Sunday, September 25, 2011

BW 39: Banned Book Week

Celebrate reading!

It is that time of year when we get to celebrate our freedom to read whatever we choose.
American Library Association:  "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."

The most frequently challenged books in 2010 were:

1) And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson;
3) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
4) Crank by Ellen Hopkins;
5) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins;
6) Lush by Natasha Friend;
8) Nickel and Dimed  by Barbara Ehrenreich;
9) Revolutionary Voices edited by Amy Sonnie;
10) Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

The most frequently challenged classics are listed below. See the reason why here.

  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. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker 
  5. Ulysses, by James Joyce 
  6. Beloved, by Toni Morrison 
  7. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding 
  8. 1984, by George Orwell 
  9. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov 
  10. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck 
  11. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller 
  12. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley 
  13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell 
  14. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway 
  15. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner 
  16. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway 
  17. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
  18. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
  19. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison 
  20. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell 
  21. Native Son, by Richard Wright 
  22. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey 
  23. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut 
  24. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway 
  25. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London 
  26. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin 
  27. All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren 
  28. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien 
  29. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclai
  30. Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence 
  31. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess 
  32. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin 
  33. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote 
  34. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie 
  35. Sophie's Choice, by William Styron 
  36. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
  37. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
  38. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles 
  39. Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs 
  40. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh 
  41. Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence 
  42. The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer 
  43. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
  44. An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser 
  45. Rabbit, Run, by John Updike 

What challenged book will you be reading this week?
Link to your most current read. Please link to your specific book review post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you have multiple reviews, then type in (multi) after your name and link to your general blog url.

If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section of this post.


  1. I'm pulling reviews of banned books out of my archives for this week. Plus a new review of Telling Lies on Thursday (tour, not banned, book)

  2. At Book Journey I have reviews and giveaways all week and one big giveaway that you get clues on each day. We are having a lot of fun with banned books.

  3. That is interesting. I was substitute teaching high school English last week and had lunch w/ the English teachers and one teacher was saying that she did not want to use The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian in her class because she was not comfortable w/ the content and she was going to try to use an alternative book.

  4. I just realized that I've spent so much time in the last week preparing for BBW that I have forgotten to think about actually reading one. (I'm a librarian at a CC and we are doing a big publicity thing, and I'm in charge of some of it.) Maybe The Red and the Black? I don't even know what that's about. I could read LOTR (burned in New Mexico for Satanism) or Anne of Green Gables (puts orphans in a bad light(!)) or Shel Silverstein (teaches kids not to do their chores) or the Bible!

  5. I pretty much read what I want whether it has been banned or not.


Thank you for your kind comments.