Friday, October 1, 2010

Banned Books Week

A series of different factors have unfortunately have prevented me from making many posts this week. My biggest regret is that I have yet to write about Banned Books Week. After all, this is the Library Punk, and what better embodies the meeting of Libraries and Punk Rock more than celebrating the books that have been banned or challenged? So I decided to write about that instead of my usual Friday post.

Banned Books Week was started in the 1980s as a response to the growing number of book banning attempts. There are any number of reasons books are banned or challenged, but the most common reasons seem to be sexuality, drug use, rebellious youth (youth shown to be acting contrarily to what the elders in power want) and actions or themes running contrary to the dominant religion of the area where the books are banned or challenged.

The Library Punk holds the opinion that intellectual freedom, including being allowed to read what we want, is a key factor in any society's ability to function. The opinion varies slightly when youth are involved: Parents have the right and responsibility to protect their children, and so it is up to the parents to distinguish between quality literature and trash (cough cough Twilight cough). But the responsibility ends there. No parent has the right to decide what other children should be allowed to read. In other words, the Library Punk opposes banning literature.

I haven't read as many banned books as I would have liked to have. Here is a list of banned and challenged books I have read, in alphabetical order:

(This list is based on Wikipedia's list of the most commonly challenged books in the US.)
The Anarchist Cookbook (only parts of it, and I wouldn't recommend it. Waste of time for anarchists), William Powel
Annie On My Mind, Nancy Garden
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
The Call Of The Wild, Jack London
Catcher In The Rye, J. D. Salinger
Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut
The Chocolate War, Robert Cormier
The Giver, Lois Lowry
Goosebumps (about 40-50 books of the original series), R. L. Stine
The Great Gatsby (actually, I faked my way through it for school), F. Scott Fitzgerald
Harry Potter (the entire series, though I only bought the last book), J. K. Rowling
Heart Of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
How To Eat Fried Worms (one of my favorite books when I was younger, I can't believe it was challenged), Thomas Rockwell
The Jungle, Upton Sinclair
Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
My Brother Sam Is Dead, Christopher and James Lincoln Collier
Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey
The Outsiders, S. E. Hinton
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark (as well as the two sequels), Alvin Schwartz
Slaughterhouse 5, Kurt Vonnegut

I don't get many comments on the blog, so if you read this feel free to comment with banned or challenged books that you've read.

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