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Banned Books published by Google 392

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the don't-see-my-autobiography-yet dept.
Lens Hood Man writes "Marking the 25th anniversary of Banned Books Week, Google is inviting users to celebrate their freedom to read by making Banned Books available to all. From the Google Blog: "...you can use Google Book Search to explore some of the best novels of the 20th century which have been challenged or banned." Those books challenged this year include 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and 'Lolita'."
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Banned Books published by Google

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  • by 192939495969798999 (58312) <info.devinmoore@com> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @11:44AM (#16096407) Homepage Journal
    China will just see a big photo of Mao when you try to load the books on Google. Maybe they could get a backdrop of the glowing fire from a pile of books being burned too!
    • Maybe they could get a backdrop of the glowing fire from a pile of books being burned too!
      That would imply that the books ever existed. It simply won't do.

      Cool links. [blogspot.com]
  • Just previews? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Utopia (149375) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @11:47AM (#16096420)
    It seems to just previews not the whole books.

     
  • A bit misleading (Score:5, Informative)

    by jagilbertvt (447707) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @11:50AM (#16096431)
    "Google is inviting users to celebrate their freedom to read by making Banned Books available to all."

    Google has not made these books available to read online, it just gives you the ability to find a library that has the book.
  • these are banned? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by brunascle (994197)

    these books are actually banned? this lists sounds more like a list of required-reading books than banned books.

    put Anarchist Cookbook on there. i dare you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kalirion (728907)
      Headline is misleading. It's "Banned and/or challenged" books, and I have a feeling that most of them have been merely challenged. A parent complaining to the school board about a book seems to be enough to put it in this list. And the ones where were actually "Banned" have merely been banned by one school district or another or some such nonesense. And then the ban was usually overturned. I don't think any of these books are currently banned by the U.S. Government.
      • by pla (258480)
        And the ones where were actually "Banned" have merely been banned by one school district or another or some such nonesense.

        Find me a copy of Wilhelm Reich's Creation. Or a 1922 edition of Joyce's Ulysses.

        Freedom of the press, indeed.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Exatron (124633)
        Cute use of quotation marks to belittle others while completely missing the point. A book can be banned at any level of government. The point of these lists is to show just how stupid banning and challenging books really is.
    • by ArsSineArtificio (150115) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:10PM (#16096596) Homepage
      these books are actually banned? this lists sounds more like a list of required-reading books than banned books.

      These "Banned Books" lists that librarians like to trumpet tend to be lists of books which were ever banned anywhere by any library at any time, not books which are banned today. So if they can find that some old biddy in Vermont in 1903 didn't like "Huckleberry Finn", it goes straight on the list. The conclusion that you're supposed to draw is that Literature is Under Attack Even Today by Reactionaries who are hiding under your bed.
      • by Elemenope (905108) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:24PM (#16096741)
        Sounds like someone doesn't live in hickville. Or belonged to a PTA anywhere. To believe that banning books is either temporally remote or over with is naive AND incorrect. These days parents seem to just are about different stuff, like 'promoting witchcraft' (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings). And sometimes, they succeed for a time (till a suit or injunction slaps them back into shape). Same shite, different decade.
      • by soft_guy (534437)
        Literature is Under Attack Even Today by Reactionaries who are hiding under your bed.

        And also that any book currently banned isn't really literature and doesn't deserve any attention/protection.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by PapayaSF (721268)

        These "Banned Books" lists that librarians like to trumpet tend to be lists of books which were ever banned anywhere by any library at any time, not books which are banned today. So if they can find that some old biddy in Vermont in 1903 didn't like "Huckleberry Finn", it goes straight on the list. The conclusion that you're supposed to draw is that Literature is Under Attack Even Today by Reactionaries who are hiding under your bed.

        In general I agree, though there are recent complaints about Huckleberry

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kfg (145172) *
      this lists sounds more like a list of required-reading books than banned books.

      Why do you think there are people who would like to see them banned?

      I've got a friend who was raised a JW who was turned from the path of rightousness by the simple act of reading Have Spacesuit Will Travel. His parents weren't happy (and have been shunning him for decades). He wasn't even allowed to visit a library, but obtained the book by the simple invention of placing a library in a bus; the Bookmobile.

