‘Brave New World’ the third most censored book in America, librarians say
Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel Brave New World placed third in the American Library Association’s (ALA) Top Ten List of the Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2010.
The most common reason the futuristic novel, written by the British author in 1931 and published in 1932, was requested to be restricted or removed from libraries was because of its alleged insensitivity, offensive language, racism, and sexually explicit content.
Brave New World is set in the London of 2540 AD, where mass production has inundated nearly every aspect of society, free-love is mandatory and residents keep themselves in a happy stupor by self-medicating with an antidepressant-like drug called soma.
Unlike George Orwell’s famous dystopian novel 1984, Huxley’s novel envisioned a totalitarian government than used distractions and pleasures to suppress the population rather than brute force and propaganda.
The novel ranks fifth on a Modern Library list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.
Huxley, a prolific writer, public intellectual and early advocate of psychedelic drug use, also wrote the novel Island and The Doors of Perception, a book about his experience with mescaline. He died of cancer in 1963.
Justin Richardson’s and Peter Parnell’s And Tango Makes Three topped the list of the ALA’s Top Ten List of the Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2010. Sherman Alexie’s 2007 novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian placed second.
“While we firmly support the right of every reader to choose or reject a book for themselves or their families, those objecting to a particular book should not be given the power to restrict other readers’ right to access and read that book,”‘ said Barbara Jones, director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.
“As members of a pluralistic and complex society, we must have free access to a diverse range of viewpoints on the human condition in order to foster critical thinking and understanding. We must protect one of the most precious of our fundamental rights – the freedom to read.”
The ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom received 348 reports on efforts to remove or restrict materials from school curricula and library bookshelves in 2010.
Below is the complete list of the ALA’s Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2010. Each title is followed by the reasons given for challenging the book:
1. “And Tango Makes Three” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: Homosexuality, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group
2. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Offensive language, Racism, Sex Education, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group, Violence
3. “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley
Reasons: Insensitivity, Offensive Language, Racism, Sexually Explicit
4. “Crank” by Ellen Hopkins
Reasons: Drugs, Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit
5. “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group, Violence
6. “Lush” by Natasha Friend
Reasons: Drugs, Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group
7. “What My Mother Doesn’t Know” by Sonya Sones
Reasons: Sexism, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group
8. “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America” by Barbara Ehrenreich
Reasons: Drugs, Inaccurate, Offensive Language, Political Viewpoint, Religious Viewpoint
9. “Revolutionary Voices” edited by Amy Sonnie
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit
10. “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: Religious Viewpoint, Violence