Banned books in Swindon Libraries!

Across the world and over the many years of publishing, there are numerous titles that have found themselves banned from schools, libraries, and even from publication by government decree. Times however change, and many of these titles can now be freely borrowed from the Swindon Library Service.

banned books

Banned Books display at Moredon and Rodbourne Cheney Library

Recently, we collected a selection of these Banned Books at Moredon and Rodbourne Cheney Library. Here are some of the titles that our customers found intriguing and surprising:

Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
Place: USA
Reason: Several states banned this title because of a Left Wing bias in the text. However, several other states also banned Tom Sawyer due to a Right Wing favouritism in the text…

Anna Sewell, Black Beauty
Place: South Africa
Reason: During the time of apartheid, even books with the world “black” in the title were a point of controversy.

Dr Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham.
Place: China
Reason: For its portrayal of early Marxism.

Enid Blyton, The Famous Five
Place: UK, by the BBC
Reason: Claimed that she lacked any literary value.

Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary
Place: France
Reason: Flaubert’s novel was banned and he was prosecuted for “offenses against public morals”

Roald Dahl, The Witches
Place: UK
Reason: A negative portrayal of women – despite there being good witches alongside the bad ones.

Martin Handford, Where’s Wally.
Place: USA
Reason: Claims that a topless woman featured in the beach scene. Several customers did look but she has yet to be found!

J R R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings.
Place: Mexico
Reason: The text was found to be satanic in nature.

Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales.
Place: USA, by the United States Postal Service
Reason: Banned from the U.S. mail under the Federal Anti-Obscenity Act (Comstock Law) of 1873, which banned the sending or receiving of works containing “obscene,” “filthy,” or “inappropriate” material

Many other favourite authors, books and their characters have made the list including J.K Rowling, Louise Rennison, Judy Blume, Ernest Hemmingway, The Wizard of Oz, The Hunger Games, Sherlock Holmes, Tin Tin, and, most recently, Captain Underpants due to his disruptive nature and potential to encourage children to disobey authority.

Much debate went on over whether books should be banned, and if so who has the right and responsibility to decide what others can and cannot read. That is a decision too big for this Library Assistant to make, but what do you think?

Dennis Deacon, Library Assistant, Moredon and Rodbourne Cheney Library