      The book came to him w
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by bbagnall (608125)
      Most of these books have been carried everywhere since they were published: in every library, in every book store. As you say, most are actually required reading by government run public highschools. That doesn't seem to be much of a ban. "Jewish Supremacism" by David Duke - now that should make the list. It's officially banned in Canada and gets intercepted at the border and burned. That to me constitutes a real, actual banned book.
  • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @11:56AM (#16096475)
    Great! I've been meaning to read up on some musical history.
  • Lolita? (Score:2, Informative)

    by rduke15 (721841)
    Has Lolita really been banned? In the US?

    I thought there was something in the US constitution about "freedom of speech". Is it still possible to ban a book? And a book which happens to be one of the best books by one of the best authors of the 20th century...

    What about the beautiful Kubrick film with Peter Sellers?
    • Only a few of these appear to have been challenged recently. But yes, in the US, especially when it comes to children, people still freak out over naughty words. Because they are morons.
    • by plague3106 (71849)
      Banned from doing a book report on said book. Thats what they mean when they say banned or challanged.

      There was an episode of that sitcom MJF was in that dealt with this; his characters sister was told she couldn't do a book report on a certain book, but she did anyway and presented it.

      Fortunately I think that crap has died out, but I remember it being a hot topic in the 80s. My HS required us to read several of the books on that list. I wish F451 got more attention; similar to 1984 and addresses this to
      • Re:Lolita? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Silver Sloth (770927) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:26PM (#16096757)
        Fortunately I think that crap has died out,
        This link http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/bannedbooksweek/bbwlink s/100mostfrequently.htm [ala.org] is the list of the top 100 banned/challenged books 1990 - 2000. That's only six years ago, and if you think the US has got more liberal in the last six years...
      • Oh, more on Fortunately I think that crap has died out
        This is the top ten challenged in 2005

        The "10 Most Challenged Books of 2005" reflect a range of themes. The books are:
        * "It's Perfectly Normal" for homosexuality, nudity, sex education, religious viewpoint, abortion and being unsuited to age group;
        * "Forever" by Judy Blume for sexual content and offensive language;
        * "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger for sexual content, offensive language and being unsuited to age group;
        * "

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by plopez (54068)
      I'm waiting for Google to get hit with child pornongraphy charges on that one...
  • by SlashdotOgre (739181) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @11:57AM (#16096487) Journal
    When I was in college I picked up 100 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature [1] from my college bookstore. It does a great job of categorizing the books based on why/where they were banned, sumarizing the criticism, etc. Also another good list [2] is published by the American Library Association; it's supposedly the most challenged books from 1990-2000.

    [1] http://www.amazon.com/100-Banned-Books-Censorship- Literature/dp/0816040591 [amazon.com]
    [2] http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/bannedbooksweek/bbwlink s/100mostfrequently.htm [ala.org]

  • by shoolz (752000) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:00PM (#16096517) Homepage
    From the list of Top 100 challenged books: [ala.org]

    #7 : Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
    #19: Sex by Madonna
    #88: Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford
    • by Aladrin (926209)
      'Where's Waldo?' was challenged!? Was his hide n seek strategy not up to par?
      • by Hyram Graff (962405) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:14PM (#16096639)

        "Where's Waldo?" was challenged because of one part in the beach scene where a kid is sticking an ice cream cone on the back of a young lady causing her to lift her topless chest off the ground enough to see breasts. (It should be noted that her top is on the towel under her.)

      • by monoqlith (610041)
        I believe the reason was that in the book, "Where's Waldo? Find Waldo Now!", Waldo is found in one frame hiding inside a woman's vagina.

        Apparently one of the frames from the adult edition of the book was mistakenly placed inside a proof for the children's edition. The scene depicted is a giant orgy.

        This is, of course, a scandalous oversight. Children should not have to see Waldo's head sticking out of some poor woman's crotch.
    • by Exatron (124633)
      And who gave you the authority to decide which books are considered meaningful?
  • Is this for real? Are people seriously challenging/banning some of these books? Just at the names of some of these books.

    1984, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Lord of the Flies, Ulysses, Heart of Darkness, A Farewell to Arms, Invisible Man.

