Here are the books and movies people tried to get removed from Toronto’s public libraries last year
Every year, Toronto Public Library releases a report on the books and movies users lodged official complaints against during the previous year. Some of the complaints are legit. In 2012, for instance, a user’s objection led the library to get rid of a poorly made educational video about date rape prevention. Other complaints are harder to take seriously: in 2013, someone (maybe jokingly) asked the library to ban the Dr. Seuss book Hop on Pop, because it “encourages children to use violence against their fathers.”
This time around, as usual, the complaints are a mix of reasonable concerns and baseless attempts to censor widely praised works of art. Here are the six books and movies people complained about in 2015:
Ian McEwan’s novel, shortlisted for the 2001 Booker Prize and included on several “all-time greatest novels” lists, was flagged for “poor grammar and sentence structure.” The library’s materials review committee decided to keep the book. Suspected critic: Margaret Atwood.
Soraida, A Woman of Palestine
A library user complained that Egyptian-Canadian director Tahani Rached’s film about the life of a Palestinian woman and her family during the 2002 Israeli occupation of Ramallah was “propaganda.” The review committee kept the movie.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
The Pulitzer Prize-nominated David Eggers novel is considered a modern classic, but a library user flagged it for being poorly written and profane. The review committee decided to keep the book, because Eggers backlash is so three years ago.
Gilbert Hernandez’s graphic novel contains profanity, and depicts prostitution and violence. A user suggested somehow separating the book from the rest of the library’s collection of graphic novels, so youngsters and their parents wouldn’t be caught unawares. The review committee wasn’t swayed.
Cyanide and Happiness: Punching Zoo
This collection of webcomics has it all: vulgar language, sexual humour, dark and nihilistic themes. A reader complained about the fact that it was shelved with the library’s teen collection. The review committee decided to move it to the adult collection, instead.
The Black Hole
Disney’s little-remembered attempt to cash in on 1979’s Star Wars gold rush is a lot darker than the majority of the Mouse’s cinematic output. One parent was upset to find it included in the children’s DVD collection. The review committee decided to move it to the adult collection.