowed in other libraries. When I was in high school, I think it was "Mr. and Mrs. Jones" or something like that. I have read a lot of the classic books.

Ceallach 8 years ago

I went to school so long ago that by the time "banning" became popular I had read many of them. What is the porpoise of this question? Should we feel guilty, proud, or what?

Godot 8 years ago

Darwin's "The Origina of the Speicies," is available for sale and at libraries in Kansas.

If only we could ban lies and distortions, but, alas, that, too, is protected speech.

Haiku_Cuckoo 8 years ago

If only we could ban lies and distortions, but, alas, that, too, is protected speech.

If we did that, how would Michael Moore survive?

Godot 8 years ago

It is worth pointing out that not choosing a book to be on a reading list is the other side of the coin that forces people to read certain books on a reading list or face a failing grade. It is all about perspective.

preebo 8 years ago

Does Mein Kampf count? I don't think so, but it might have been at one time.

...probably the most interesting/seriously disturbing book I've read.

geekin_topekan 8 years ago

In '79 I was given a copy of the Anarchists' Cookbook. I remember holding onto it well into my Twenties but somewhere along the line it dissappeared. Tell you the truth I was hoping it would contain some philosophy behind anarchism.But,it was mostly directions on how to build IEDs,improvised hand to hand and drugs.

Godot 8 years ago

Pywacket, I respected your post until you used the phrase, "fundies," without balancing it with the statement that there are several books the left-wing wackos would like to see banned, as well.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 8 years ago

If books are banned, only only the banned will have books? Yeah, I've read several "banned" books. That's why I'm in this institution!

yourworstnightmare 8 years ago

It sounds good, Godot, but which books would left-wing wackos like to see banned? I can't think of any.

sunflower_sue 8 years ago

Under Py's well defined parameters...yes. Actually, the list is really too long to publish, therefore, I'm going to ban the publication of my own list. It is interesting, however, to go to a "banned book" list and read the titles. Way more than I would have thought and I've read many. Also interesting to note is that quite a few of them were required reading in highschool.

Godot 8 years ago

Regarding the lies and distortions, I was referring to Logicsound's post about Darwin being banned in Kansas. That is an outright lie.

ms_canada 8 years ago

Just as pywacket has stated, many books have been at one time banned but later released. Many years ago the book Fanny was widely banned as being absolutely pornographic. I somehow got hold of a copy after is was released and I felt completely wicked reading it. Sure was an education for me, though. I was so innocent, can't believe it. And guess what, not only was that book released but it was made into a movie starring that hunky Sean Bean. No holds were barred in that film. Naughty me, I did enjoy that film. Or filim, as the Irish are wont to say.
Oh and thanks to you ladies for your suggestions about piano playing of yesterday, but after my admissions this morning, perhaps you want nothing more to do with a wicked person like me.

ms_canada 8 years ago

Pardon me, I am so confused this am. It was not Fanny that starred Sean Bean, it was that other infamous book, Lady Chatterly's Lover. Well, I did read them both so guess the confusion could be excused. boy, I am truly wicked. :o)

ms_canada 8 years ago

The book was Fanny Hill or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure written my John Cleland in 1749. Does anyone else remember that book? I know, I know, none of you good people are as old as ms canada, but there was a really big stink about that book years ago. And so I just had to see what all the fuss was about.

sunflower_sue 8 years ago

Ms_C, thanks for the suggestion. I'm going to Amazon right now... (Was it really that risque or was it just "showing too much ankle?")

Haiku_Cuckoo 8 years ago

The book was Fanny Hill or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure written my John Cleland in 1749. Does anyone else remember that book?

Was "Fanny Hill" the name of the woman in the book or was it the name of the district where the women of pleasure worked?

ms_canada 8 years ago

Fanny Hill was the name of the woman. Golly, this was so long ago that I read that book. I must have been all of 20 years old. And as I remember, sunflower, it was very descriptive and risque. I just read, a couple of weeks ago, the book In The Company Of The Courtesan by Sarah Dunant. Not risque at all. Good heavens I am really giving my reading choices away. Sunflower, can you testify that I read other books that are not controversial or naughty? Heh, friend? I read about 60 or more books a year, mostly history.

Flap Doodle 8 years ago

There was also a scandalous novel called "Three Weeks" published early in the 20th Century that was banned in Boston. "Banned in Boston" later became something of an unofficial advertising slogan for books that publishers wanted to pitch as racy.

xyz 8 years ago

Yep...I read something about John Philip Souza.

sunflower_sue 8 years ago

Public Service Announcment: "Ms_C does not read only controversial and/or naughty books!" (Did that sound convincing?) ;o)

Grundoon Luna 8 years ago

Godot (Anonymous) says:

Darwin's "The Origina of the Speicies," is available for sale and at libraries in Kansas.

