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Author Topic: Dare to Read: It's Banned Books Week!  (Read 3272 times)

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October 20, 2013, 12:57:53 AM
Reply #20

paint it Black

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But my issue is - shouldn't the parents had taken the time at the beginning of the year and read over what their kids would be studying in school?

If they are the kind that are likely to restrict everyone in the school from experiencing a book, I'd say they certainly should!  The article states that a letter is sent home to parents outlining the curriculum and the controversial content of some of the reading material.  The offended parent denies receiving this.  This is a book that has been on the recommended reading list for 9 years, and no one has felt the need to ban the book before now.  What gets me is when one parent thinks that they have the right to keep everyone else's child from a book.  >:(  I'm sure that teachers are willing to accommodate any individual student who requires a different book; there's no need to censor it for everyone.

This story sounds a lot like this recent one from North Carolina, where one parent's objection removed Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man from the shelves of Randolph County's school libraries.  I liked the solution that one resident came up with: enlist the publisher to provide a free copy of the book to any student in the county who wants one.  Take that, book banners!  :fredgeorge: (I'm not positive, but I think the school board did subsequently vote to reverse the ban.)

In both the NC and NM case, I hope all the uproar causes more students to read the book than would have otherwise.  :hermioneread:   :hermioneread:   :hermioneread:   :hermioneread:

"Oh Harry, don't you see?" Hermione breathed.  "If she could have done one thing
to make absolutely sure that every single person in this school will read your interview, it was banning it!"

(Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Scholastic hardcover p. 582)

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September 22, 2014, 03:08:09 PM
Reply #21

paint it Black

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It's that time of year again, time to get out and read a book that some may think is not fit for decent people to read!  :o  Welcome to Banned Books Week 2014!  Will you choose a banned book to read this year, and if so, which one?  If you are looking for suggestions, here is the list of the books that were most often challenged in 2013, and here is a list of commonly banned and challenged classics.  Do you have any other plans to observe Banned Book Week?


I'm going to participate this year by reading Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.  I know that it is a favorite of many, but I have yet to read it.  My two main inspirations for choosing it are, 1) I read The Grapes of Wrath by the same author this summer and enjoyed it, and 2) my kid is reading it for school right now, so I have someone at home with whom to talk about it!  :grouptalk:

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September 24, 2014, 12:17:56 AM
Reply #22

Dreamteam

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paint it Black, I loved Of Mice and Men, I studied it for OWLs and loved it (as has often happened with books I've read for study) which resulted in me wanting to read everything else written by Steinbeck, I particularly liked the Cannery Row books. 


I'm killing two birds with one stone - I'm re-reading the whole Twilight series which I can then send off to the local charity shop to contribute to the space I need on my bookshelves to get some of the books off my desk and other items of furniture around the house.   

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September 28, 2014, 08:36:30 PM
Reply #23

Evreka

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It is completely beyond me how a country such as the US which supposedly defence the right of the free speach can allow books to be banned in the first place?  :annoyed: And as they do, how they can simultaneously sport a phenomenon such as Banned Books Weak in which people are encouraged to read them?  :crabbegoyle:  It just doesn't seem logical at all... Does it? No offence Americans, I realise there is something here that I don't get....

The list of banned and challenged classics held some very surprising titles, I think. Some of these books are highly recommended literature that you study in school in my country! Why, then, are they banned?  :crabbegoyle:

Such as
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
There might be more, these titles I recognized directly, a few others I am unsure of. In school I came across their Swedish titles and it's not always easy to be sure of the English (or other) title then.


Banned classics that I've read at some point in my life
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding --  :love:
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell - Fun to have read once, but no favourite.
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien   :thumbup:
57. Sophie's Choice, by William Styron - Interesting, but not a favourite.

9. 1984, by George Orwell (read excerpts in school)


In some cases I can sort of see why the book could be considered to be provoking, (in others I am utterly unfamiliar with the title), but how did these end up on that list?
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
57. Sophie's Choice, by William Styron

1984 and Animal Farm are both directed at the communistical way of life,  if I remember correctly, so why has the US banned them?  :crabbegoyle:
« Last Edit: September 28, 2014, 08:38:31 PM by Evreka »
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September 28, 2014, 10:43:39 PM
Reply #24

paint it Black

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paint it Black, I loved Of Mice and Men, I studied it for OWLs and loved it (as has often happened with books I've read for study) which resulted in me wanting to read everything else written by Steinbeck, I particularly liked the Cannery Row books. 
I liked it as well, Dreamteam, I read it in only three days!  It would have been two days, but my reading companion wanted to leave the last chapter for the next day, so I did also.  And since I liked The Grapes of Wrath as well, just the day before I read your post I was wondering if I might like the Cannery Row books!  I got to visit Monterey CA once years ago (a really beautiful place), and there were many Cannery Row references there that I was not familiar with.