    Why not just ban all books from the second half of the 20th century and be done with it? These are CLASSICS, the books literature experts practically memorize by heart. What next? Are we going to ban The Odyssey because of the violence?

  • Excellent timing. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by M-2 (41459) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:07PM (#16096573) Homepage
    Considering we're coming up on Banned Books Week 2006 [ala.org], this is the perfect time to make these books available.

    And yes, every book that Google has up there has been banned or challenged in public libraries across the country. There are still places where 'To Kill A Mockingbird' or 'Tom Sawyer' are considered improper reading for children - and for adults.

    Good work, Google. Keep on it.
  • As is in the case in so many of these situations, this list has just piqued my interest more. I've read many of these novels but now I just have more in my reading list.
  • (from TFA):

    The Call of the Wild
    James Baldwin
    "Baldwin... has really unusual substantive powers but conventional ingenuity in form...[a] beautiful, furious first novel." - The New York Times

    I do believe it was Jack London.
  • I was surprised to find that five of the 42 "banned books" were ones I studied at high school in the 1970s: To Kill a Mockingbird, 1984, Lord of the Flies, Brave New World, Sons & Lovers.

    That's 12%. Can anyone do better?
  • Getting excited about stuff that isn't actually banned anymore is a pretty cheap and easy way of feeling like a rebel ...

    Banned books are a historical curiosity now, at least in the lands where people are going to get excited about this. You aren't brave for reading Lolita.
  • by bigattichouse (527527) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:16PM (#16096657) Homepage
    Google Cut and Paste for the LOSE! The correct entry: Go Tell it on the Mountain James Baldwin "Baldwin... has really unusual substantive powers but conventional ingenuity in form...[a] beautiful, furious first novel." - The New York Times Books about Go Tell it on the Mountain followed later by the incorrect entry: The Call of the Wild James Baldwin "Baldwin... has really unusual substantive powers but conventional ingenuity in form...[a] beautiful, furious first novel." - The New York Times Books about The Call of the Wild
  • Banned... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DarkBlackFox (643814) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:20PM (#16096692)
    And yet, close to 70% of the books listed there were part of my high school's English curriculum. Not "suggested reading," or anything else we had to read on our own, but part of the coursework over my 4 years of high school. Maybe that's just how we do thing around here, but as "contraversial" as the subject matter of each book may or may not be, I can read that list and remember the ideas presented from each book. I remember discussing the credits and demerits of each concept in an objective way as part of the class. I can't see why anyone would want to ban these literary icons from schools or libraries, when the dissection of each only lends to the ability to think freely and creatively, and develop critical thinking and reasoning skills.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Perhaps the reason behind banning such books is to PREVENT "the ability to think freely and creatively, and develop critical thinking and reasoning skills".

      Such abilities are dangerous to existing power structures, be they governmental or religious.
  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:31PM (#16096814) Homepage Journal
    "This list of books is exactly why we must not fail in our fight against terrorism. Ya see, the terrorists hate our freedom. They hate our way of life. This list of books shows how much they hate us."

    *psst*

    *mumble mumble mumble*

    "America? Really?"

    "Can't we jazz it up to so I can use it in a speech on terrorism? No? Karl will figure out a way."
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:34PM (#16096851) Homepage Journal
    If they are banned how is it I can go buy them? A more honest and less inflammatory term would be controversial books. At least in the US they are not truly banned. Maybe not available in some school libraries or even some public libraries but that isn't the same thing as banned.
    Frankly I would like to see libraries "ban" more books.
    Chariot of the Gods would be a good start.
    Why wasn't the Bible on the list? It is banned in and or restricted heavily in many countries.
    Also I didn't see any Holocaust denial books or pro Nazi books on the list. Those have been banned in many countries as well.
    If you are going to pretend that you support freedom of speech I guess posting a list of books "banned" in some US high schools is a freaking safe way to do it.
    I have to admit that publishing a book online that you can can buy at most any book store in the US really does make up for censoring pro-democracy cites in China. Good for you Google. Let us all bask in your "Celebration of the Freedom to Read".
    I think I will go puke now.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by lahvak (69490)
      You are right that most of the books on the list were banned or challenged in the US at some point of time. What's strange is that sometimes they list things like "banned in Ireland", and for one book they even have "banned in Yugoslavia". That confuses me, because if they start adding books that were banned in former communist countries, they will end up with a huge list.

