Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Belated National Banned Books Week

As you might have heard (and I'm sure you most certainly did), this past week was National Banned Books Week. It's a time when book lovers rejoice - and opponents of creative expression sit in the corner and sulk like an overly emotional child. So in honor of last week's celebration (yup, I'm late to the party, but at least I made it), here are some of the most popular books that you may have never thought would be in danger of being banned. 

The Hunger Games
Place of Proposed Banishment: United States (Seriously)

What? You thought that the pure message of fighting against a tyrannical regime and igniting a spark of hope throughout a desolate world was reason for libraries to consider banning it from their shelves? Oh. You didn't. Well, apparently somebody did. A couple years ago they tried to ban The Hunger Games from libraries because somebody said it was "too violent." 
Like a history book about World War II isn't violent, too? 
Give me a break. 

Huckleberry Finn 
Place of Proposed Banishment: United States 

Who doesn't love the genius of Mark Twain? Between his brilliant wit and his awesome way of stating the obvious to the oblivious, it's hard to believe that they have tried to both ban or change the original text of this classic. It's outrageous, really. 

To Kill a Mockingbird 
Place of Propose Banishment:  United States

This is one of my all-time favorite books. When I read it in High School, I was glued to my chair (which, I realize, is an awkward way to be glued down, but you get the idea...). Libraries, schools - they've tried to get rid of this book for reasons unknown to me. I don't know how you could. It's an epic tale of loyalty, friendship, morality and the faultiness of human nature. 

The Complete Fairytales of The Brothers Grimm 
Place of Proposed Banishment: United States (Are you starting to see a pattern here?) 

I know many of you may find this strange, but when I was little, I was fascinated with Grimm's Fairytales. This is funny, because Grimm's fairytales were stories originally penned to entertain adults - and they could be scary. It was Walt Disney who turned them into age-appropriate happily-ever-afters. 
Regardless, they are still great stories. GREAT! Why ban ancient literature? Don't people like fairytales? 
Apparently they're too busy living their own version of one. 

The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe 
Place of Proposed Banishment: You guessed it. USA. 

This is my personal favorite selection of children's literature. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, Aslan the Lion. He's just so awesome. (and you know how I feel about members of the cat family) Of course, this story is also an allegory that portrays the everything from the Creation to Jesus's death on the cross to the Second Coming. Really very interesting how CS Lewis managed to pull that off. 

I could go on all day about books that are always in danger of being pulled off our shelves. James & The Giant Peach, The Grapes of Wrath, Harry Potter, Little Red Riding Hood, Call of the Wild, Gone with the Wind, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, 1984, The Diary of Anne Frank (this particular book is frequently under attack), and so many more. 

Look. Books are powerful. They say that the pen is mightier than the sword? It is. Because words convey ideas, and ideas give way to feelings, and feelings can lead to movements or cultural changes. Book banning (and their subsequent burnings) didn't work out well in Nazi Germany, and it sure won't work out well here. Writing and reading is a form of Freedom of Speech.
Stand up for our rights and keep reading! :)

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