Howdy and hello, fellow blog-type peoples! (And a heart-felt “Aloha” to you non-blog types, too. You can pull up a chair and make yourselves comfortable here any time.)
It has come to my attention (which can be rather difficult to grab) that Banned Books Week 2013 will be September 22-28, and until today I hadn’t even given a thought to my reading materials. *GASP!* I try to read at least one new-to-me banned or frequently-challenged book every year during this week. More work their way into my reading list during the rest of the year, but I make them a priority during this week.
Banned Books Week celebrates the fact that we are free to read these books that have been challenged or removed from schools and libraries, and that we are able to make our voices heard, even if our thoughts and ideas aren’t popular. A book isn’t necessarily good or worthwhile just because it’s banned, but there are a lot of great books on the list, and I’m certainly glad I have access to them (yes, even the ones I’ll never read).
This year, I’m going to read James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl to the boys at bedtime (and Captain Underpants if we have time), and I’ll be reading Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak to myself at other times. It’s not a long book, so I might be able to fit something else in there, but what? Hmm… I want to read Looking for Alaska (John Green) and 13 Reasons Why (Jay Asher), but I refuse to pay $10.99 for e-books, so I’ll have to decide whether I want to order paperbacks to live on my shelves.
Just for fun (and in case anyone’s looking for recommendations) here are a few of my favourite banned or challenged books that I’ve read over the years, in no particular order, some with links to outside commentary:
- Harry Potter (series) by J,K. Rowling
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- The Giver by Lois Lowry (OK, I haven’t read it since 9th grade, but it was great then!)
- 1984 by George Orwell
- Unwind by Neal Shusterman (HOLY CRAP SO GOOD)
- Carrie by Stephen King
- The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus trilogy #1) by Jonathan Stroud
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- The Lorax by Dr Seuss
Looking for more? Here’s the ALA’s list of the 100 most-frequently banned or challenged books for 2000-2009, and a list of books that have been banned by governments at some time (it’s Wikipedia, so double-check if you’re concerned about authenticity).
So tell me: Do you care about banned books week? Do you make an effort to give these books some attention? Do you try to avoid books that get this kind of negative attention, or that are challenged for specific reasons (language, sexuality, violence, religious views, etc.)? If you’re planning to celebrate this year, what will you be reading?
And have you read 13 Reasons Why or Looking for Alaska? Are they worthy of shelf space?