Several displays are set up in the Village Lights Bookstore in recognition of Banned Books Week. Books included in the displays include ones as popular as the Holy Bible, “Harry Potter” and the “Junie B. Jones” children’s book series, as well as titles from authors as close to home as Indiana’s own Kurt Vonnegut. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Several displays are set up in the Village Lights Bookstore in recognition of Banned Books Week. Books included in the displays include ones as popular as the Holy Bible, “Harry Potter” and the “Junie B. Jones” children’s book series, as well as titles from authors as close to home as Indiana’s own Kurt Vonnegut. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Books that have been hidden, challenged or banned are being highlighted this week during Banned Books Week. The annual celebration of all banned literary works happens during the last full week of September.

Nathan Montoya, co-owner of Village Lights Bookstore in downtown Madison, said the bookstore celebrates Banned Books Week every year.

"We're proud to say that every time we begin assembling our Banned Books Week displays, we find that we already have most of the top challenged titles on our shelves," he said.

Montoya said that no literary work has been banned by the federal or state government since the famed Allen Ginsburg poem "Howl" was banned in 1957. The poem was banned because of its explicit references to drug use and homosexuality. Montoya said that today, books are banned on a much smaller level.

"We do it to ourselves," Montoya said.

Local libraries, school libraries and book stores often ban books they don't think are appropriate, Montoya said.

"We do such a good job of restricting our own freedoms. It's a problem that will not go away. And, of course the books that we have are not just books banned in this country, but works banned around the world," he said.

Village Lights, along with several area libraries will have displays, in honor of Banned Books Week.

Linda Brinegar, Media Specialist for Madison Consolidated Schools, said she's putting together a display at the front of the school.

Brinegar said that in her time as a librarian she has found that books aren't so much banned as they are challenged. A challenged book is one that has been attempted to be removed or restricted, because of objections from a person or group, she said.

"(This week) brings an awareness to the readers' choices," Brinegar said. "They have access to a wide variety of reading materials."

According to the website, www.bannedbooksweeks.org, the annual celebration of the freedom to read any and all works began in 1982 after a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries.

"More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association. There were 307 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2013, and many more go unreported," the site says.

According the website, the top 10 most banned books of 2013 were:

• "Captain Underpants," by Dav Pilkey, because of offensive language, violence and being unsuitable to certain age groups.

• "The Bluest Eye," by Toni Morrison, because of offensive language, sexually explicit scenes, being unsuitable to certain age groups and violence.

• "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," by Sherman Alexie, because of drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit scenes and being unsuitable to certain age groups.

• "Fifty Shades of Grey," by E.L. James, because of nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoints, sexually explicit scenes and being unsuitable to certain age groups.

• "The Hunger Games," by Suzanne Collins, because of religious viewpoints and being unsuitable to certain age groups.

• "A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl," by Tanya Lee Stone, because of drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language and sexually explicit scenes.

• "Looking for Alaska," by John Green, because of drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit scenes and being unsuitable to certain age groups.

• "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," by Stephen Chbosky, because of drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit scenes and being unsuitable to certain age groups

• "Bless Me Ultima," by Rudolfo Anaya, because of occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoints and sexually explicit scenes.

• "Bone," by Jeff Smith, because of political viewpoints, racism and violence.