“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
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.