Banned Books Week 2011

26 Sep

Saturday marked the beginning of Banned Books Weeks, celebrating books banned or challenged. It still astounds me to learn about books being challenged on school reading lists and in libraries, but it happens with surprising frequency. Thankfully, books are rarely removed (or banned) any more, though in some places that’s not the case. Books are still taken from shelves, librarians are forced to get rid of books that contain “offensive” content. Though most of us are familiar with the challenges of classic literature, like Catcher in the Rye, new books are still challenged. Take a look at the list of the most frequently challenged books in 2010:

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
  3. Brave New World , by Aldous Huxley
  4. Crank, by Ellen Hopkins
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
  6. Lush, by Natasha Friend
  7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
  8. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich
  9. Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology, edited by Amy Sonnie
  10. Twilight , by Stephenie Meyer

And according to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, at least 46 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century have been the target of ban attempts. See the list of Banned Classics here.

You can participate this week in a variety of ways. Like Banned Books Week on Facebook, use the hashtag #bannedbooksweek on Twitter, follow on Flickr, and watch videos of people reading from their favorite banned book as part of the Virtual Read Out on YouTube. I’ll be posting my own video later this week.

So tell me, what are you reading this week?


7 Responses to “Banned Books Week 2011”

  1. Kerry September 26, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    I read Nickel and Dimed (hope you are liking it!) and I can’t remember for the life of me something that seems ban-able about it (not that I find any book ban-able, of course). Of all the books on your list, that one surprises me the most.

    • Rachel September 26, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

      I was curious about what was so objectionable about the book and a Google search revealed that it’s mostly banned because it “promotes socialist ideals,” “belittles Christianity,” and contains profanity. Curious and absurd.

    • Kirsten September 26, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

      Kerry, that’s on my “round two” list for this week; looking forward to it!

  2. Kirsten September 26, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    I started with Fahrenheit 451 and am working on Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry right now. Next up is One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. My goal each BBW is to read three from ALA’s top 100 until I’ve read all the ones that interest me; as long as they keep updating, I’ll always have plenty of fodder 🙂

    • Rachel September 26, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

      These are great goals! I read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry for a class in my children’s literature certificate program and I was blown away. Also, I’ve never read Fahrenheit 451 so I’d love to find out how you like it.


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