Tag Archives: event

Banned Books Week

27 Sep

It’s Banned Books Week, so let’s do an old fashioned book parade! Dress up like your favourite book character… I bags being Dawn from The Baby-sitters Club! (That used to be my old standby – we both had long blonde hair so it was easy.)

Okay, no, the aforementioned parade is actually a Book Week activity, which is an entirely different animal. From September 24 to October 1, America (and therefore the world?) holds Banned Books Week to draw attention to censorship by hosting a variety of events, both IRL and online.

So what kind of books have been banned in the past? Well, you name it – if it has a story, it seems to have pissed someone off somewhere, what with its religious viewpoints, unsuitability to its age group, anti-family values, sexually explicit material, offensive language, violence and homosexuality (oh my, what a book THAT would be).

The list of challenged books is pretty interesting, and the American Library Association has a great database, listing them by year, author and decade. Then there’s the list of challenged classics: of the Top 100 from the Radcliffe Top Novels of the 20th Century, at least 46% have been challenged. In fact, of the top 15, 12 have been protested (crossed out below) – yes, people have had to fight to keep these books in libraries and schools:

  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
  10. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  11. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
  12. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  13. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  14. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  15. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Scary, huh? Imagine how bland the literary world would be without these wonders floating around out there. I’m trying to avoid using emoticons in these posts, but sometimes you just need to use a sad face 😦

If you’re a fan of not having your reading list dictated to you by a crazy minority group, you might want to take part in the BWB YouTube channel. It features people reading snippets of books that have been challenged at one time or another – you can just watch other people’s or upload your own. There are famous readers, like Whoopi Goldberg, and people like this guy, who’s reading The Lorax (challenged because it “criminalises the foresting industry”… yes, really). It’s strangely addictive.