Saturday, September 10

Banned Book Week 2011

Banned Books Week is an annual event in the USA, which helps advocate intellectual freedom and the freedom to read right what you want, which happens at the end of the month of September, this year its falls between September 24 - October 1. Although Canada has a Freedom to Read week in February of each year, I do plan on participating in banned book week as well, as it is an important issue. This year my goal is to try to read as many banned or challenged books in the month of September as I can.

Many books are banned by small groups or are questioned by a few people because of their own personal beliefs. Schools have the most amount of challenged and banned books do to questions of age appropriateness material, sexual content, offensive language  and religious beliefs. While it is understandable that you don't approve of a particular book, to attempt to prevent others or other people children from reading it is unfair. Some of the most banned books are some of the popular books read today including Huckleberry Finn (banned/challenged because of issues surrounding language and racism) and the Harry Potter Series (challenged/banned because of issues of surrounding religious belief.) If you want more information on banned books week go to the Facebook page here or go to the ALA Website who hosts banned books week and learn more about banned books weekend which books appear on the lists.

Below  you can find a list of the banned books I've read (this month) along with a short description of when/where/why they were banned or challenged along with a link to my review.  

1) Snow Falling on Cedars - David Guterson

  • This book has been challenged multiple times in schools due to its sexual content and its portrayal of racism and prejudice against Japanese-Americans. In some cases the book was retained. The book remains on the top 100 banned or challenged books of the past decade (2000 - 2009)

2) Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson
  • This book was put under fire in 2010 to be removed from shelves in a high school in Missouri. The book was characterized as "pornographic" by the challenger as the reason why it should be removed from the bookshelves.

3) The Awakening - Kate Chopin

  • Challenged because of its unconventional portrayal of women in society, sexuality, vulgar language.

4) Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut

  • Banned from schools in Strongsville, OH, in 1972 - this was later overturned in court in 1976. The book remains on the ALA's top 100 classic books that have been banned or challenged.

5) A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingway

  • Banned in Italy in 1929 because of its "painfully accurate account on the retreat from Caporetto" (From the ALA site). The book has also been challenged at numerous schools do to its sexual content. The book has also been subjected to censorship since the time of its publication when words such as "Shit" were replaced with dashes. Find more from this link here. I'd love to find an origional source behind this to confirm it. Very interesting if it is true

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