Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read

It's Banned Books Week here in the U.S. when we celebrate the freedom to read!

I'm preaching to the choir here when it comes to the topic of reading and books and their importance to not just literacy but also understanding. Books are many things, but at their core, they are ideas - ideas to ponder, to explore, and to inspire.

Last year, I posted the list from the ALA of the 100 most frequently challenged books from 2000-2009.

Here's a few more lists from the ALA. Check out the ALA site for more lists and info on Banned Books Week (which also has its own separate site).

The ones I've read have been bolded.
The ones I own are italicized.

Top 10 most frequently challenged books of 2010.

1. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
    • Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    • Reasons: offensive language, racism, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
3. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    • Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, and sexually explicit
4. Crank, by Ellen Hopkins
    • Reasons: drugs, offensive language, and sexually explicit
5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    • Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
6. Lush, by Natasha Friend
    • Reasons: drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
7. What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones
    • Reasons: sexism, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
8. Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich
    • Reasons: drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, and religious viewpoint
9. Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie
    • Reasons: homosexuality and sexually explicit
10. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer
    • Reasons: religious viewpoint and violence

Also, take a gander at banned and challenged classics.

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
Ulysses, by James Joyce
Beloved, by Toni Morrison
The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
1984, by George Orwell
Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Animal Farm, by George Orwell
The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
Native Son, by Richard Wright
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey
Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren
The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
Sophie's Choice, by William Styron
Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs
Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence
The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser
Rabbit, Run, by John Updike

This list of classics also includes the only book I have ever professed to hate: John Knowles' A Separate Peace. (Well, I might have to add Breaking Dawn to that very short list. I really...just...couldn't...)

But though I did not particularly enjoy A Separate Peace the first or second times I read it, I'm glad I had the choice to read it. And read it again - a third and fourth time (at which point, I think it started to grow on me and I've since promoted it to my "generally dislike" category).

So, support choice! Live dangerously. Read Banned Books! :)

How many of these books have you read? Any you loved? Any you hated?


Connie Keller said...

I know I read A Separate Peace in high school, but I have no memory of the story.

To Kill a Mockingbird and The Great Gatsby are among my favorite books.

Angela said...

Oh . . . pllleeeaze. Why do they always ban the best ones?

ali cross said...

I loved TRUE DIARY. I actually think it SHOULD be read--there are some real treasures in there.

Tere Kirkland said...

HATED A Separate Peace. Like Lord of the FLies only BORING!

I especially hate seeing homosexuality listed as a reason a book was banned. Just because a character identifies as homosexual, doesn't make a novel overtly sexual. But since so many people in the US consider it a sin, any mention of the word is a cause for major alarm.

"Oh noes, my poor gay son might read about someone he can identify with, someone to tell him his way of life isn't teh devil. BAN!! Now go out and knock up your prom date, junior. Atta boy."

Maybe we're preaching to the choir with these posts, but at least there IS a choir. ;)

Sophia Chang said...

Wow you've done well with the classics! You know me...part of that "brain devolved so it can't read adult books anymore..." thing

WritingNut said...

This makes me so sad!

Lydia Kang said...

You have to read the Sherman Alexie book. It's amazing!

Anonymous said...

These are some of my favorite books.

I have The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and look forward to reading it.

Golden Eagle said...

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a well-written book.

I recently read The Catcher In the Rye, though I can't really say that I liked it. The found the main character to be annoying most of the time.

I've never actually heard of A Separate Peace before. I'll probably end up reading it sometime, since it's considered a classic.

Anonymous said...

5 and 2 halves.

I really liked Catcher in the Rye partially I think because the main character was annoying most of the time. It felt kind of refreshing to read something a bit different.

The two halves were Twilight and Catch 22 neither of which I have ever felt compelled to finish.