It is completely beyond me how a country such as the US which supposedly defence the right of the free speach can allow books to be banned in the first place?  :annoyed: And as they do, how they can simultaneously sport a phenomenon such as Banned Books Weak in which people are encouraged to read them?  :crabbegoyle:  It just doesn't seem logical at all... Does it? No offence Americans, I realise there is something here that I don't get....

Evreka, this page from the Banned Books Week site gives explanations for why some of these books were challenged or banned.  And not all of the guilty parties that are listed are in the US, but most are.  Unfortunately, there are narrow-minded people all over the world, and the US is no exception.  It seems that most of the bans or challenges have to do with offensive language of some sort (sexual, racist, etc.), often in school districts but sometimes in the libraries of communities.  Banned Books Week was started by the American Library Association to "...bring 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."   And rebels like us support them because we believe that all people should have equal access to art of all kinds!  :bravo:  The ALA also states that, "While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read."  So, when enough readers like ourselves stand up for freedom, it makes a difference!  :thumbup:

Although the entire list of justifications for banning books is disheartening to read, I saw a few surprises that stood out:

The Lord of the Rings was not just banned but burned  >:( by a church group in Alamagordo, NM in 2001 for being "satanic".

Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov was banned by several countries as "obscene", including in France from 1956 - 1959.  I can't say that I know a lot about France, but my impression is that they are pretty open-minded about both sex and art, so this was a surprise to me!


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September 29, 2014, 04:28:05 AM
Reply #25

Laura W

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Well, as I have said before here (and on LL) John Steinbeck is my second most favourite fiction writer ever.  I have read all his work - although many years ago, to be fair - and I love them all.  But Of Mice and Men is my favourite of his stories.  I can understand why some would feel it should be banned.  But i first read it as a teenager and thought it was brilliant then ... as I still do.
I think Grapes of Wrath is a genius book. 
The thing about Steinbeck is that he does not candy coat his characters or the lives they lead.  He is as much an American historian as a novelist; and the way he depicts his America at the time he was writing about is not often pretty or complimentary to his country. 

For me, Animal Farm and 1984 were VERY anti-Communist.  I would think those books would be touted and praised by the America of the cold war era and even today.  Odd that some would want to ban them.

I took Lord of the Flies in high school.  It was one of the few books that high school English teachers did not ruin for me.  I think everyone should read it; it is very, very sad and somewhat horrifying but a morality tale as relevant today as it was when Golding wrote it.  Not for the very young, but certainly appropriate for high school aged or older (in my opinion).

I have never read anything by Tolkien and don't plan to at this point, but how silly to want that classic series to be banned.  Guess it's because the books have magic in them?  Good grief!  So does Cinderella.

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September 29, 2014, 08:39:35 PM
Reply #26

Evreka

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It is completely beyond me how a country such as the US which supposedly defence the right of the free speach can allow books to be banned in the first place?  :annoyed: And as they do, how they can simultaneously sport a phenomenon such as Banned Books Weak in which people are encouraged to read them?  :crabbegoyle:  It just doesn't seem logical at all... Does it? No offence Americans, I realise there is something here that I don't get....
Evreka, this page from the Banned Books Week site gives explanations for why some of these books were challenged or banned.  And not all of the guilty parties that are listed are in the US, but most are.  Unfortunately, there are narrow-minded people all over the world, and the US is no exception. 
I'm genuinely sorry if that post came across as if I thought all narrow-minded people were Americans.  :-[  It wasn't what I meant at all. I know they crop up in all sorts of places, we've even had a Headmaster for a private school who wasted Television time by trying to work people's mind up against Harry Potter in my country as well (which she had nothing for)  :shake: .  This was years ago.

Thanks for the link, I'll try to cure my ignorance later. :)


For me, Animal Farm and 1984 were VERY anti-Communist.  I would think those books would be touted and praised by the America of the cold war era and even today.  Odd that some would want to ban them.
My thoughts too, Laura W. If Russia, Albania or similar had banned them it would have been understandable, but US?  :crabbegoyle:


I have never read anything by Tolkien and don't plan to at this point, but how silly to want that classic series to be banned.  Guess it's because the books have magic in them?  Good grief!  So does Cinderella.
   
