Click for St. Louis, Missouri Forecast

// a href = ./ // St Louis News, Weather, Sports, The Big 550 AM, St Louis Traffic, Breaking News in St Louis

 
 
 

   NEW YORK (AP) — Here's a list "Fifty Shades of Grey" was destined to make: The books most likely to be removed from school and library shelves.

   On Monday, E L James' multimillion selling erotic trilogy placed No. 4 on the American Library Association's annual study of "challenged books," works subject to complaints from parents, educators and other members of the public. The objections: Offensive language, and, of course, graphic sexual content.

   No. 1 was a not a story of the bedroom, but the bathroom, Dav Pilkey's "Captain Underpants" books (Offensive language, unsuited for age group), followed by Sherman Alexie's prize-winning "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" (Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit), and Jay Asher's "Thirteen Reasons Why"(Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide). Also on the list, at No. 10, Nobel laureate Toni Morrison's "Beloved" (Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence).

   "It's pretty exciting to be on a list that frequently features Mark Twain, Harper Lee, and Maya Angelou," Pilkey said in a statement. "But I worry that some parents might see this list and discourage their kids from reading 'Captain Underpants,' even though they have not had a chance to read the books themselves."

   The library association's Office for Intellectual Freedom defines a challenge as a "formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness." The office received 464 challenges last year, a jump of more 25 percent from 2011, but still low compared to the 1980s and '90s. Exact numbers, including how many books were actually pulled, are hard to calculate. The association has long believed that for every complaint registered, 4-5 go unreported by libraries, and that some librarians may restrict access in anticipation of objections.

   "One reason we think the number went up in 2012 is that we made challenges easier to report by including a portal on our Web page," said Barbara M. Jones, director of the OIF.

   The challenged books list was included in the library association's annual "State of the Libraries" report which examines how libraries are responding to budget cuts and the financial advice they offer for patrons during hard economic times.

   The "Fifty Shades" books were released last spring and public libraries in Georgia, Florida and elsewhere soon pulled the racy romance trilogy or decided not to order the books, saying they were too steamy or too poorly written. Local library representatives at the time denounced the novels as "semi-pornographic" and unfit for "community standards."

   But the list also included some works highly regarded in the literary community: Morrison's "Beloved," winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Alexie's novel, a National Book Award winner; and a book club favorite, Khaled Hosseini's "The Kite Runner" (Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit). Young adult star John Green was on, for "Looking for Alaska" (Offensive language, sexually explicit), along with perennial chart-maker "And Tango Makes Three," by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, the story of two male penguins who raise a baby penguin. Also on the list were Alvin Schwartz's "Scary Stories" (unsuited for age group) and Jeanette Wells' memoir "The Glass Castle." (Offensive language, sexually explicit).

   The "Captain Underpants" books, which Green said he's currently reading to his 3-year-old son, have long been debated among parents and educators. Some praise the books because they encourage boys to read, others criticize them for their toilet humor and irreverent attitude; the title character is a superhero devised by two 4th graders about their grouchy principal, Mr. Krupp.

   "I don't see these books as encouraging disrespect for authority. Perhaps they demonstrate the value of questioning authority," Pilkey said. "Some of the authority figures in the Captain Underpants books are villains. They are bullies and they do vicious things."

   Pilkey said his characters are based in part on teachers and principals he had between grades 2 and 5 — some of whom were villains who got away with it because they were authority figures.

   "None of the children in my school, including me, thought to question them," he said. "So, I do feel there is real value in showing kids that not all authority figures are good or kind or honorable."

   Challenged books are a measure of trouble, but also a measure of popularity, whether as a cause or an effect. Some famous entries from recent years have dropped off the top 10, likely a sign of reduced attention overall: J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" books, Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" series, Suzanne Collins' "Hunger Games" trilogy. Jones thinks some publishers "love it when their book is mentioned" because of the attention it receives, while Green agrees that getting on the list "means lots of people are reading your book."

   The president of Scholastic's trade division, Ellie Berger, said in a statement that the "appearance of Captain Underpants on the 2012 ALA list coincides with the publication of Dav Pilkey's first new 'Captain Underpants' book in six years and the series' return to national bestseller lists — both of which are evidence that this longtime bestselling series continues to inspire a love of reading (and underpants) for a new generation of kids."

Published in National News

Latest News

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
Prev Next
EUROPE: DIET SWEETENER ASPARTAME IS SAFE IN COLA

EUROPE: DIET SWEETENER ASPARTAME IS SAFE IN COLA

AMSTERDAM (AP) -- The European Food Safety Authority has found that the artificial sweetener aspartame is safe for people to consume at the levels currently used in diet soft dr...

AFTER A DECADE, GLOBAL AIDS PROGRAM LOOKS AHEAD

AFTER A DECADE, GLOBAL AIDS PROGRAM LOOKS AHEAD

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The decade-old law that transformed the battle against HIV and AIDS in developing countries is at a crossroads. The dream of future generations freed from epidem...

STUDIES SHOW BIG PROMISE FOR HIV PREVENTION DRUG

STUDIES SHOW BIG PROMISE FOR HIV PREVENTION DRUG

Exciting research suggests that a shot every one to three months may someday give an alternative to the daily pills that some people take now to cu...

NEW LYME DISEASE ESTIMATE: 300,000 CASES A YEAR

NEW LYME DISEASE ESTIMATE: 300,000 CASES A YEAR

ATLANTA (AP) -- Lyme disease is about 10 times more common than previously reported, health officials said Monday. As many as 300,000 Americans are actually diagnosed with Lyme ...

GENE FLAWS COMMON IN BLACKS WITH BREAST CANCER

GENE FLAWS COMMON IN BLACKS WITH BREAST CANCER

CHICAGO (AP) -- Gene flaws that raise the risk of breast cancer are surprisingly common in black women with the disease, according to the first comprehensive testing in this racial...

HPV VACCINE FOR BOYS HAS 'GOOD START' IN 1ST YEAR

HPV VACCINE FOR BOYS HAS 'GOOD START' IN 1ST YEAR

ATLANTA (AP) -- When the HPV vaccine was first recommended for boys, health officials worried it would be an unusually hard sell. But a new report suggests that might not be the ca...

GOLDEN YEARS SHORTER, SICKER IN SOUTHERN STATES

GOLDEN YEARS SHORTER, SICKER IN SOUTHERN STATES

ATLANTA (AP) -- If you're 65 and living in Hawaii, here's some good news: Odds are you'll live another 21 years. And for all but five of those years, you'll likely be in pretty goo...

© 2013 KTRS All Rights Reserved