Saturday, September 27, 2014

Read Any Good Banned Books Lately?

Nothing like being right on top of things.  I just saw that this has been "Banned Books Week", which has many sponsors and endorsers, including the American Library Association and the American Booksellers Association.  Well, there's still today to go!

There have been read-outs of selections from banned or challenged works, and people can even submit videos for a "virtual read-out." 

There are two lists you may wish to peruse: one of frequently banned classics and another of frequently challenged books (21st Century list).

Full disclosure:  I haven't read many of these.  Very few actually.  I did read Animal Farm in high school; wasn't all that impressed with it and remember very little.  I did start reading 1984 but never read the whole thing.  I also started Catch-22 but didn't get very far as I found it made little sense to me.  As far as what's on the challenge list: I started My Sister's Keeper as it was one of our One Book, One College selections one year, and I didn't like it one bit.  Didn't make it to the end, which I think must be a pretty bad one.  I also have I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings which I'm sure is quite good (I really should read it one day...).  However I also did start reading The Glass Castle  by Jeannette Walls (it was also a One Book, One College selection).  I found it very intriguing.  For some reason I haven't finished it - and I was curious as to "what happens next..." - so I think someday I will pick it up again.  And I must shout out to Ms. Walls, who was so very gracious when she signed my copy.

The lists also give reasons for challenges.  One of the most prevalent is "not appropriate to age group."  While I don't agree with censorship, we probably should be somewhat sensitive to content given to say, below high school level students.  Giving alternate reading assignments or holding off on some books until the students are a bit older might be some alternatives.

For older students and of course, adults: have you read any good banned books lately?

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