The Swedish Headmaster who (pretty much) wanted people to stop reading Harry Potter, and used a vast number of arguments that didn't really impress  :-X, claimed among other things that they were inherently evil because there were wizards in them. I guess, maybe, the difference between Cinderella and LOTR is that the latter has a wizard? Still, it is a fairy tale for more mature children/youth/adults. There's no real life religion anywhere in sight...

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September 29, 2014, 11:44:56 PM
Reply #27

Laura W

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Well, Cinderella has a fairy godmother in it who waves her wand and changes rags into a ball gown, a pumpkin into a coach and mice into beautiful horses.  If that's not witchcraft and sorcery, I don't know what is. (hee, hee)

So, a wizard who can do magic is worse than a woman who suddenly appears before a young girl and performs miracles?  They both seem pretty "satanic" and anti-religious to me.  (wink)  ...

Obviously I'm being sarcastic here - finding nothing "satanic" or anti-Christian in either Cinderella or LOTR -; I'm just being a bit silly and ridiculous.  But nowhere as silly and ridiculous as that Swedish professor and that church group in Alamagordo.

LW
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September 30, 2014, 03:23:03 AM
Reply #28

ss19

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It is completely beyond me how a country such as the US which supposedly defence the right of the free speach can allow books to be banned in the first place?  :annoyed: And as they do, how they can simultaneously sport a phenomenon such as Banned Books Weak in which people are encouraged to read them?  :crabbegoyle:  It just doesn't seem logical at all... Does it? No offence Americans, I realise there is something here that I don't get....
1984 and Animal Farm are both directed at the communistical way of life,  if I remember correctly, so why has the US banned them?  :crabbegoyle:

Well, the US as a country does not ban any of these books.  But libraries, schools, or communities, etc., have the freedom to choose which books to put on their bookshelves, and the individual members of these libraries/schools/communities have the freedom to speak up when they have something against a particular book and want it removed from the bookshelves.  That's what the list of banned books really is.  It contains the names of books that are most frequently asked by individuals to be removed from a library, etc.  It doesn't mean all these books were actually banned by any group, though some probably were.

The US being a country that values individual freedom means (to me) that everyone can have and voice their own opinion, however strongly the rest of the population might disagree.  So it makes sense to me that we'd be a country that has all these voices of people who want certain books banned from their libraries or schools or whatever.

I know some Christian schools do ban Harry Potter books from their classrooms, and I've had well-meaning friends warn me to be careful what fantasy books I allow my kids to read.  They're certainly entitled to their opinion, but I'm also free to disagree with them, so I just shrug and thank them politely for their concern.

My library has a table showcasing and promoting these so-called "banned books" for National Banned Books Week.  Looking at this list that paint it Black provided a few posts back, I'm proud to say that I own quite a few of these books I purchased for my kids, including the entire set of the Captain Underpants series that's at the top of list.  Those books were loved and read repeatedly by my one son who hates to read normally.  We own the entire set of the Bone books by Jeff Smith as well, #10 on that list, which the same son also loves and reads repeatedly.  We own the Hunger Games books, #5 on the list, as well.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2014, 12:32:58 PM by ss19 »
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September 30, 2014, 07:13:12 AM
Reply #29

Laura W

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I think this quote fits in this thread ...

In a 1979 edition of his 1953 book, Fahrenheit 451, science fiction master Ray Bradbury wrote a Coda.  It said - in part -


 " There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist/Unitarian, Irish/Italian/Octogenarian/Zen Buddhist, Zionist/Seventh-day Adventist, Women's Lib/Republican, Mattachine/FourSquareGospel feels it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse.
 
...   For it is a mad world and it will get madder if we allow the minorities, be they dwarf or giant, orangutan or dolphin, nuclear-head or water-conversationalist, pro-computerologist or Neo-Luddite, simpleton or sage, to interfere with aesthetics. The real world is the playing ground for each and every group, to make or unmake laws. But the tip of the nose of my book or stories or poems is where their rights and my territorial imperatives begin, run and rule. If Mormons do not like my plays, let them write their own. If the Irish hate my Dublin stories, let them rent typewriters. If teachers and grammar school editors find my jawbreaker sentences shatter their mushmilk teeth, let them eat stale cake dunked in weak tea of their own ungodly manufacture."



