Banned Books Week

“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?

Banned Books and 9/11

SEPTEMBER 11 – For some, the question was “Where were you when Kennedy was shot?”  For others – “Where were you when John Lennon was killed?”   But today, the generational question is, of course, “Where were you on 9/11? (2001)”

Has the world changed over the last nine years?  Have we learned anything to make it better?  To be more tolerant?

The New York Times posted an article yesterday about a book being recalled and the publisher’s comment:  “Their clumsy efforts to suppress the book only made it a bestseller…”      And then, there’s the minister who threatened to burn the Koran.

The American Library Association sponsors Banned Book Week – this year from September 25th– October 2nd.

Do you know which books have been banned in the United States – at one time or another?  The list would surprise you.

Harry Potter and Huckleberry Finn have been long favorites.  Here are some others – just in case you are looking for something to read…

  • John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
  • Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner
  • Daniel Keyes’ Flowers for Algernon
  • John Updike’s Rabbit, Run
  • Alice Walker’s The Color Purple
  • Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women
  • Joseph Heller’s Catch-22
  • Toni Morrison’s Beloved
  • Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale
  • John Steinbeck’s East of Eden (wonder if Oprah knew)