      I guess the list has only books that were banned somewhere in US, but for some of them they also list some other countries where they w
  • by Hahnsoo (976162) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:39PM (#16096895)

    I've been seeing a lot of comments about "Hey, I read most of those books in High School! How can they be banned?" First of all, this is a list taken out of context... many of those books were taken out of libraries due to topics that are not controversial now, but were controversial a few decades ago. Depictions of euthanasia ("Of Mice and Men"), drug addiction ("To Kill a Mockingbird", "Brave New World"), sex (Lots of books on the list), even favorable depictions of non-Caucasian races ("Adventures of Huckleberry Finn") all would be cause to get a book banned. In hindsight, it seems silly, but every generation has its taboos. Just TRY to get a book approved about terrorism or school shootings in today's English curriculum. AIDS is okay to talk about now, but it wasn't 20 years ago.

    It's a lot like Rock stars. They do a lot of publicity stunts and live a lifestyle that seems garish and offensive to the social conservatives of their time, but looking back in hindsight, most of the hype is just plain silly. Biting off the head of a bat? Ozzie, your domestic home life is much scarier than that; so is the fact that we find it entertaining to televise it.

    Second, I have a sneaking suspicion that many of these books are chosen by high school English teachers in a misguided attempt to jazz up their curriculum. "Ooo, this was a banned book. That'll reach out to my jaded kids who barely can read a page a day, let alone a whole book." I don't think they realize how big the Cliff Notes market is, or how easy it is to rip off essays about banned books from the Wikipedia.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Grishnakh (216268)
      It's a lot like Rock stars. They do a lot of publicity stunts and live a lifestyle that seems garish and offensive to the social conservatives of their time, but looking back in hindsight, most of the hype is just plain silly. Biting off the head of a bat? Ozzie, your domestic home life is much scarier than that; so is the fact that we find it entertaining to televise it.

      According to Ozzy, that incident was a mistake. Apparently some fool threw a real bat on the stage and Ozzy bit the head off thinking it
  • Missing words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xant (99438) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:55PM (#16097065) Homepage
    Notably absent from these pages are the words "in the United States". This list would be a hell of a lot longer if we included books banned by, for example, Nazi Germany. (Uh oh, I feel a Godwin coming on.)

    I realize Google is based in the US and this isn't necessarily even an accusation of USA-centrism (why would I even object? I'm a US citizen myself..) but it is a factual omission that seems important considering this will be seen by Google's hundreds of millions of users all over the world.
  • How come? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Arthur B. (806360) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @01:23PM (#16097328)
    Reading this article I tried to find Nabokov's novel by searching for "lolita" on google. Considering the number of results this definitely looks like a popular novel but how come isn't Nabokov Book the first result?
  • Search Issues? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DavidD_CA (750156) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @01:41PM (#16097491) Homepage
    I went to the Google page and clicked on the "To Kill a Mockingbird" link to find that book at my local library.

    What I got was a list of about 75 books with "To Kill a Mockingbird" in the title, including many screenplays, references, notes, etc. I think there are a lot of duplicates, too, with minor differences in the book's meta data. It was extremely difficult to distinguish which one is the "real" book.

    After trying five or six links that looked like it might be the right one, I gave up.
  • Bah! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DisKurzion (662299) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @02:42PM (#16098033)
    For a real banned book:

    One that's not even in Project Gutenburg.
    One that google won't even show you if you use moderate safesearch.
    One that has been banned in more countries than any other.

    120 days of Sodom, by Marquis de Sade

    Warning: NSFW

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_120_Days_of_Sodom [wikipedia.org]

    Quite possibly the most fucked up thing ever written.
    Or turned into a movie for that matter.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sal%C3%B2_o_le_120_gi ornate_di_Sodoma [wikipedia.org]

    People ban stuff for the silliest reasons. Half of those books were banned merely because of racism or one or two possibly offensive subjects.

    This is a true banned book. If you are not offended by it, you are quite possibly a horrible human being.

    Even saying that, I think you should read it. It puts perspective on things.

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