Tag: Banned Books

Mercy in Prison Isn’t Truly Just

“There is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy. When you experience mercy, you learn things that are hard to learn otherwise. You see things you can’t otherwise see; you hear things you can’t otherwise hear. You begin to recognize the humanity that resides in each of us.” – Goodreads


Image Via Amazon


One of the most powerful books, Just Mercy, reached theaters on Christmas Day. While we find ourselves diving deep into the prison systems, those incarcerated are unable to share the same thrills. Among many other books, Just Mercy has been banned from some prisons as books, like this one can be, under the arbitrary rules that exclude books on civil rights.



Just Mercytells the story of Walter McMillian, who was released from Alabama’s death row in 1993 after serving six years for a murder he did not commit.” Due to the content of the book, Just Mercy is a threat to security, as many that are incarcerated can involve an uproar. This is why courts have approved to keep books that pose any threat out of prison walls. Prison systems, usually, ban books that are written by black authors, like that of James Baldwin, Malcolm X, Alex Haley, Toni Morrison, and Michelle Alexander.


Image Via The New York Times


America’s jails and prisons are prone to censor any vital information that is related to any civil or human rights. This may come as no surprise, but “the banned books lists in many states – including Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Ohio, South Carolina, and Washington – do not include reasons for barring each title.”  Kansas and North Carolina were among the state prison systems that banned Just Mercy, but lifted the ban after objections were made.



Many of the prison systems have been criticized for the lack of rehabilitation to prepare them for the real world. They have become so focused on censoring everything from the outside, that they forget about providing them with tools on how to live outside of the prison walls.


Featured Image Via The New York Times


Bookstr is community supported. If you enjoy Bookstr’s articles, quizzes, graphics and videos, please join our Patreon to support our writers and creators or donate to our Paypal and help Bookstr to keep supporting the book loving community.
Become a Patron!


Seven Surprising Facts About Books for National Trivia Day

It’s National Trivia Day, and I always want to know more about books. Here are seven book fun facts to celebrate the holiday right – and a hot tip to make ANOTHER holiday more bookish. Gold, dead languages, and a shocking number of knights – book history is INTERESTING.


Oldest Book

Image via Wigan Lane Books

The oldest book of all time is the Etruscan Gold Book, found in a canal in Bulgaria, and is now in the Bulgarian History Museum. It’s six pages and 24k gold, and written in Etruscan characters and illustrated. Clocking in at 2,673 years old, it’s the oldest book ever discovered, by a little over a hundred years. The runner up is also gold, the Pyrgi Gold Tablets, found in Italy and also written in Etuscan. (According to Wigan Lane Books)



Oldest Novel in English

Image result for le morte d'arthur
Image via Amazon

The title IS contested, but Le Mort d’Arthur by Thomas Malory is a hundred years older than the next candidate, Beware the Cat by William Baldwin. Though the spelling and grammar are inconsistently preserved today, this is still considered the definitive text on King Arthur. First published in 1485, there are bound to be some slips over the centuries. Malory’s original title was The Whole Book of King Arthur and His Noble Knights of the Round Table, but the publisher changed it after his death. (According to Wikipedia)



Longest Novel

Image result for Devta Mohiuddin Nawab
Image via Free Novels and Books

The longest novel ever written was Devta by Mohiuddin Nawab. Written between 1977 and 2010, it clocks in at over 8000 pages, in over fifty volumes. It was serialized in Urdu for all 33 years, and consists of a fictional bibliography of Farhad Ali Taimoor, a man who develops telepathic powers. This aside, it’s primarily a crime mystery. Interestingly, both runners up are French. (According to Wikipedia).



Most Banned

Image result for oldest bible cover
Image via Pinterest

This is kind of a straightforward answer, but the Bible is now the most banned book. It’s largely been banned in schools and classrooms, at least in the US, which also seems a little straightforward, but maybe also too much? Don’t ban books, people! Check out Strand Bookstore’s list of banned books for some classics they can’t stop you from reading. At least not in some places! Yikes.



Oldest Dictionary

Urra=Hubullu The Earliest Known Dictionaries (Circa 2,300 BCE). It consists of Sumerian and Akkadian lexical lists ordered by topic.
Image via Pinterest

The oldest dictionary ever written is considered to be this bilingual list of Sumarian-Akkadian words from about 2300BCE. Many modern day dictionaries of Akkadian exist if you want to learn an incredibly old language, and who doesn’t? The next oldest dictionaries were Babylonian and Chinese. The first English dictionary dates to 1604. (According to Wikipedia)



Best Selling Novel

Image result for don quixote
Image via The Conversation

The best selling novel of all time is Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, according to Best Life. It was published in Spanish in 1605 and 1615, and translated to English almost immediately, the first part being published in 1612 and the second in 1620. It follows a book mad knight errant and his farmer squire. It was first thought of as a comic novel, but during the French revolution it was viewed more as a moral work. (According to Wikipedia)




Image result for gift wrapped books
Image via Hearts & Minds Books

In Iceland, Christmas gifts are given on Christmas Eve, and they’re BOOKS. I mean, that’s basically what every gifting event already looks like for me, but enshrining it in tradition? I am IN. Should we all move to Iceland right now? They spend the rest of the night reading. They turned Christmas into the perfect holiday. I’m buying a plane ticket.

