Thursday, September 29, 2016

Bookish Discussions: Banned Books


I think it's time for another bookish discussion!  If you haven't heard, the bookish community has been celebrating Banned Books Week which, this year, runs from September 25th to October 1st.

Now, what is banned books week, you ask?  Well, it's a week spent celebrating those books that are restricted for whatever reasons in schools, etc.  It could be for unapproved sexual content, differing political ideas, or topics that are deemed 'inappropriate' for societal consumption.  In the interest of free speech, we celebrate banned books week to recognize the existence of these topics and to find other books with different opinions than our own to read and expand our horizons.

I did a little research and there are so many books that have been challenged that I wasn't aware of and was a little confused by.  For example, Paper Towns by John Green was on the ALA's (American Library Association) list of Challenged YA Books.


Now, this made no sense to me.  Paper Towns doesn't have drugs or alcohol or anything of the sort in it.  It's about a kid who goes to find his love interest after she disappears and 'runs away' from her family.  Perhaps that's why it's been challenged in schools: for showcasing a child running away and being totally nonchalant about 'abandoning' her family.  To have a book be banned from a school because of that, however, seems ridiculous.  Others, I could understand.  Like 1984 by George Orwell.




This book contains content that questions the validity of the government, sexual topics that may not be accepted everywhere, and ideas about mind control.  While I don't approve of it being banned, I can understand it.

I went through the list on the ALA's website for Challenged YA Books and I found that I had read 22 out of their well over 100 listed titles.  I definitely have some reading to do!  These are the books I've read so far from that list:


If you'd like to see the whole list, click HERE.

The next question is, why would you go out of your way to read banned books?  My answer?  They've obviously been banned for a reason, right?  So what don't certain people who banned them want you to know?  Diversifying your experiences is always good and helps you build a more complex and realistic view of the world and of the minds of humanity in general.  Someone in the world wrote that book so they must have imagined it happening (or it did happen) somehow which makes it something you should be aware of as a member of the human race and a resident of planet Earth.

Have you been reading any books for banned books week?  Have you read many banned books?

4 comments:

  1. Every time I read the list of banned books I'm always shocked at what books people think should be banned.

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    1. That's what I was thinking! I'd never read the list before and I was surprised by what books were on it!

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  2. I don't think any book should be banned ever. I don't even think Mein Kampf should be banned, even though I don't agree with Hitler's political agenda. My whole thing about banned books is that what one person deems inappropriate for themselves or their children doesn't extend to every other human being. We all get to make the choice of what we will read/won't read or have our children read/not read. Out of the list you posted, I've read:

    The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
    Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
    The Hunger Games trilogy - Suzanne Collins
    The Fault in Our Stars - John Green
    To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
    Twilight series - Stephanie Meyer
    Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell
    Unwind - Neal Shusterman

    I've also read the following from the whole list:

    Anderson, Laurie Halse. Speak
    Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451
    Frank, Anne. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
    Greene, Bette. Summer of My German Solidier
    Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye

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    Replies
    1. I agree with you! That's the whole freedom of speech thing.

      I've been wanting to read Speak, Fahrenheit 451, The Catcher in the Rye, and Anne Frank! Hopefully I'll get to them soon!

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