“Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books that nobody reads.” George Bernard Shaw
The police tape surrounding a book display in my local library was effective; it drew me right to those banned books. The American Library Association is sponsoring Banned Books Week from September 25th through October 1st, and encouraging everyone to read a book that has been challenged or banned somewhere. Not hard to do – you’ve probably already read a few – Shakespeare has been banned, along with Mark Twain’s books.
The librarian had a list of some of the challenged books in my library system. (According to the ALA, a challenge is an attempt to remove materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others – most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection.)
All these challenged books are still on my library’s shelves:
- The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- Forever in Blue, the Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares
- Go Ask Alice
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
- Gossip Girl series by Cecily VonZiegesar
- Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
- His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
- Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
- Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
- And many more…
I picked out a young adult book that has been banned elsewhere and challenged here – The Earth, My Butt, and Other Round Things – the title appealed to me.
“There is no such thing as a moral book or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all.” Oscar Wilde
The ALA has a list of the top ten books by year at ALA List of Banned Books. How many have you read?