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Happy Banned book week.

Every year the American Library Association records hundreds of attempts by groups and individuals to remove books from schools and libraries. Groups try to ban books–get them off the shelves so they can’t be read–for a variety of reasons, some of the most popular reasons being “sexually explicit,” “offensive language,” and “unsuited to age group.”

Both new books and classics are challenged each year. Both “Catcher and the Rye” and “To Kill a Mockingbird,” English class staples, made the 2009 most frequently challenged book list alongside the Twilight series, The TTYL series, and many others. Most of the books are kidlit/YA lit or books teens read in school.

The list of frequently challenged classics is always my favorite list to peruse.

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses by James Joyce
7. Beloved by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
9. 1984 by George Orwell
10. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
11. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
13. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
14. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
15. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
21. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
22. Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
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
27. Native Son by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
31. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
32. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
34. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
35. Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
37. The World According to Garp by John Irving
38. All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
39. A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
40. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
41. Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally
42. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
43. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
44. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
45. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
46. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
47. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
48. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
51. My Antonia by Willa Cather
52. Howards End by E. M. Forster
53. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
54. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
55. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
56. Jazz by Toni Morrison
57. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
58. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
59. A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
60. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
61. A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
62. Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
63. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
64. Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence
65. Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
66. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
68. Light in August by William Faulkner
69. The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
70. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
71. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
72. A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
73. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence
76. Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe
77. In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway
78. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein
79. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
80. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
81. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
82. White Noise by Don DeLillo
83. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
84. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
85. The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
86. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
87. The Bostonians by Henry James
88. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
89. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
90. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
91. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
92. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
93. The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles
94. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
95. Kim by Rudyard Kipling
96. The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
97. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
98. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster
99. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
100. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

How many of them have you read? I’ve read 31, most as school assignments. Even H.G. Wells is on the list. I think it’s ironic that “1984” is on the list–someone tried to censor a book about book censorship.

The purpose of banned book week is to let people know that even in this day and age, censorship still exists in America. The first amendment is still questioned. During this week we try to get the word out that banning books is censorship, pure and simple, and it’s wrong.

So what will you do to celebrate banned book week?

I think I’m going to read some H.G. Wells.

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Happy banned book week!

Did you know that every year books are banned from schools and libraries?  Banned Book week celebrates intellectual freedom and the right we have to have access to all books–including ones that might be “objectionable” for whatever reason.  It also draws attention to the fact that even in this day and age books are banned and censored in communities across the United States.   Censorship is harmful and we have the right to access all opinions and ideas, not just the popular ones.

Fortunately, most challenged books are not banned thanks to the hard work of librarians, booksellers, teachers, and community members who work to make sure that everyone can read what they wish.

According to the American Library Association the top ten most challenged books for 2008 (out of 513) are:

1.  And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
      Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
2. His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman
      Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence
3.  TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R(series), by Lauren Myracle
      Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
4.  Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
      Reasons:occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence
5.  Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
      Reasons:occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, and violence
6.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
      Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group
7.  Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
      Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
8.  Uncle Bobby’s Wedding,by Sarah S. Brannen
      Reasons: homosexuality and unsuited to age group
9.  The Kite Runner,by Khaled Hosseini
      Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
10. Flashcards of My Life, by Charise Mericle Harper
       Reasons: sexually explicit and unsuited to age group

Here’s also a list of challenged and banned classics. How many of these have you read? How many of these do you own?

There are many ways to celebrate banned book week — go buy a banned book or three or check them out of the library, read them allowed to your family, co-workers, or whoever will listed, attend an event or reading (or plan one for next year), help your library make a display of challenged books, teachers can talk about censorship and have their students draw a picture of what book they would save if all the books were being burned and they could only save one (and why). There are many more ideas here from the good people over at Banned Books Week

Did you know The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells has been banned and challenged? What about Winnie-the-Poohby A. A. Milne?

What are your favorite banned books?

Exercise Your First Amendment Rights – Read a Banned Book!

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