Thursday, October 01, 2009

Banned Books: A reality check

The American Library Association is currently holding its annual "Banned Books Week." The number one "banned book" in America for 2008 was "And Tango Makes Three" by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.

A quick reality check might be in order.

Since the 2009 "Banned Books Week" celebrates books "banned" in 2008, I thought I'd check the 2008 New York Times bestseller lists. I was looking for 1) books published by conservative religious publishing companies, e.g. Thomas Nelson, Tyndale, Zondervan, etc. and 2) politically conservative books whether religious or not.

I then checked these books on WorldCat to find out how many libraries owned each of the books.

The result was that out of 17 books (My apologies if I missed any conservative books), only two of them were held by more libraries than the most "banned" book in America,!

Here is the breakdown listed in order of the number of WorldCat libraries that own each book. The number in parenthesis after the title is the number of weeks the book appeared on the New York Times bestseller lists for 2008.

3,011 McCain, John. Faith of my Fathers (25)
1,968 Dungy, Tony. Quiet Strength (32)
1,841 Parnell, Peter. And Tango Makes Three (0)

1,741 Rice, Anne. Christ the Lord; the Road to Cana (3)
1,649 O'Reilly, Bill. A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity (12)
1,518 Morris, Dick. Fleeced (18)
1,506 Goldberg, Jonah. Liberal Fascism (11)
1,483 Beck, Glenn. Christmas Sweater (5)
1,442 Corsi, Jerome. The Obama Nation (8)
1,438 Keller, Timothy. The Reason for God (8)
1,415 Beck, Glenn. An Inconvenient Book (17)
1,366 Gosselin, Jon. Multiple Blessings (8)
1,328 Gingrich, Newt. Real Change (11)
1,174 Huckabee, Mike. Do the Right Thing (4)
1,168 Freddoso, David. The Case against Barack Obama (7)
860 Spears, Lynn. Through the Storm (2)
839 Johnson, Kaylene. Sarah [Palin] (1)
708 Nugent, Ted. Ted, White and Blue (2)

Banned indeed!


professor ed said...

Dennis: I get the feeling you are just a little cynical about Banned Books Week.

Dennis said...

Maybe just a tad :-)

I might feel better if they'd just call it what it is:

"Librarians' protest against annoying patrons who have the gall to challenge our book choices, week."

Now that's Cynical :-)