Banned Books Week 2010


Annual reminder of the celebration of the banned book, and intellectual freedom:

September 25−October 2, 2010

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.

Here’s a sample from the ALA Web site:

The Awakening, Kate Chopin The Awakening

Retained on the Northwester Suburban High School District 214 reading list in Arlington Heights, IL along with eight other challenged titles in 2006. A board member, elected amid promises to bring her Christian beliefs into all board decision-making, raised the controversy based on excerpts from the books she’d found on the Internet. First published in 1899, this novel so distrubed critics and the public that it was banished for decades afterward.

Go read a challenged/burned/banned book while it’s still allowed…

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38 thoughts on “Banned Books Week 2010

    • maryjblog says:

      setting books aside just in case, thogh – that’s may be paranoid, but it’s not cynical so much as hopeful, IMO. I live with the constant hope that maybe today’s the day I’ll meet somebody else who likes to read as much as I do.

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  1. Digital Dame says:

    Really, where are all the readers? Maybe they just don’t like to talk about it as much as we do. Some people think it makes them sound dull if they admit to reading a lot. Somehow watching Dancing with the Stars seems easier for some people to admit to.

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    • maryjblog says:

      I admit to it freely, not only because of the aforementioned constant irrational hope, but because it is a surefire way to scare away the ignorant. At my age I’m long past worrying about seeming like a nerdgirl, and besides, my husband professes to like nerdgirls. He doesn’t even care that I have Tom Jones and Liza Minelli on my IPod.

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    • maryjblog says:

      p.s.

      I know you like science fiction, but I can’t remember – are you a fan of that anti-utopian Doomsday stuff? I just finished one (Atwood’s Oryx and Crake) that was pretty good (just pretty good – After the Flood covered much of the same ground, better, but it was sort of neat to have read both of them,) and am trying to decide whom to recommend it to.

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  2. Digital Dame says:

    Well, I’ve never really sought out the post-apocalyptic lit, but you sort of bump into it in sci-fi whether you’re looking for it or not 😉 I’ve heard mixed reviews of Oryx & Crake. Didn’t that precede After the Flood? It’s funny, I don’t really think of Atwood as a sci-fi writer, but her “The Handmaid’s Tale” does fall into that category. I can add those to my list, on which I don’t seem to be making much headway lately.

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  3. maryjblog says:

    Oryx & Crake came out first, altho I read After the Flood first. They both address events occurring concurrently (after an epidemic, actually, not a real flood,) to a handful of different surviving characters who are sort of tangentially related to one another. I liked A the F better – I think maybe the characters were more interesting – but once I’d read it, O & C did a good job of explaining the events that lead up to the epidemic, and the history of the genetically engineered proto-humans that I personally think might have had an influence on those blue things from “Avatar.” Atwood’s not exclusively a sci-fi writer, but I get the impression that she likes that convention and sees no reason NOT to delve into it once in a while if there is a story she wants to tell.

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  4. Digital Dame says:

    I think a lot of times writers use a sci-fi milieu to explore topics that would be difficult to tackle in a contemporary setting. Ursula Le Guin has said she doesn’t think of herself as a sci-fi writer, but her stories happen to be set in other worlds (or words to that effect). Atwood might be doing the same thing. It can make certain topics come across less ‘preachy’, although James Cameron managed to make Avatar both preachy and sanctimonious, despite the blue people. Not to mention the cultural strip-mining.

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  5. Digital Dame says:

    Astro Sis! Good to see you! 🙂 How’s things?

    No, I hadn’t seen that. The dictionary? THE DICTIONARY??? What is WRONG with people?

    Little Women? I wish HuffPo had more info on why, when, and where it was banned. That is just bizarre.

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  6. gypsyscarlett says:

    Good to be back, Astro Sis! 🙂

    Regarding Little Women, the only thing I’ve been able to come up with online is that some psycho radical group didn’t like that Jo gets married to the older professer at the end. They didn’t like the fact that (in their opinion) she gives up her independence for a submissive role as wife.

    Because, ya know, any female who wants and chooses to marry is a/or turns into a weak, submissive little thing. *shakes head in wonder*

    Can we please ban the banners????

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  7. Digital Dame says:

    That’s about the only thing I can find online, a vague reference to some unnamed ‘radical feminist’ challenge to the book.

    Seriously, why are challenges to books even allowed? Either we have freedom of speech and the freedom to read what we like, or we don’t.

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    • maryjblog says:

      Now I think you know my creds in that department are pretty solid, but I really HATE when women start playing “more feminist than thou,” as though there were some kind of Pope of Feminism who sets the standard, and anybody who diverges from that standard is an apostate. Matriarchal bullying is no better than that of the patriarchal variety.

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      • gypsyscarlett says:

        My thoughts exactly. If I don’t want a guy telling me what to do…why would I want another female to do so?

        What’s right for my life isn’t necessarily right for another gal’s and vice versa.

        And good lordy, if I went around banning books just because I didn’t agree with which dude the gal chose at the end… it boggles my mind.

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      • maryjblog says:

        A long time ago, one of my best friends explained her thought process as she was preparing to get married to this great guy, and trying to decide whether to take his last name or keep the one she was born with. She finally decided on taking his name, and told me “I was in a surly mood and I just didn’t want the feminists telling me what to do…”
        It’s why I love this woman: she is the only person I know who could take a man’s name and present it as a militant act 🙂

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  8. maryjblog says:

    yeah – unless there’s some big mean librarian strapping people down and forcing them to read books, what’s the problem? Read it or don’t read it; let your kids read or sit them in front of the TV and let them marinate in crappy animation and crappier reality shows.

    honestly …

    I think I speak for all of us when I say you don’t have to knock, Gypsy – the door’s always open!

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    • Digital Dame says:

      Yeah, looks like I’m not going to make it for this one this month. I’ll definitely be on board next month, since I picked it 😉 I’ll have to see if “The Shipping News” was ever challenged, or banned.

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      • maryjblog says:

        I’ll be honest – I didn’t want to be a spoilsport when you Knowledge Losters picked Lady C., but I read it a long time ago and didn’t care for it at all. The symbolism (unattractive husband- wheelchair – Industrial Revolution v. sexy gardener – closer to nature) was so heavy handed, and Lawrence’s attempts to understand female sexuality were weak, to say the least (clumsy to the point of ham-fisted, if you really want to know how I feel.) But I’m with Gypsy 100% – gotta love a system that allows us to read it ourselves and decide what we think.

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      • maryjblog says:

        Gypsy, DD: Chazz is letting me pick the book for December – would you guys be more interested in a good old-fashioned hardboiled noir crime novel, or something maybe by Don DeLillo?

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      • gypsyscarlett says:

        I’m cool with either. I love classic noir: Hammett, Caine, etc.

        I’ve never read anything by DeLillo, and I’m always game to try a new author.

        so yeah. Either sounds great to me. 🙂

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      • Digital Dame says:

        Wow, that’s a tough one. Either would work for me, I don’t know that I have a preference. I am interested in reading some of Westlake’s stuff, I know you like him a lot, not sure if that’s who you were thinking of suggesting. DeLillo sounds good, too, though. Sorry, I’m not being much help! Whichever you choose will be fine with me.

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