Celebrate Banned Books Week

One of the most enjoyable scholarly activities one can engage in is the reading of banned books.  It is often these banned books that portray a palpable reality, even if those realities are dark places into which one might not venture voluntarily.  So read a banned book.  Don’t let someone else determine what you can learn and experience.

HERE are 10 way the New York Times suggests celebrating Banned Books Week.  Cheers.

from crooksandliars.com

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3 Responses to Celebrate Banned Books Week

  1. Dan Kleinman says:

    No book has been banned in the USA for about half a century. Fanny Hill got that honor a long time ago. Challenged books in schools that are removed is different from banning. Setting aside that Banned Books Week is propaganda, the creator of BBW said:

    “On rare occasion, we have situations where a piece of material is not what it appears to be on the surface and the material is totally inappropriate for a school library. In that case, yes, it is appropriate to remove materials. If it doesn’t fit your material selection policy, get it out of there.”

    See: “Banned Books Week Propaganda Exposed by Progressive Librarian Rory Litwin; ALA Censors Out Criticism of Its Own Actions in a Manner Dishonest to the Core.”

    See also: “Celebrate ‘Librarians Trying to Make Themselves Feel Important’ Week!,” by Annoyed Librarian, Library Journal, 26 September 2011.

    • Cody Deitz says:

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I understand no books have actually been banned for many years, but as you say, many have been challenged. And I understand that some books may indeed be inappropriate for school campuses, especially middle school campus or the like. There are many books that have been challenged and removed from school libraries that seem pretty silly. We all remember the fuss over the Harry Potter series. I also wrote briefly on a school disallowing many Kurt Vonnegut titles to be kept in the school libraries. I understand that the parents are attempting to protect their children from material they deem inappropriate but there’s a certain point, especially with older, more mature students, that no benefit is had from removing literary renditions of sex or violence from their reading material. The violence portrayed in Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five is not designed to entertain like much of the violence the students would otherwise encounter in other popular media; it’s designed to teach a lesson about the horrors of war. It’s definitely a complex issue and one I believe merits discussion and not a simple write-off as publicity stunt.

  2. Debbie says:

    I think this is an important discussion. Recently we have seen what happened to Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. While the terms removed were offensive they also communicated the temperature of the times which should never be forgotten or it will be repeated (has it already started?). By sanitizing written works we are also removing a view into the times in which they were created. We need to remember that our freedom of speech will only survive if we continue to fight for it. Dare I ask how much of that basic American freedom we have already lost thanks to the Patriot Act? Or is the mere act of asking now considered by some to be “inappropriate”? Just asking.

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