Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Banned Book Week

blog000Just a quick mention that September 24—October 1 is the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week.

I’ve read most of the books on the frequently challenged list. Actually, I read most of them in school (English major.) It boggles my mind to think of anyone trying to ban them. I can imagine people not wanting to read the books themselves. I can imagine parents possibly having concerns about their own child reading some of them (apparently, most of the challenges were from parents.) But I can’t imagine someone deciding that no one needs to read or study those books. The rest of us might feel just as strongly that our child *needs* to read them.

There are so many worse influences out there than books.

Here are twenty of the list of banned and challenged classics:

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald 2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger 3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck 4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee 5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker 6. Ulysses, by James Joyce 7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison 8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding 9. 1984, by George Orwell 11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov 12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck 15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller 16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley 17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell 18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway 19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner 20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway

Here are the top 10 most challenged books for 2010:

2010: 1) And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson; 2) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie; 3) Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley; 4) Crank, by Ellen Hopkins; 5) The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins; 6) Lush, by Natasha Friend; 7) What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones; 8) Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich; 9) Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie; 10) Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer

American libraries were faced with 4,660 challenges over the past 10 years. Here’s a link to the most common reasons.

I’ve thought about the way I feel as a reader when I think about banning books. But I’ve recently wondered how the authors of the books challenged in 2010 feel. Were they surprised? Defiant? Concerned? The books I write are definitely not provocative, but I’d hate to think that I couldn’t write a provocative book.

Read any challenged or banned books lately?