Banned Books Week

bbw16-question-bubbleWhich banned book character would you want to have lunch with?

Banned Books Week, September 25th – October 1st, brings together the entire book community—libraries, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types —in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider controversial and unpopular.  First observed in 1982, Banned Books Week reminds Americans not to take the freedom to read for granted.


Banned Books Week – September 25 – October 1st

bbw16-bubble-2If you could go back in time, which book would you give your younger self?

Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community—libraries, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types —in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas.  First observed in 1982, Banned Books Week reminds Americans not to take the freedom to read for granted.


Celebrate your  freedom to read during Banned Books Week, September 25 –  October 1

bbw16-largeThis very month, U.S. libraries of all types and sizes, in cities and towns, will acknowledge Banned Books Week September 25—October 1.  Sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA), Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and highlighting the value of open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community—libraries, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types —in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider controversial and unpopular.  First observed in 1982, Banned Books Week reminds Americans not to take the freedom to read for granted.  This year’s Banned Books Week slogan is “Stand Up For Your Right To Read.”

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles lists of challenged books as reported in the media and submitted by librarians and teachers across the country.

The top ten most challenged books of 2015 include:

  1. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
  2. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
  3. I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
  4. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
  5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
  6. The Holy Bible
  7. Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
  8. Habibi, by Craig Thompson
  9. Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
  10. Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan

Below is a list of banned and/or challenged Books from the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century.  Here are the top the top 15 classics from the list, more can be found here

Challenged Classics

  • The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger
  • The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  • The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
  • Ulysses, by James Joyce
  • Beloved, by Toni Morrison
  • 1984, by George Orwell
  • Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
  • Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
  • Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
  • Animal Farm, by George Orwell
  • The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
  • As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner

What Should I Read Next?

booksAre you wondering what books you should read or request next? The staff at the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped want to make sure you are reading the books YOU want to be reading.  Reading a book that is of actual interest to you will make the reading experience that much more enjoyable. And it is good to play a role in the books you are receiving and reading. Your request list with the library can be as long as you want it to be.  When the library staff download books to your cartridge or send you Braille or large print, they are taking books from your request list, so it is good when that list is long and provided by you.  There are different resources to help you choose what you want to read next.

You can always use the Talking Book Topics to choose what you want to read. Talking Book Topics does a good job of grouping the books into different genres and also offering a nice summary of the book to help you decide. You can send us your request list through the mail, give us call or send us an email with your picks.

The library’s online catalog ( can also help you choose what book(s) you may want to read.  Simply do a keyword or subject search for your favorite authors or subject and discover titles you may not have already read.  Or check out the “Lists” section of the catalog and see what titles in the collection the library staff have highlighted.  For example, under “Special Titles” there is a list of titles by Iowa authors, a list of Mystery Picks, etc.

There are also a few websites that could be helpful in choosing your next book:

Amazon (

GoodReads (

All Readers (

These websites do a good job of providing different lists from which to choose books or offering title suggestions that are based on a title you have entered. If you see a book on one of these sites, give us a call with the title and author and we’ll check to see if we have it and put it on your request list.  Or go to our catalog and you can search for yourself!

Remember, we want to send you the books YOU want to read!

What’s New in Large Print

Are you a large print reader? Below are some large print titles that were added to the collection over the summer.  Follow this link to see the entire list of large print titles added this summer.  Some are brand new books; others are books that are old favorites that are new to the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.  As you may know, the large print books can also be sent through the mail to your home.  Just give us a call at 515.281.1323 with some titles and, if they are available, we will get them in the mail to you!

LT12092 – The 14th Colony by Steve Berry

LT12167 – All is not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

LT12090 – As Time Goes By by Mary Higgins Clark

LT12153 – Bay of Sighs by Nora Roberts

LT12100 – Brush of Wings by Karen Kingsbury

LT12086 – Clawback by J.A. Jance

LT12085 – Cometh the Hour by Jeffrey Archer

LT12081 – Country by Danielle Steel

LT12149 – Dishonorable Intentions by Stuart Woods

LT12150 – End of Watch by Stephen King

LT12157 – Falling by Jane Green

LT12087 – A Few of the Girls by Maeve Binchy

LT12094 – Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben

LT12164 – Insidious by Catherine Coulter

LT12098 – Miss Julia Inherits a Mess by Ann B. Ross

LT12089 – Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline

LT12091 – Once a Rancher by Linda Lael Miller

LT12166 – Sunday Kind of Love by Dorothy Garlock

LT12147 – Tall Tail by Rita Mae Brown

LT12082 – Undercover by Danielle Steel

Disaster Books

Books about disasters make for compelling true stories that give us a look into real events. They can be difficult reads as we journey with both heroic and flawed characters through the story.  The moral choices that these types of book can offer really can get us thinking about how we might respond or act in the different situations.  They provide us with those character tests.  Here is a list of some of our books found in our non-fiction collection:

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer DB 44525

A journalist’s first-hand report on the ill-fated Mt. Everest expedition of May 1996 in which a freak storm claimed the lives of nine adventurers. Describes the grueling ascent of the climbers, their sense of elation at reaching the peak, and the tragic events that followed. Strong language. Bestseller. 1997.


Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors by Paul Piers Read DB54741

The ordeal of sixteen young Uruguayan men who survived seventy days in the Andes after a plane crash in 1972. Facing starvation, they were forced to make an agonizing choice between cannibalism and death. 1974.


Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home by Nando Parrado   BR 16868, DB65781

A Uruguayan rugby player recounts surviving the 1972 plane crash that is remembered for causing acts of heroism and cannibalism. Discusses the physical perils of subzero weather, the group’s reaction upon hearing that the rescue operation was called off, and the author’s hike over the mountains for help. 2006.


Zeitoun by Dave Eggers DB 69795

Describes the experiences of the owner of a New Orleans house-painting business during the 2005 Katrina hurricane and flood. Recounts the fleeing of Syrian American Abdulrahman Zeitoun’s wife and children, Zeitoun’s decision to stay and help neighbors and clients, and his consequently inexplicable imprisonment and inability to contact family. Bestseller. 2009.


102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers by Jim Dwyer     DB 59954

Reporters interview survivors and read radio transcripts, phone messages, e-mails, and other accounts to describe conditions inside the World Trade Center between the first terrorist attack and the towers’ collapse on September 11, 2001. Documents communication problems, agency in-fighting, and building structural failures that caused unnecessary deaths. Bestseller. 2005. Co-author is Kevin Flynn.


A Night to Remember by Walter Lord LT5408, BR11461, DB09698

A detailed portrayal of what happened aboard the Titanic when it struck an iceberg and began to sink in the North Atlantic on April 14, 1912. Based on account of the survivors from first class passengers to steerage and crew. Bestseller. 1955.


The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough DB50905

A vivid description of the causes and effects of the Johnstown, Pennsylvania, flood of 1889 that killed thousands. Based on first-person accounts of the tragedy that occurred when a man-made dam broke, flooding the entire valley with twenty million tons of water and debris. 1968.


Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink   DB77656

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist reports on the aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans. Reconstructs the five days it took to rescue the hospital’s staff and patients and examines the life-and-death decisions made and the lawsuits that followed. 2013.


Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 by Stephen Puleo DB59335

Chronicle of the Boston waterfront’s molasses tank collapse that flooded the city’s North End with a sticky twenty-five-foot-high tidal wave, killing twenty-one people. Explores the tragedy from the tank’s 1915 construction to a civil lawsuit decided in 1925 and touches larger issues of immigration, WWI, Prohibition, and labor.