Image via Copy Blogger


Bookstr is community supported. If you enjoy Bookstr’s articles, quizzes, graphics and videos, please join our Patreon to support our writers and creators or donate to our Paypal and help Bookstr to keep supporting the book loving community.
Become a Patron!


Turkey Says Inspiring Kids’ Book Should Be Treated like Porn

The Turkish government recently ruled that Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls should be treated like pornography because of its “detrimental influence” on young people.



Published in 2016, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls offers 100 tales of extraordinary women meant to inspire young children. Each story, written by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo in the style of a fairy tale, is accompanied by illustrations from over 60 female artists. The Guardian described it as an “empowering, resolutely ‘anti-princess’ storybook.” It’s been an incredibly popular best-seller and has been published in 47 languages around the world.


Favilli and Cavallo, image via Penguin Books


But in a decision published at the end of September, the Turkish government’s board for the protection of minors from obscene publications said:

Some of the writings in the book will have a detrimental influence on the minds of those under the age of 18.

This means Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls can be sold only to adults and must be kept out of view in bookshops. Essentially, it has to be treated like pornography.


Image Via Amazon


Cavallo responded to the decision, saying:

Girls deserve to grow up surrounded by more female role models. They deserve to grow up thinking that they can be anything they want. When a government is scared by a children’s book promoting equality, that means that promoting these messages through children’s literature can have and is having an impact, and it makes me even more motivated to keep fighting every day.

The Turkish publishers’ association released another statement last week, arguing the government’s decision threatens the principles of a democratic society. And Turkish publisher of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls said it was waiting for the decision to be officially communicated to it before commenting.



Featured Image Via The Guardian

PEN America Calls Out Prisons For Large Scale Book Bans

Banned Books Week shines a light on literature’s most challenged titles, but also on the institutions that carry out these bans. It’s not surprising to hear about the types of books that get banned, but you might be surprised to see who bans books the most.


PEN America, a nonprofit organization that advocates for freedom of speech and the celebration of literature, published a paper detailing the extensive bans that state and federal prisons have imposed on various books.


Image Via Wikipedia


Depending on the state, some books have been banned for very surprising reasons:


  • Prisons in both Ohio and Tennessee have banned various biology books, with some reasons being the inclusion of “nudity”.
  • A Colorado prison prevented a prisoner from receiving President Barack Obama’s memoirs on the grounds that the books were “potentially detrimental to national security”.
  • A New York prison banned a book on maps of the Moon because they could “present risks of escape”


On a federal level, thousands of other books have been banned as well, including works from well-known authors like George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, Alice Walker, Joyce Carol Oates, and several more.



The paper calls on US Congress to intervene in hopes to give those behind bars the chance to further their education.


The result is a book-banning system that fails incarcerated people, and fails to live up to our democratic and constitutional ideals. As both a practical and a moral matter, it is time to re-evaluate the state of the right to read within American prisons.


Image result for us congress

Image via ThoughtCo


Are you shocked to see so many books being banned in prisons?



Featured Image Via The Daily Beast


Celebrate Banned Books Week With These Controversial Reads

This week is Banned Books Week, where we shine a light on the books that have been restricted for various reasons based on addressing certain issues, mature content, or perceived mocking of certain beliefs. To celebrate: here is a list of some of the most challenged books currently out there:



1. The Hate U Give


Image Via Amazon


Angie Thomas’ novel about a black teen who witnesses the shooting of her childhood friend at the hands of a police officer has been banned in several schools. Critics accuse the book of being “anti-cop” due to its themes as well as criticize the profanity used by certain characters.



2. 13 Reasons Why


Image Via Amazon


The novel that inspired the controversial Netflix series, about a teenage girl’s suicide and the cassette tapes explaining why, has sparked debates on whether or not it addresses mental illness properly or not. Suicide prevention groups in particular, have frequently criticized the book, with some accusing the book of glorifying suicide.



3. Drama


Image Via Wikipedia


A graphic novel about a tween working at her middle school’s drama club production crew, this children’s book has been challenged for its portrayal of LGBTQ+ characters.



4. Captain Underpants


Image Via Amazon


It might be hard to believe that a book series as silly as this one would be considered too controversial for some, but Dave Pickley’s popular children’s series has been criticized for “encouraging disruptive behavior”. Also, the final book in the series was criticized for featuring a same-sex couple.



5. To Kill A Mockingbird


Image Via Amazon


An American classic, Harper Lee’s seminal work has been challenged for its graphic violence, discussions about race, and frequent profanity.



6. The Kite Runner


Image Via Wikipedia


A critically-acclaimed novel turned into both a movie and a play, Khaled Hosseini’s work about two boys growing up in Afghanistan has been criticized for its portrayal of the Taliban, as well as all the graphic violence that happened during the rise of the Taliban regime.



7. The Harry Potter Series


Image Via Barnes & Noble


Frequently challenged, banned, and burned, J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world has been accused of promoting witchcraft by several religious groups. The most recent complaint has been that the novels feature “real” spells that can actually be cast.


You can read about more banned books here.




Featured Image Via PBS