Banned Book Week, September 22-28, celebrates the "freedom to read" and promotes awareness of censorship in schools and libraries. Here are 10 of the more well-known challenged books, out of the hundreds listed by the American Library Association.
What are the top reasons books are banned or challenged? Offensive language, sexual content, religious material and content deemed "inappropriate for the age group."
"The Catcher in the Rye", J.D. Salinger,
"The Catcher in the Rye," is frequently removed from classrooms and school libraries because it is “unacceptable,” “obscene,” “blasphemous,” “negative,” “foul,” “filthy,” and “undermines morality.”
"Uncle Tom's Cabin," Harriet Beecher Stowe
The historically accurate representation of the treatment of slaves in America has resulted in multiple challenges from would-be censors.
"Daddy’s Roommate," Michael Willhoite
The book, which deals with having a homosexual parent, was the second most challenged book in 1990-1999. "Heather Has Two Mommies" by Lesléa Newman, portrayed the same scenario with a lesbian couple and was also among the top ten most challenged books of the 90s.
"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou's 1969 autobiography, dealing with issues like rape and racism, is among one of the most banned books in the United States.
"The Great Gatsby," F. Scott Fitzgerald
Often called the great American novel, "The Great Gatsby" is among the most challenged and banned books. Would-be censors cite "language and sexual references" in the book.
"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," Sherman Alexie.
Sherman Alexie's young adult novel has been drawing attention for depictions of sexuality, racism, violence, substance abuse and poverty.
"Fahrenheit 451," Ray Bradbury
The dystopian novel about censorship and the burning of books ironically makes the list for most challenged books in America.
Venado Middle school in Irvine, Calif. allowed only a version of the book in which all the “hells” and “damns” were blacked out. Other challengers have complained the book violated their religious beliefs.
"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," Mark Twain
Twain's book remains one of the most challenged of all time, with objectors claiming the book promotes racism and contains offensive language.
"Howl and other poems," Allen Ginsberg,
Depictions of homosexuality have earned "Howl" a number of challenges.
Harry Potter (series), J.K. Rowling
Every book in the wizarding series of novels has been challenged, primarily by religious groups believing the book's magical world to be Satanic.
Patton moves east for new corrections gig
In Robert C. Patton, Oklahoma is getting a new corrections director from Arizona who is more than willing to use private prisons as a means to deal with inmate overcrowding.
“I’m a (prison) bed manager. I’ll tell the policy makers I need beds, and if I can convince them that I need beds, then it’s their jobs on whether it’s public or private,” said Patton, whose first day as Oklahoma Corrections Department director began Tuesday.
Patton’s position on private prisons is far different than that of Jones, the former director who resigned in October following clashes with elected officials who wanted to put more inmates in private facilities.
The Oklahoma Board of Corrections last month approved a measure that allows the state to seek proposals from private prison companies to provide an additional 350 to 2,000 medium-security beds for state inmates.
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Invasive Species Conference buzzing in Oklahoma
We have all had unwanted and even uninvited guests overstay their welcome in our homes. That anxious feeling of wanting those people to leave without knowing how to ask is all too familiar.
It is a similar feeling many property owners in Oklahoma are experiencing with invasive species of insects, plants and animals. The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service is hosting the Oklahoma Invasive Species Conference March 25 to discuss this issue.
“The mission of this conference is to educate the people of Oklahoma about invasive species that threaten the economic and ecological health of our state,” said Karen Hickman, natural resource ecology and management professor at Oklahoma State University. “A study from about 10 years ago found the U.S. is spending about $138 billion annually in lost production and cost for control.”
Tips for a flourishing garden
The following tips may help prevent common garden problems from occurring:
• Have a soil sample taken every three or four years
• Apply fertilizers in the recommended manner and amount
• Make use of organic materials such as compost where available.
• Use recommended varieties.
• Thin plants when small.
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Study: Oklahoma No. 2 in prevalence of mental illness
Oklahoma ranks second nationally in the number of adults with a mental illness, according to the findings of a new study.
The study, conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, defined a “serious mental illness” as any mental, behavioral or emotional disorder that causes substantial functional impairment such as significantly interfering with or limiting one or more major life activities. Examples might include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or clinical depression.
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