It makes sense, when you think about it, that books that tend to make a big splash in the media are often the same works that end up being scrutinized for their content. For one, they are usually widely read. For another, their popularity suggests that their authors may be particularly adept at descriptive writing, making any potentially offensive content -- especially of a sexual or violent nature -- all the more vivid on the page.
Still, it may be a surprise to some to see “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins and “Water for Elephants” by Sarah Gruen among the books on the American Library Associations’s annual list of challenged or banned books.
Other titles on this year’s list include “Snow Falling on Cedars” and that recurring favorite, “The Catcher in the Rye.”
Banned Books week is being celebrated this year from Sept. 24 through Oct. 1. Not a bad time to pick up a copy of the Koran, Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening,” or Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian.”
Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read while drawing attention to the harms of censorship. Books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings, most often for sexual or racist content, or for the use of profanity. Challenges represent requests to remove the books from the shelves.
In most cases the books were not banned, but some may have been restricted by age use or other factors as a result of the challenge.
For details about why these titles were challenged, go to www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek/.
Here’s a look at the list.
“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie
“Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson
“The Flamingo Rising” by Larry Baker
“The Notebook Girls: Four Friends, One Diary, Real Life” by Julia Baskin, Lindsey Newman, Sophie Pollitt-Cohen and Courtney Toombs
“Forever in Blue, the Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood” by Ann Brashares
“Running with Scissors” by Augusten Burroughs
“My Mom’s Having a Baby” by Dori Hillestad Butler
“Betrayed” by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
“The Awakening” by Kate Chopin
“The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins
“Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes” by Chris Crutcher
“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer
“Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank
“Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen
“Snow Falling on Cedars” by David Guterson
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” by Mark Haddon
“The Dead Man in Indian Creek” by Mary DowningHahn
“Get Well Soon” by Julie Halpern
“Snakehead” by Anthony Horowitz
“Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley
“Stolen Children” by Peg Kehret
“Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India” by Joseph Lelveld
“Vegan Virgin Valentine” by Carolyn Mackler
“What’s Happening to My Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-up Guide for Parents & Sons” by Lynda Madaras and Dane Saavedra
“Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth’s Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa” by Mark Mathabane
“Shooting Star” by Fredrick McKissack, Jr.
“Writers’ Voice: Selected from Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir” by Paul Monette
“Tweaked: A Crystal Meth Memoir” by Patrick Moore
“Song of Solomon” by Toni Morrison
“ttyl” by Lauren Myracle
“Twenty Boy Summer” by Sarah Ockler
“The Body of Christopher Creed” by Carol Plum-Ucci
“The Catcher in the Rye” by J. D.Salinger
“Sapphire” by Push (Ramona Lofton)
“Pit Bulls and Tenacious Guard Dogs” by Carl Semenci
“We’ll Be Here for the Rest of Our Lives” by Paul Shaffer
“The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star” by Nikki Sixx
“Bone” by Jeff Smith
“One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies” by Sonya Sones
“Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology,” edited by Amy Sonnie
“Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut
“Jubilee” by Margaret Walker
“Paint Me Like I Am: Teen Poems” by WritersCorps