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Friday, October 2, 2009

Food for Thought: Banned Books Week

Hello there everyone!  Sorry for the lapse in posts, had a bit of a family emergency.  Parents were in a car accident Tuesday evening and was pretty much at the hospital til the next morning (i.e. no computer + no brain power = no post!).  THANKFULLY, everyone is okay for the most part.  The car, not such much (ended up on it's roof!)  Scary situation, but moving through and moving on.

Today's Food for Thought post (which was going to be yesterday's....darn my neediness to sleep, still trying to work on that...) is in celebration of Banned Books Week.  What's that you ask?  Why only another great reason to celebrate the fact that we can choose what we read even if the educational system or libraries try to "censor" those that raise a multitude of questions! (*~*happy dance*~*)  Haven't heard of this're not the only one!  Take a look at this "Understanding the Issue" segment from the Random House site:  
Talking about censorship and specific book challenges is important for adults and young readers alike, whether in a book group setting at a library or bookstore or in a classroom. When beginning any discussion on censorship issues, it is a good idea to be familiar with the terminology and issues:

What is censorship?
Censorship is the suppression of ideas and information that certain persons—individuals, groups or government officials—find objectionable or dangerous.

What is the difference between a Challenge and a Banning?
A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove materials from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.

What is Intellectual Freedom?
Intellectual Freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored.

Why are books challenged?
Books usually are challenged with the best intentions—to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information. Censorship can be subtle, almost imperceptible, as well as blatant and overt, but nonetheless, harmful.

—The American Library Association
Pretty extreme, huh?  In hearing about this celebration (yes, this was the first time I was exposed to this "official" event as well), I of course had to see what books were at the top of these lists.  It turns out yours truly is a bit of a rebel when it comes to my reading habits.  Out of the lists I've briefly scanned, I've read a fair amount of those either "challenged" or "banned".  (Yup, that's me...the reader without a cause....)  Some of those titles include:
  • Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
  • Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  • James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  • The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
  • Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • Cradle and All by James Patterson
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Leis Carroll
  • Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
I was amazed by some of the titles listed and the reasons given for their making the list.....I read most of these in grade school and I went to a private school!  (Let's just say they are fairly strict...)  Take a look at the list and see for yourself.  (Random House list, Public Library List)

In celebration of this amazing week, I pose this question to you.....of the title shown on the list, how many have you read?  Which one was your favorite and why?  (Leave your response in the comments to share!) For a bonus personal challenge, choose one to read over the weekend and show the world that little rebel in YOU!

Feel free to leave your comments and feedback!
Until next time....happy reading!


Pop Culture Nerd said...

I've read 6 of those titles (well, 12 since there are 7 books in the HP series) and think it's ridiculous they're on the list. My fave is definitely the Harry Potter books. I think J.K. Rowling deserves every single one of the gazillion dollars she's made because she's brilliant. Can't wait to read her next book.

Have you ever read Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451? It's a story about the burning of books. Every time I hear about Banned Books Week, it makes me think of that book.

Pop Culture Nerd said...

Oh, I forgot to say I'm glad to hear your parents weren't seriously hurt. That IS scary. Hope you catch up on your sleep this weekend!

GMR said...

Pop Culture Nerd: I totally agree with you on the Harry Potter series. LOVE those books. I actually picked the first one up after hearing so much about them (this was when book 3 was already out), devoured the available titles and stood in a midnight release line for the 4th. I was hooked! I have heard of Fahrenheit 451 but have never had the opportunity to read it. Sounds appropriate for this weeks celebration though! (**writes on seek-out list**) Thank you for the kind words (regarding parents)....I really appreciate it. Sleep may or may not be in the forecast...but we shall see.

Petty Witter said...

Sorry to hear about your parents accident, I'm glad no-one was too badly hurt.

Grief I'm such a rebel though I didn't know it until just now. I've read a whopping 24 of the books on the list, 7 of those were Harry Potter though.

I've been saying I'll read The Golden Compass series for a while, perhaps now is the time to do it.

GMR said...

Petty Witter: Thank you! They are troopers, what can I say. So you do have a rebel reading streak in you...who'd have thought? The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials Triology) was fairly good, albiet different from the movie of course. Sounds like you have added this to your weekend plans...happy reading!

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