Banned Books Week, September 26 – October 3, 2009


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Banned Books Week is here, and as a reader and writer this is something I take great interest in. I’ve talked here many times about books that have been challenged and banned (Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian for one). From the American Library Association’s Web site:

Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.  Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

I read through the lists every year, and am astonished at the things people find objectionable. The Lorax? For “criminalizing the foresting industry.” Here’s one that stopped me in my tracks: The Lord of the Rings. Burned outside the Christ Community Church in Alamagordo, NM in 2001 as satanic. People are doing WAY too much peyote down there to find Satan in those books, especially since they were penned by a devout Christian. Tolkien was instrumental in C. S. Lewis’s conversion to Christianity, for crying out loud.

You can see lists of Frequently Challenged Books by year at the ALA’s site.

Now, go read a banned book, while it’s still allowed.

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8 thoughts on “Banned Books Week, September 26 – October 3, 2009

  1. It’s incredible some of the books that have been challenged and banned in various times and places. I’m still reeling over LOTR being considered ‘satanic.’ I know the Harry Potter series gets challenged on a regular basis.

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  2. I’ve got an even better idea: gather up the kiddies and read a banned book to them. There’s nothing like a little civil disobedience as a cross-generational bonding activity. Rise up, comrades in literature!

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    1. I’m in, ‘cuz there is no revolution without language. Since I am from New Jersey, I think that we should read REALLY LOUDLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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