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Monday, October 1, 2012

Read a banned book week Sept 30th-Oct 6

       Recently we have seen how a controversial movie provoked many in the Middle East to violence and we wonder how a movie could have that effect.   Salmon Rushdie was driven into hiding for 10 years for writing a book that some felt justified to put out fatwa to have him killed.   While not on the same level, we have seen books banned or burned in protest by our own countrymen as being blasphemous against their beliefs.  In this light I want to mention that this week the American Library Association is sponsoring a "Read a Banned Book Week".  As the ALA explained:

" Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular."

     Some of the books that have been targeted for bans are surprising.  Here is a partial list:
1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
8. 1984, by George Orwell
9. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
10. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

For a complete list click here.  Even popular children's books have been offensive enough to be banned by some.  Here is that list.  Most of these books were banned in a different time.  We have moved to a "more tolerant, accepting place", haven't we?  When I here politicians talking about "taking back our Country" I wonder if it means going back to that less tolerant place where gays were in the closet and African Americans and women knew their place. And controversial books were banned and burned.



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