Hot Damn, It’s Banned Books Week!

Oh snap, son! It’s basically Banned Books Week! For those of you who haven’t been hopping on board this event since elementary school (yeah, that’s right, I was a rebel reader from my youngest days. Me and The Giver? We were tight. And as soon as I heard it was a ‘challenged’ book…oh, the gloves were off), here’s what the ALA has to say:

Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.  Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week.  BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings.  Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections.  Imagine how many more books might be challenged—and possibly banned or restricted—if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.

I mean, come on! I believe it should be every book bloggers first duty to love and celebrate Banned Books Week because, as the blurb said, it’s all about fighting the censorship of ideas and attempts to stop a ready flow of information between people. As a person who grew up too-close-for-comfort to schools that actually banned books, it hits even closer to home that these books need to be celebrated for what they are: necessary views from those in society who aren’t always given a fair and honest chance to speak.

Okay, so I know that now you’re all like “wait, what, what is all this nonsense you keep going on and on about, yay for banned books, but so?” Oh, don’t you fret my dear reader. I do have a point beyond just yelling “BANNED BOOKS WEEK IS AWESOME” at the top of my lungs. I’m doing my own celebration, of sorts. A week of reviews dedicated entirely to banned books. Oh yes, it will be done. I’m still not sure if this means multiple posts a day (as I keep up with the other things I’m reading) or if all that other wonderful stuff is just going to have to wait until BBW is over. I’ll probably be the latter. In  addition, I do want to disclaim that I’m not ACTIVELY reading any of these books right now. But, there are limits. These are all books I’ve read during the last year, and thus remember rather freshly, and/or I have notes on them in my Moleskin. Regardless, these are at least somewhat informed reviews, so don’t fret! Ready for the line-up?

Saturday: The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer (ohmygoodness, really? This will be fun to talk about!)
The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Tuesday: The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
Animal Farm, by George Orwell

Needless to say, I’m really, really excited that this is happening, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on some of your favorite banned books – do you have any favorites? Have you read any, and if so, did you make it a point to do so due to their banned status? Any fond memories of this week left over from your younger days? I’d love to hear from you, and happy reading!


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