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The Handmaid's Tale by
Call Number: F ATW
Publication Date: 1998-03-16
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now...
Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones”
Go Tell It on the Mountain by
Call Number: F CD BAL
Publication Date: 2013-09-12
Go Tell It On The Mountain, first published in 1953, is Baldwin's first major work, a semi-autobiographical novel that has established itself as an American classic. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy's discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Baldwin's rendering of his protagonist's spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.
Reasons: profanity, rape, masturbation, violence, and degrading treatment of women.
A Clockwork Orange by
Call Number: F BUR
Publication Date: 1995-04-17
A vicious fifteen-year-old droog is the central character of this 1963 classic. In Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of the future, where criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. And when the state undertakes to reform Alex to "redeem" him, the novel asks, "At what cost?"
Reasons: objectionable language.
The Awakening by
Call Number: F CHO
Publication Date: 1982-02-10
The Awakening was particularly controversial upon publication in 1899. Although the novel was never technically banned, it was censored. Chopin's novel was considered immoral not only for its comparatively frank depictions of female sexual desire but also for its depiction of a protagonist who chafed against social norms and established gender roles. The novel opens with the Pontellier family vacationing on Grand Isle at a resort on the Gulf of Mexico managed by Madame Lebrun and her two sons. With the summer vacation over, the Pontelliers return to New Orleans. Edna gradually reassesses her priorities and takes a more active role in her own happiness.
Reasons: "immoral and scandalous."
Invisible Man by
Call Number: F ELL
Publication Date: 1995-03-14
As he journeys from the Deep South to the streets and basements of Harlem, from a horrifying "battle royal" where black men are reduced to fighting animals, to a Communist rally where they are elevated to the status of trophies, Ralph Ellison's nameless protagonist ushers readers into a parallel universe that throws our own into harsh and even hilarious relief. Suspenseful and sardonic, narrated in a voice that takes in the symphonic range of the American language, black and white, Invisible Man is one of the most audacious and dazzling novels of our century.
Reasons: profanity and images of violence and sexuality
As I Lay Dying by
Call Number: F FAU
Publication Date: 1991-01-30
As I Lay Dying is Faulkner’s harrowing account of the Bundren family’s odyssey across the Mississippi countryside to bury Addie, their wife and mother. Narrated in turn by each of the family members—including Addie herself—as well as others, the novel ranges in mood, from dark comedy to the deepest pathos. Considered one of the most influential novels in American fiction in structure, style, and drama, As I Lay Dying is a true 20th-century classic.
Reasons: references to abortion, using God's name in vain, masturbation, questions the existence of God, profanity.
Dreaming in Cuban by
Call Number: F GAR
Publication Date: 1993-02-10
Here is the dreamy and bittersweet story of a family divided by politics and geography by the Cuban revolution. It is the family story of Celia del Pino, and her husband, daughter and grandchildren, from the mid-1930s to 1980. Celia's story mirrors the magical realism of Cuba itself, a country of beauty and poverty, idealism and corruption. DREAMING IN CUBAN presents a unique vision and a haunting lamentation for a past that might have been.
Reasons: sexually explicit.
For Whom the Bell Tolls by
Call Number: F HEM
Publication Date: 1996-06-10
In 1937 Ernest Hemingway traveled to Spain to cover the civil war there for the North American Newspaper Alliance. Three years later he completed the greatest novel to emerge from "the good fight", For Whom the Bell Tolls. The story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to an antifascist guerilla unit in the mountains of Spain, it tells of loyalty and courage, love and defeat, and the tragic death of an ideal. In his portrayal of Jordan's love for the beautiful Maria and his superb account of El Sordo's last stand, in his brilliant travesty of La Pasionaria and his unwillingness to believe in blind faith, Hemingway surpasses his achievement in The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms to create a work at once rare and beautiful, strong and brutal, compassionate, moving and wise.
Reasons: banned in Istanbul for "for spreading propaganda unfavorable to the state."
The Sun Also Rises by
Call Number: F HEM
Publication Date: 1920-01-01
The quintessential novel of the Lost Generation, The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway's masterpieces, and a classic example of his spare but powerful writing style. A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation, the novel introduces two of Hemingway's most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. The story follows the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of 1920s Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates. It is an age of moral bankruptcy, spiritual dissolution, unrealized love, and vanishing illusions. First published in 1926, The Sun Also Rises helped to establish Hemingway as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.
