Sunday, September 9, 2012

Banned Books Week 2012

September 30 - October 6, 2012 is Banned Books Week - and as an English major and lover of literature, this is a week-long holiday!

My parents have absolutely no idea what it is--why, where, when, and what books have been banned are all unknown to them. Although I could ramble off a list of banned books when they asked me, and talk a little about who challenges books, I'm still no scholar. I'm hoping that my knowledge of the subject will grow (as I hope awareness of the cause will grow, too).

A number of books we consider classics have been banned from, or challenged by, libraries and schools. This list below includes banned books that are currently ranked in the "Best 100" and "Rival 100" novels lists. They're many books that you read in high school and college. Books that you've always said you should read, but maybe haven't. Maybe knowing they have a sordid past will spice them up and peak your interest again. Perhaps enough to read one in support of Banned Books Week.

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 

The books in green are ones that I've read. The highlighted Vonnegut novel is the one I've selected to read this year for Banned Books Week, thanks to Out of Print's book club. 

You can find Banned Books Week on the web via Facebook and at their official site. Visiting will take you to the American Library Association's website with even more links and information regarding the history of Banned Books Week, and the banning of challenging of books in the United States. 

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