If only we could ban lies and distortions, but, alas, that, too, is protected speech.

Yeah, Rush Limbaugh and FAUX News would have to hit the road.

Godot 8 years ago

Azure Attitude, please provide specific examples.

Godot 8 years ago

The difference between my post and Azure Attitude's about lies and distortions is that mine responded to a specific, false, statement made by Logicsoun04; Azure Attitude made a broad sweeping condemnation of all statements made by a news organzation and an individua without a hint of, without one iota, of proof. That is the difference between debate and blather.

sgtwolverine 8 years ago

I've read a banned book list or two; I hope that counts, because it was a waste of my time. I am tired of the victim mentality, and I get the feeling some of those lists are claiming victim status for no good reason.

Grundoon Luna 8 years ago

Godot, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah . . .

Here's a quote I heard on a Rush show, "Feminism was create so that dumpy women would have access to society." Well, I have a good question: Who gave that dumpy sac o'crap access to society? Dumpy women aren't fit for society. Oh, and those soldiers that don't agree with him are "phony." The examples are abundant, it's just some choose to ignore it since the garbage he spews fits so well in their tiny little minds.

You aren't capable of debate. All that you are suited for is maligning criticism.

And you call what I say blather.

Ceallach 8 years ago

I've been trying to tell y'all . . . ms_c is a Wild Woman :):)

Grundoon Luna 8 years ago

Perhaps I should finish that thought: Dumpy women aren't fit for society but dumpy men are?

Go ahead and faithfully follow those who spuriously spout family values, ethics and morality - the thrice divorced and drug addicted Limbaugh and the sexual predator O'Rielly - but don't live them. The epitomy of hypocrisy and ignorance.

Grundoon Luna 8 years ago

Ms_C, go on with your bad self!! There's nothing wrong with a little excitement!

sfjayhawk 8 years ago

"Do any of my old science textbooks count?"

The pseudoscience text "Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins" - ought to be banned from science class

Godot 8 years ago

Again, Azure Attitudes fails to discern between stated opinion and stated fact.

Godot 8 years ago

Azure Attitude, if anyone ever responds to me in a civil manner with facts and logic, I do debate.

GretchenJP 8 years ago

Are You There God It's Me Margaret

GretchenJP 8 years ago

If a book is banned in the middle of the forest and nobody is around, is it still banned?

H_Lecter 8 years ago

"Why would you want to read when you got the television set sitting right in front of you? There's nothing you can get from a book that you can't get from a television faster."

From the movie Matilda, Matilda's father speaking to Matilda.

Baille 8 years ago

"No entity (other than the Clinton machine) can ban a book from being published and sold."

Really? The FBI stopped "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse" for years. By the time Matthiessen got it out there, its impact was severely diminished.

Godot 8 years ago

Baille, how did the FBI accomplish that?

denak 8 years ago

Let's see. I went through 12 years of Catholic Schooling, so I can say that I've read quite a few Banned Books starting with The Bible. Moving on to Catcher in the Rye, Tom Sawyer, Uncle Tom's Cabin, The Outsider's and I'm sure quite a lot of Shakespere.

I loved Judy Blume when I was young and I vividly remember reading "Are you there God, It's me Margaret" When I first started doing foster care, one of the first books I bought was that book because I thought it would help some of my kiddos deal with spirituality and sexuality honestly.

And now, I am a Harry Potter fanatic. And the foster kids I have now, LOVE Captain Underpants and Goosebumps, which are also banned series.

So, I love banned books. If they weren't banned, I don't know what I would read.


P.S. I've never read Lady Chatterley's Lover but I did use to sneak downstairs when I was younger and watch the soft porn version on Cinemax. Thank God, they didn't have the V-Chip then. ;)

yourworstnightmare 8 years ago

Hey Godot, we are still waiting for that list of books that "left-wing wackos" want banned. Are you referring to Huckleberry Finn?

Baille 8 years ago

"Baille, how did the FBI accomplish that?"

Frivolous lawsuits.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 8 years ago

I think it's sad that Jared Burcham, a senior at KU no less, has never read a banned book. I think he is one of those people who will earn a degree, but have never read anything they weren't required to read. There are a lot of degreed people out there who are uneducated about the world, because they do not read.

Crispian Paul 8 years ago

About a really, so many of what is considered good literature was at one point widely banned....Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Go Ask Alice, To Kill a Mockingbird, Howl, Annie on my Mind, The Color Purple, Of Mice and Men, Huck Finn, plays by Heinrich Ibsen......In fact, I agree that the kid abive who said he'd never probably has (if he is doing his homework) as most of these are assigned at some point or another in most people's education.

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