Reasons: burned in Nazi bonfires for 'being a monument of modern decadence'
The Kite Runner by
Call Number: F HOS
Publication Date: 2003-06-02
"I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975." So begins The Kite Runner, a poignant tale of two motherless boys growing up in Kabul, a city teetering on the brink of destruction at the dawn of the Soviet invasion. Despite their class differences, Amir, the son of a wealthy businessman, and Hassan, his devoted sidekick and the son of Amir's household servant, play together, cause mischief together, and compete in the annual kite-fighting tournament -- Amir flying the kite, and Hassan running down the kites they fell. But one day, Amir betrays Hassan, and his betrayal grows increasingly devastating as their tale continues. Amir will spend much of his life coming to terms with his initial and subsequent acts of cowardice, and finally seek to make reparations.
This critically acclaimed, multigenerational novel was challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.”
Fifty Shades of Grey by
Call Number: F JAM
Publication Date: 2012-04-03
When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms. Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.
Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”)
Call Number: F JOY
Publication Date: 1990-06-16
Loosely based on the Odyssey, this landmark of modern literature follows ordinary Dubliners in 1904. Capturing a single day in the life of Dubliner Leopold Bloom, his friends Buck Mulligan and Stephen Dedalus, his wife Molly, and a scintillating cast of supporting characters, Joyce pushes Celtic lyricism and vulgarity to splendid extremes. Captivating experimental techniques range from interior monologues to exuberant wordplay and earthy humor.
Reasons: vulgar language, masterbation, obscenity.
One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest by
Call Number: F KES
Publication Date: 1963-02-01
Tyrannical Nurse Ratched rules her ward in an Oregon State mental hospital with a strict and unbending routine, unopposed by her patients, who remain cowed by mind-numbing medication and the threat of electric shock therapy. But her regime is disrupted by the arrival of McMurphy – the swaggering, fun-loving trickster with a devilish grin who resolves to oppose her rules on behalf of his fellow inmates. His struggle is seen through the eyes of Chief Bromden, a seemingly mute half-Indian patient who understands McMurphy's heroic attempt to do battle with the powers that keep them imprisoned. Ken Kesey's extraordinary first novel is an exuberant, ribald and devastatingly honest portrayal of the boundaries between sanity and madness.
Reasons: "glorifies criminal activity, has a tendency to corrupt juveniles and contains descriptions of bestiality, bizarre violence, and torture, dismemberment, death, and human elimination" and promotes "secular humanism
Call Number: F KIN
Publication Date: 1990-05-01
Carrie knew she should not use the terrifying power she possessed... But one night at her senior prom, Carrie was scorned and humiliated just one time too many, and in a fit of uncontrollable fury she turned her clandestine game into a weapon of horror and destruction...
Reasons: violence, anti-religion, sexual themes.
Gone with the Wind by
Call Number: F MIT
Publication Date: 2011-05-03
Gone with the Wind is a novel written by Margaret Mitchell, first published in 1936. The story is set in Clayton County, Georgia, and Atlanta during the American Civil War and Reconstruction era. It depicts the struggles of young Scarlett O'Hara, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, who must use every means at her disposal to claw her way out of the poverty she finds herself in after Sherman's March to the Sea. A historical novel, the story is a Bildungsroman or coming-of-age story, with the title taken from a poem written by Ernest Dowson.
Call Number: F MOR
Publication Date: 1987-08-12
Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe's new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison.
Reasons: sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence
The Bluest Eye by
Call Number: F MOR
Publication Date: 1993-12-28
It is the story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove -- a black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others -- who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment.
Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “contains controversial issues”
Call Number: F NAB
Publication Date: 1989-03-13
Awe and exhiliration--along with heartbreak and mordant wit--abound in Lolita, Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel, which tells the story of the aging Humbert Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America. Most of all, it is a meditation on love--love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.
Reasons: references to pedophilia and incest, sexual themes, obscenity.
