Every year for the past 29 years the American Library Association sponsors Banned Books Week: The Freedom To Read
Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where the freedom to express oneself and the freedom to choose what opinions and viewpoints to consume are both met.
This year read a banned book week falls on:
Saturday 2011 September 24 – Saturday 2011 October 01
The American Library Association maintains a list of The Top 100 Banned Novels Of The 20th Century for your reading pleasure.
Starting with this year there is even a web site and a domain dedicated to Banned Books Week called BannedBooksWeek.org
Lastly here is a list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books Of 2010:
- And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: offensive language, racism, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
- Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, and sexually explicit
- Crank, by Ellen Hopkins
Reasons: drugs, offensive language, and sexually explicit
- The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
- Lush, by Natasha Friend
Reasons: drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
- What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
Reasons: sexism, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
- Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich
Reasons: drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, and religious viewpoint
- Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie
Reasons: homosexuality and sexually explicit
- Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: religious viewpoint and violence
Usually I find the yearly “most challenged” list to be a bit of bore. Most of the time the books are challenged because they are in high school libraries, have “bad words” that parents think they can insulate their children from and mention that homosexuals exist.
This year I actually found the list interesting as there were 3 books listed ( in red ) that went beyond the “shame on you, bad words!” category.
Number 5 was recommended to me by a neighbor, who I have tremendous respect for. Anna is one of those innately talented people whose good qualities were enhanced even further by being brought up by an excellent family in an excellent environment. About as smart, well balanced and wholesome as a person can get and here is one of her books on a list people want to forbid.
I read “Brave New World” on my own when I was a teenager. One of the most thought provoking books in the world and I think any negative charges against it are flat out ridiculous. Ironically, the story makes people aware of the kind of dehumanization growing in our society that many religiously conservative people would object to. They are attacking a book that could be one of their best friends if they had the depth of thought to see it.
I also read “Nickeled And Dimed” and I am truly amazed it has been challenged. It is the story of a journalist who abandoned all her wealth and resources for about year to see how easy it is to start over, survive and rise by working minimum wage jobs. If I hadn’t been reading the most challenged list for years I would say that the opposition to this book is politically motivated, but I know that are a lot of myopic parents getting bent out of shape over curse words despite living in a world of REAL of truly serious problems.
There are so many good things I could say that I feel clogged.
Please read or talk about a book from one of these lists during Banned Books Week 2011.
All freedom and all progress is ultimately rooted in the free flow of ideas.