Take it or leave it as you will.   :hmm:

   
« Last Edit: September 30, 2014, 07:16:14 AM by Laura W »
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October 04, 2014, 10:50:34 PM
Reply #30

paint it Black

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My library has a table showcasing and promoting these so-called "banned books" for National Banned Books Week.  Looking at this list that paint it Black provided a few posts back, I'm proud to say that I own quite a few of these books I purchased for my kids, including the entire set of the Captain Underpants series that's at the top of list.  Those books were loved and read repeatedly by my one son who hates to read normally.  We own the entire set of the Bone books by Jeff Smith as well, #10 on that list, which the same son also loves and reads repeatedly.  We own the Hunger Games books, #5 on the list, as well.

Hooray for books that encourage reluctant readers, and for the parents who buy them for their children!  :thumbup:

In a 1979 edition of his 1953 book, Fahrenheit 451, science fiction master Ray Bradbury wrote a Coda.....
   
:bravo:


Well, here's a great way to NOT celebrate Banned Books Week... A school district in the Dallas, TX area last month removed seven texts from the list of books approved for teachers to use in their lessons, including Siddhartha, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, An Abundance of Katherines and The Glass Castle: A Memoir (although the books did remain available in the school library).  One class of tenth grade students were already in the midst of studying The Art of Racing in the Rain, when they were told to stop, leaving the teacher without a lesson plan for the class. Fortunately, a group of students and parents protested (and were able to use the timing of Banned Books Week as a backdrop  :thumbup:) and the decision was reversed.


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September 30, 2015, 04:23:56 PM
Reply #31

paint it Black

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It's here, it's now, it's happening: Banned Books Week 2015 started on Sunday, September 27th and continues through Saturday October 3.  Are you already in the midst of reading your banned book for this year?  Or are you still planning your trip to the library, bookstore, or your favorite reading device to get your hands on your naughty book for this year?  Once you've made your choice, please come back here and tell us about it!

If you're looking for some suggestions... From the American Library Association, here is a list of the top 10 most frequently challenged books of the 20th century, by year; here is a list of banned and challenged classics.

A writer from Slate magazine stirred up a bit of controversy this week with her article, "Banned Books Week is a Crock!", suggesting that the whole idea of the event is overblown, since "There is basically no such thing as a 'banned book' in the United States in 2015."  :hmm: Would you agree, or are you more on the same page with this rebuttal that appeared on Bookriot's site? 

As for myself... I like to observe this week by choosing a book from the "classics" list, that way I can get both a banned book and a classic under my belt with one read.  :thumbup: This year, I chose James Joyce's Ulysses; I remember picking it last year at this time to be my read this year, but I can't remember why or what I learned about it.  :crabbegoyle: So I was a little stunned when I pulled it off the shelf at the library and saw that this is a brick of a book, as in, over 1000 pages. :o Needless to say, I am a bit intimidated.  But I've decided to give it a try.  If it doesn't take, I may switch over to Catch 22, or Toni Morrison's Beloved.  I admit that I have not started reading Ulysses yet; I'm having trouble putting down the book I am currently reading.  I do definitely want to get into my Banned Book this week, though! 

Does your school or local library or book shop do anything to observe Banned Books Week?  What meaning does Banned Books Week hold for you?  Tell us about it!  :hermionelibrary:



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October 01, 2015, 12:14:32 AM
Reply #32

Laura W

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Ulysses! Holy smoly!  In the mood for a little light reading, are you?  (Hee, hee)  I think I once took up that book about 20 or so years ago.  Got through a few pages and dropped it.  Just couldn't get into it.  I know Joyce is supposed to be a brilliant writer, but have never been able to read more than a few pages of anything he has penned.  Guess he is just not my cup of tea.

When I was in my late teens I read Catch 22.  I really liked it.  ( Warning ... it is very cynical and quite "dirty".   :o But is a realistic, non-romantic portrayal of war.  Also very American.

Laura
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October 03, 2015, 06:01:50 PM
Reply #33

HealerOne

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Oh my goodness! I have never read Ulysses, but I just read the cliff notes on it. Wow! The author wrote the book from 18 points of view! That alone would blow my mind. Good luck reading it. You will have to tell us how that goes. I don't think I have the patience to read that. But it does sound intriguing.

My favorite classic banned book is Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. An excellent book to pick up.

I think it is important not to ban things and to have adults have the freedom to explore all ideas, because how does one know what is a 'good'  idea vs, a 'bad' one if you never have sampled one or the other? Just because you have read things which have odd, crazy, evil, or simply weird ideas doesn't mean you agree with those thoughts. I think it makes you a more well rounded and careful person when you delve into things that go against your grain.