Make Something Up: Stories You Can't Unread by
Call Number: F PAL
Publication Date: 2015-05-26
Representing work that spans several years, Make Something Up is a compilation of 21 stories and one novella (some previously published, some not) that will disturb and delight. The absurdity of both life and death are on full display; in "Zombies," the best and brightest of a high school prep school become tragically addicted to the latest drug craze: electric shocks from cardiac defibrillators. In "Knock, Knock," a son hopes to tell one last off-color joke to a father in his final moments, while in "Tunnel of Love," a massage therapist runs the curious practice of providing 'relief' to dying clients. And in "Expedition," fans will be thrilled to find to see a side of Tyler Durden never seen before in a precursor story to Fight Club. Funny, caustic, bizarre, poignant; these stories represent everything readers have come to love and expect from Chuck Palahniuk. They have all the impact of a sharp blow to the solar plexus, with considerable collateral damage to the funny bone.
Reasons: challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive”
My Sister's Keeper by
Call Number: F PIC
Publication Date: 2009-05-19
Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate -- a life and a role that she has never challenged... until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister—and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.
Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
The Satanic Verses by
Call Number: F RUS
Publication Date: 1989-02-22
Just before dawn one winter's morning a hijacked jumbo-jet blows apart high above the English Channel. Through the debris of limbs, drinks trolleys, memories, blankets and oxygen masks, two figures fall towards the sea without benefit of parachutes: Gibreel Farishta, India's legendary movie star, and Saladin Chamcha, the man of a thousand voices, self-made self and Anglophile supreme. Clinging to each other, singing rival songs, they plunge downward, and are finally washed up, alive, on the snow-covered sands of an English beach. A miracle; but an ambiguous one, because it soon becomes apparent that curious changes are coming over them. Gibreel seems to have acquired a halo, while, to Saladin's dismay, his legs grow hairier, his feet turn into hoofs, and there are bumps burgeoning at his temples.So begins The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie's first novel for five years. Gibreel and Saladin have been chosen (by whom?) as protagonists in the eternal wrestling match between Good and Evil. But which is which? Can demons be angelic? Can angels be devils in disguise? As the two men tumble through their tale, through time as well as space, towards their final confrontation, we are witnesses to a cycle of extraordinary stories, tales of love and passion, of betrayal and faith: the story of Ayesha, the butterfly-shrouded visionary who leads an Indian village on an impossible pilgrimage; of Allie, the mountain-climber haunted by a ghost who urges her to attempt the ultimate feat — a solo ascent of Everest; of murders, metamorphoses and riots in a London "visible but unseen"; and, centrally, the story of Mahound, the Prophet of Jahilia, the city of sand — Mahound, the recipient of a revelation in which satanic verses mingle with divine. In this great wheel of a book, where the past and the future chase each other furiously, Salman Rushdie takes us on an epic journey, a journey of tears and laughter, of wonderful stories and astonishing flights of the imagination, a journey towards the evil and the good that lie inseparably entwined within the hearts of women and of men.
The Jungle by
Call Number: F SIN
Publication Date: 2006-06-06
Upton Sinclair's dramatic and deeply moving story exposed the brutal conditions in the Chicago stockyards at the turn of the nineteenth century and brought into sharp moral focus the appalling odds against which immigrants and other working people struggled for their share of the American Dream. Denounced by the conservative press as an un-American libel on the meatpacking industry, and condemned for Sinclair's unabashed promotion of Socialism and unionisation as a solution to the exploitation of workers, the book was championed by more progressive thinkers, including then President Theodore Roosevelt, and was a major catalyst to the passing of the Pure Food and Meat Inspection act, which has tremendous impact to this day.
Reasons: burned in Nazi bonfires for the author's socialist views, "inimical to communism." The original version had more than a third of the text censored out to remove the 'ethnic' flavor, the gorier details for the meat-packing industry as well as political and social commentary.
The Grapes of Wrath by
Call Number: F STE
Publication Date: 2006-03-28
First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads-driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity. A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man’s fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman’s stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes into the very nature of equality and justice in America. The Grapes of Wrath summed up its era in the way that Uncle Tom’s Cabin summed up the years of slavery before the Civil War. Sensitive to fascist and communist criticism, Steinbeck insisted that “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” be printed in its entirety in the first edition of the book—which takes its title from the first verse: “He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.” At once a naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s powerful landmark novel is perhaps the most American of American Classics.
