Banned Books Week: Wrapping up

Today is the last day of Banned Books Week 2011. If you are just tuning in, I invite you to check out my posts from this week highlighting a variety of challenged and banned books:

A Wrinkle in Time and The Outsiders

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See, In the Night Kitchen and Winnie the Pooh

1984 and Slaughterhouse-Five

The Witches and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Heather Has Two Mommies, Daddy’s Roommate and And Tango Makes Three

A Light in the Attic and It’s Perfectly Normal

Flowers for Algernon and Harry Potter

I want to thank everyone who has been reading and also those who have introduced me to the many books I have added to my reading list!

Funny enough, there’s a bit of a controversy over Banned Books Week – not because of the books themselves but because of those who say that there is no such thing as banned books in the US. I speak of a comment I received this week (the same one twice) and just from various reading I’ve done throughout the week.

There may not be mass book burnings and yes, although a book may be removed from one location that does not mean you cannot find the book elsewhere – the heart of it all is really about censorship, and what we will allow and what we will stand up for.

I, for one, do not believe in restricting knowledge.

Another commenter mentioned “Keeley Thomson – Demon Girl” by K.L. Byron to me earlier in the week. Apparently the book has only been released electronically so far and is already being challenged. I researched it a bit, but honestly, I just didn’t find enough information to feature the book (aside from comments on various blogs about why the book should be banned – though not much detail on what it’s about – it’s now on my list to read as soon as I find it). I did, however, stumble up this in my search.

Three years ago, a private school student received a list of over 100 books that her school banned – not just from their own library – kids were not allowed to bring the books to school. She decided to “test the waters” and brought “Catcher in the Rye” to school. She got in trouble, of course, but the cool part was that a friend saw the book and asked to borrow it. What grew from that was a 62 “illegal” library that she hosted out of an unused locker.

I don’t know if the story is true. I hope it is. I have so much respect for this faceless internet person.

The point is that we have the right to control what we read. We have the right to seek knowledge, no matter what anyone else thinks about it. Restricting access to books restricts access to knowledge, and that I will never agree with.

“All these people talk so eloquently about getting back to good old-fashioned values. Well, as an old poop I can remember back to when we had those old-fashioned values, and I say let’s get back to the good old-fashioned First Amendment of the good old-fashioned Constitution of the United States — and to hell with the censors! Give me knowledge or give me death!”

~Kurt Vonnegut

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3 responses to this post.

  1. I’m sad to see it’s over actually because I have enjoyed your posts so much this week! 😦
    Great quote by Vonnegut! 🙂

    There are sites that show you all the books that have ever been banned, here and in other places…although the last fully banned book was a long time ago here….I did discover about 2 weeks ago that there WAS a book banned in 2010 actually….

    The Book is called “Operation Dark Heart”, a memoir by Lt. Colonel Anthony Shaffer. He received approval for it by the U.S. Army in 2003 and 100 advance copies were distributed. After that, the D.I.A and N.S.A saw the copies insisted that things should be censored because of sensitive material. The first, uncensored printing of nearly 10,000 copies was bought AND destroyed by the Pentagon and a second, censored printing was released Sep. 2010. I checked this very book out at the library last week and though, I haven’t begun reading it yet, I did glance through it…and there are TONS of sections and words marked through…black lines covering what once was there. Whoever got those advance copies knows what was censored, though….

    I don’t know how to add links here but here’s more about the book on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7971693-operation-dark-heart

    Reply

  2. I really enjoyed writing these posts this week, but it was a lot of work! Each one took me at least 2 hours and some a bit longer. But I already have a plan set in motion for next year. I have a list of books to read (and I’m sure I’ll be adding to it) and I’m going to write little blurbs about them as I read them . . . so next year should be a breeze!

    The “Operation Dark Heart” thing is fascinating . . . I want to read it now! Let me know what you think of it!

    (I’m thinking of signing up for Goodread, by the way :D)

    Reply

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