Thursday, September 26, 2013

Be A Rebel - Read a Banned Book

The American Library Association (ALA) annually hosts Banned Books Week that celebrates the freedom to read and brings awareness to censorship. The week reveals the importance of open access to information. Or as the ALA states it, "Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular." Banned Books Week started in 1982 and has become an annual event for libraries, bookstores, and others across the country. 

Banned books was not something I had necessarily put much thought into as a youngster and, while I do "censor" what books I let my children choose to read, I was surprised once I started reading through the compilation of banned books over the years, which titles were actually there. Some of the books listed are some of my favorites! Now, does this mean there are not books I choose not to read - absolutely not. But the idea behind not banning books is exactly that - choice. I am allowed the freedom to choose what I want to read and this freedom, this open access to information, is a wonderful and staggering privilege. It is understood that "knowledge is power" (who said that anyway...G.I. Joe?) and I try to keep this in mind each time I open up a book. Books truly are "frigates" as Dickinson said, and every person should be able to choose what "lands far away" to travel to.

That being said here are some Banned Books for you to check out, if you so desire (you may recognize some of these titles...from past book clubs choices or the current class offering at SLFL):

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. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
6. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
7. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
8. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
9. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
10. An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser

If you want to learn more about Banned Books Week check out the ALA web page here: or the Banned Books Website here:

Happy Reading!

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