Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Banned Books Week ~ September 24 till October 1st


Celebrate Banned Books ~ and our freedom in having a choice!

What I love about Banned Books Week is that it reminds me of one of our most important rights – Freedom of Speech. We can read or write or speak almost anything we dream or wish in the US, unlike many countries and times in the past. It helps us remember that banning can be a slippery slope to lesser freedoms. I want be able to choose, and although some books are not appropriate for everyone we should still have a choice. 

Several books reviewed on Layers of Thought have been challenged and/or banned in the past several years. The following is extracted from the website of the ALA – the American Library Association:speak audio

Speak ~ by Laurie Halse Anderson;  Why and When:  Challenged in the Republic, Mo. schools (2010) because it is “soft-pornography” and “glorifies drinking, cursing, and premarital sex.”  Source: Nov. 2010, pp. 243–44.

mark haddon -curious dog

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time ~ by Mark Haddon;   Why and When:  Removed from the Lake Fenton, Mich. summer reading program (2010) after parents complained about its “foul language.” The book is about an autistic child who investigates the death of a neighborhood dog. It was a joint winner of the 2004 Booker Prize and won the 2003 Whitbread Book of the Year award. Source: Sept. 2010, p. 200.

lolita audio random house 2005

Lolita ~ by Vladimir Nabokov (The quintessential classic banned book – review coming real soon!)   Why and When:   Banned as obscene in France (1956-1959), in England (1955-59), in Argentina (1959), and in New Zealand (1960). The South African Directorate of Publications announced on November 27, 1982, that Lolita has been taken off the banned list, eight years after a request for permission to market the novel in paperback had been refused.  Challenged at the Marion-Levy Public Library System in Ocala, FL (2006).  The Marion County commissioners voted to have the county attorney review the novel that addresses the themes of pedophilia and incest, to determine if it meets the state law’s definition of “unsuitable for minors.” 

Whys and whens are taken from the ALA’s website; use the badge at the top of the blog to link to more information. Titles link to our actual reviews for the books.

Here is a list of the top 97 commonly banned or challenged ~ Classics:

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald  SN 
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger  SN
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck  SN*
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker  SN
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison   SN
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding   JD
9. 1984, by George Orwell    JD**  SN
11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov   SN*
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck  SN
15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller   JD**
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley   JD** SN
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell   JD**
18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
23. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell   SN
27. Native Son, by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut    JD
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London 
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
38. All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
48. Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess  JD
50. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
53. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
55. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
57. Sophie's Choice, by William Styron
64. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
66. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
73. Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence
80. The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
84. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
88. An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser
97. Rabbit, Run, by John Updike

Books we have read are labeled:

  • SN for Shellie (10 read – 2 favorites)
  • JD for John (7 read – 4 favorites) 
  • Asterisks ** are for favorites!

Which of these classics have you read?  Which are your favorites?

Happy reading everyone – lets celebrate our freedom to choose.


Unknown said...

Thanks Anna -
I do get the site's updates in my mail box and thank you for the reminder. I am off to enter the giveaway now.

@parridhlantern said...

If my numeracy is fine, I've read about 25, from the post above.

Unknown said...

Gary -
Come back tomorrow after the whiskey wears off... *silly grin*

Wow 25 impressive.

I have a bunch of them on my list but I can only read so much when I am stressed... its been crazy!!!!

Now which are you uber-favoites?

@parridhlantern said...

despite one of the most despicable characters in the literary world, love lolita, enjoyed Haddon's book, Ulysses is fantastic & The Lord of the Flies - William Golding is a great book, 1984, George Orwell, I have a love/hate relationship that goes back to my school-days. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller, Brave New World,Aldous Huxley, Animal Farm, George Orwell. Will stop here because otherwise I'd just keep going, there's such a plethora of wonderful books here that some numbskull without an iota of functioning neurones deemed unsuitable & instead of placing them back on the shelf for another person decided to light bonfires and ruin it for all.

Unknown said...

Gary -
I do have to agree. You would think they could go out and help end world hunger, or volunteer at a woman's shelter or more instead of silly stuff like this.

I love loved Lolita - and I was so completely surprised how wonderful and accessible it was. Yes Humbert Humbert is despicable yet you almost like him which proves to the amazing writing skills of Nabokov.

Funny thing is some of these forced reads for school I can not remember... educators should know this by now. Kids should choose - I think - from a list.

Thanks for you input have a great weekend!

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