Google Promotes Banned Books

    September 13, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Despite America’s reputation as a free society, the practice of banning books in schools and even some libraries has happened through the years. Google and the American Library Association will celebrate 25 years of Banned Books Week, September 23rd – 30th.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby was an influential book for me in high school. It started me on the path to writing just for the enjoyment of doing so. I’m fortunate not to have been in a place that would have banned it over its content.

That and other works have been banned or challenged over the years. The roster of authors reads like a recommended reading list: Ernest Hemingway, Harper Lee, Toni Morrison, John Steinbeck. As a high schooler I probably would have agreed with a ban on “The Grapes of Wrath,” I have to admit.

To highlight these works, Google, the American Library Association, and libraries and bookstores will observe Banned Books week later this month. Leslie Burger, president of the American Library Association, discussed the banned books efforts on the Official Google Blog:

Now Google has joined the party. At, you can use Google Book Search to explore some of the best novels of the 20th century which have been challenged or banned.

And while libraries and bookstores around the country celebrate the 25th anniversary of Banned Books Week with special readings, displays, and more, you just might end up with a visit to your local library or bookstore and an old favorite or a new banned book in hand.

When Apple Computer launched its personal computer line, the company released a now-famous TV commercial where a woman smashes a massive TV screen image of Big Brother with a sledgehammer. Big Brother was essential to the plot of George Orwell’s 1984, a book read by countless high school audiences.

If 1984 had been banned, Apple’s Super Bowl ad could never have resonated with so many people. Granted, there are plenty of reasons to remember a classic work besides a TV commercial, but it is a very public example of the breadth of reach of a memorable book.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.