Reasons: vulgar language, using God's name in vain, sexual references, promoting political propaganda.
Call Number: F VON
Publication Date: 1999-01-12
Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden. Don't let the ease of reading fool you - Vonnegut's isn't a conventional, or simple, novel. He writes, "There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick, and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters." Slaughterhouse-Five is not only Vonnegut's most powerful book, it is also as important as any written since 1945. Like Catch- 22, it fashions the author's experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority. Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut's other works, but the book's basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it a unique poignancy - and humor.
Reasons: explicit sexual scenes, violence, and obscene language, ethic slurs, portrayal of women, promotes deviant sexual behavior, vulgarity, "foul language, a section depicting a picture of an act of bestiality, a reference to 'Magic Fingers' attached to the protagonist's bed to help him sleep, and the sentence: 'The gun made a ripping sound like the opening of the fly of God Almighty."'
The Color Purple by
Call Number: F WAL
Publication Date: 2003-05-28
The Color Purple is the story of two sisters--one a missionary to Africa and the other a child wife living in the South--who remain loyal to one another across time, distance, and silence. Beautifully imagined and deeply compassionate, this classic of American literature is rich with passion, pain, inspiration, and an indomitable love of life.
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
All the King's Men by
Call Number: F WAR
Publication Date: 2001-11-02
Winner of the 1947 Pulitzer Prize, All the King's Men is one of the most famous and widely read works in American fiction. It traces the rise and fall of demagogue Willie Stark - called Willie Talos in this "restored" edition - a fictional Southern politician who resembles the real-life Huey "Kingfish" Long of Louisiana. Talos begins his career as an idealistic man of the people, but he soon becomes corrupted by success and caught in a lust for power. All the King's Men is as relevant today as it was fifty years ago.
Reasons: "depressing view of life" and "immoral situations."
Native Son by
Call Number: F WRI
Publication Date: 2005-08-02
Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Wright's powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.
Reasons: violence, profanity, sex.
The Walking Dead Series by
Call Number: G KIR V. 1
Publication Date: 2013-02-19
How many hours are in a day when you don't spend half of them watching television?
When is the last time any of us REALLY worked to get something we wanted? How long has it been since any of us really NEEDED something that we WANTED? The world we knew is gone. The world of commerce and frivolous necessity has been replaced by a world of survival and responsibility. An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months society has crumbled. no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally start living.
Reasons: "graphic imagery."
The Lord of the Rings by
Call Number: YA F TOL
Publication Date: 2005-10-12
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins. From Sauron's fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, his power spread far and wide. Sauron gathered all the Great Rings to him, but always he searched for the One Ring that would complete his dominion. When Bilbo reached his eleventy-first birthday he disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest: to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom. The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America by
Call Number: 305.569 EHR
Publication Date: 2001-05-08
Millions of Americans work full-time, year-round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that any job equals a better life. But how can anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6-$7 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich moved from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, taking the cheapest lodgings available and accepting work as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing home aide, and Wal-Mart salesperson. She soon discovered that even the "lowliest" occupations require exhausting mental and physical efforts. And one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors. Nickel and Dimed reveals low-wage America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity--a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate stratagems for survival. Instantly acclaimed for its insight, humor, and passion, this book is changing the way America perceives its working poor.
Reasons: drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint
Arming America by
Call Number: 683.4 BEL
Publication Date: 2000-09-05
Examining the growth of our national gun culture from colonial times to Reconstruction, Bellesiles finds that its progress was a slow and tortured one. From the first settlements up until the Civil War, ordinary Americans were not heavily armed and were generally neglectful of the guns they did own. Guns of the time were expensive, clumsy, unreliable, and hard to maintain. Opposing other historians' claims for nearly universal gun ownership among the settlers, Bellesiles finds that apparently "at no time prior to 1850 did more than a tenth of the people own guns." The shattering implications of Bellesiles' argument for scholars, policy-makers, and ruminators upon the national character are clearly evident, but he leaves them unstated. We are left to draw our own conclusions, but this formidably researched, vigorously written book earns the power to ground our currently high-flown gun debate in solid historical earth.