However I do think that there is nothing wrong with saying to a child, "This book isn't age appropriate, but when you are older you certainly can read it, if you still wish to." Or have an to adult sit down and read with the child or discuss what they are reading, so that all sides of the issues are revealed to the child. Reading is such a fantastic way to open all sorts of doors to a young reader, but I do think, just like with movies  and even the news, we, as adults, need to monitor what kind of exposure the child is getting. What do you all think?
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November 03, 2015, 11:54:01 PM
Reply #34

paint it Black

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Ulysses! Holy smoly!  In the mood for a little light reading, are you?  (Hee, hee)  I think I once took up that book about 20 or so years ago.  Got through a few pages and dropped it.  Just couldn't get into it.  I know Joyce is supposed to be a brilliant writer, but have never been able to read more than a few pages of anything he has penned.  Guess he is just not my cup of tea....

Laura
Oh my goodness! I have never read Ulysses, but I just read the cliff notes on it. Wow! The author wrote the book from 18 points of view! That alone would blow my mind. Good luck reading it. You will have to tell us how that goes. I don't think I have the patience to read that. But it does sound intriguing....


I really can't fathom what might have inspired me to choose this title last year.  A re-telling of The OdysseyReally?  Reading that (and The Iliad) was like one of the most academically traumatic things that I endured in my high school years.  :headbang: I would not have knowingly chosen to put myself through it again!  But, I did start in with it.  I don't like to give up on things.  I couldn't help thinking though... there are so many unread books out there that I truly want to read....  :hmm: Ultimately, I needed to take a break from it in order to finish the book I was reading when Banned Books Week began, as it was due at the library before I could possibly finish Ulysses.  And then Ulysses became due before I could finish the first book.  So, back it went.  :ashamed: I did make it through to the end of Part 1 (which was barely decipherable, even as a stream-of-consciousness-type thing), and a bit into Part 2 (which was in actual English); I can't remember what page number I was on, but something between 100 and 120, I think.  Maybe I will pick it up again someday.


...I think it is important not to ban things and to have adults have the freedom to explore all ideas, because how does one know what is a 'good'  idea vs, a 'bad' one if you never have sampled one or the other? Just because you have read things which have odd, crazy, evil, or simply weird ideas doesn't mean you agree with those thoughts. I think it makes you a more well rounded and careful person when you delve into things that go against your grain.

However I do think that there is nothing wrong with saying to a child, "This book isn't age appropriate, but when you are older you certainly can read it, if you still wish to." Or have an to adult sit down and read with the child or discuss what they are reading, so that all sides of the issues are revealed to the child. Reading is such a fantastic way to open all sorts of doors to a young reader, but I do think, just like with movies  and even the news, we, as adults, need to monitor what kind of exposure the child is getting. What do you all think?


I agree that parents should be able to govern what reading material is or is not appropriate for their particular child.  But I don't think that a parent should be able to remove a particular book from a library or a classroom and limit access to it for other children.  School and youth librarians for the most part do not have an interest in pushing age-inappropriate material to their clientele, so I'd generally trust their judgement as to what books should be made available to young readers.  After that, it is up to the parents to decide whether a particular book is appropriate or not for their child. IMO.

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September 29, 2016, 02:51:12 AM
Reply #35

paint it Black

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Welcome once again, naughty readers, to Banned Books Week!  Have you started your rebellious reading for this year yet?  Banned Books Week 2016 runs from September 25 - October 1, so you still have a few days left to pick out something forbidden if you want to participate.  :hermionelibrary:

Here is the newest list of the top ten most challenged books, from 2015.  Does any title jump out as a surprise to you?  I admit that I did a double take when I saw The Holy Bible at number seven.  ???

I've chosen Toni Morrison's Beloved as my banned book for this year.  OK, I've checked it out, I haven't started reading yet  :ashamed:; I have two other books vying for my attention for book events, but I think tonight is the night I finally crack it open!  If you'd also like to read a classic book to participate in Banned Books Week, check out this list of Banned and Challenged Classics from the American Library Association.

Have you heard of any interesting events connected with Banned Books Week this year?  Does your community or local library participate in any way?   My local library this year has a display of books wrapped in plain brown wrappers; you discover which banned book you've chosen after you check it out.  I also saw an interesting story about how the Washington DC public library is observing Banned Books Week: with a scavenger hunt.  They wrapped a number of banned books in eye-catching black-and-white covers which proclaimed the reason why each had been banned or challenged, then placed them in book-friendly locations around the city.  Some people have started to share photos of their finds on social media, prompting more people to get involved.  Sort of like Pokemon Go meets Banned Books Week.  :sherlock:

Please share with us your experiences with Banned Books Week this year!



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