Reasons: inaccurate, political viewpoint
Go the Fuck to Sleep by
Call Number: 813.6 MAN
Publication Date: 2011-06-14
Go the Fuck to Sleep is a bedtime book for parents who live in the real world, where a few snoozing kitties and cutesy rhymes don't always send a toddler sailing blissfully off to dreamland. Profane, affectionate, and radically honest, California Book Award-winning author Adam Mansbach's verses perfectly capture the familiar -- and unspoken -- tribulations of putting your little angel down for the night. In the process, he opens up a conversation about parenting, granting us permission to admit our frustrations and laugh at their absurdities.
Reasons: abusive to children.
Mein Kampf by
Call Number: 943.085 HIT
Publication Date: 1998-09-15
Madman, tyrant, animal - history has given Adolf Hitler many names. In Mein Kampf (My Struggle), often called the Nazi bible, Hitler describes his life, frustrations, ideals, and dreams. Born to an impoverished couple in a small town in Austria, the young Adolf grew up with the fervent desire to become a painter. The death of his parents and outright rejection from art schools in Vienna forced him into underpaid work as a laborer. During the First World War, Hitler served in the infantry and was decorated for bravery. After the war, he became actively involved with socialist political groups and quickly rose to power, establishing himself as Chairman of the National Socialist German Worker's party. In 1924, Hitler led a coalition of nationalist groups in a bid to overthrow the Bavarian government in Munich. The infamous Munich "Beer-hall putsch" was unsuccessful, and Hitler was arrested. During the nine months he was in prison, an embittered and frustrated Hitler dictated a personal manifesto to his loyal follower Rudolph Hess. He vented his sentiments against communism and the Jewish people in this document, which was to become Mein Kampf, the controversial book that is seen as the blue-print for Hitler's political and military campaign. In Mein Kampf, Hitler describes his strategy for rebuilding Germany and conquering Europe. It is a glimpse into the mind of a man who destabilized world peace and pursued the genocide now known as the Holocaust.
Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-Semitic, promoting Nazism.
Fun Home by
Call Number: GB BEC BEC
Publication Date: 2006-06-08
Meet Alison's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family's Victorian home, a third-generation funeral home director, a high school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with his male students and a family babysitter. Through narrative that is alternately heartbreaking and fiercely funny, we are drawn into a daughter's complex yearning for her father. And yet, apart from assigned stints dusting caskets at the family-owned "fun home," as Alison and her brothers call it, the relationship achieves its most intimate expression through the shared code of books. When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescence, the denouement is swift, graphic — and redemptive.
Reasons: violence and other (“graphic images”)
A Stolen Life: A Memoir by
Call Number: B DUG DUG
Publication Date: 2011-07-12
On 10 June 1991, eleven-year-old Jaycee Dugard was abducted from a school bus stop within sight of her home in Tahoe, California. It was the last her family and friends saw of her for over eighteen years. On 26 August 2009, Dugard, her daughters, and Phillip Craig Garrido appeared in the office of her kidnapper's parole officer in California. Their unusual behaviour sparked an investigation that led to the positive identification of Jaycee Lee Dugard, living in a tent behind Garrido's home. During her time in captivity, at the age of fourteen and seventeen, she gave birth to two daughters, both fathered by Garrido. Dugard's memoir is written by the 30-year-old herself and covers the period from the time of her abduction in 1991 up until the present. In her stark, utterly honest and unflinching narrative, Jaycee opens up about what she experienced, including how she feels now, a year after being found. Garrido and his wife Nancy have since pleaded guilty to their crimes.
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by
Call Number: B LAC SKL
Publication Date: 2010-02-02
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave. Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia — a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo — to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells. Henrietta’s family did not learn of her “immortality” until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family — past and present — is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of. Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family—especially Henrietta’s daughter Deborah, who was devastated to learn about her mother’s cells. She was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Did it hurt her when researchers infected her cells with viruses and shot them into space? What happened to her sister, Elsie, who died in a mental institution at the age of fifteen? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn’t her children afford health insurance?
Reasons: too many graphic details to be appropriate for high schools.
The Glass Castle by
Call Number: B WAL WAL
Publication Date: 2006-01-17
Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever. Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town -- and the family -- Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home. What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms. For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story.
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit