A hat tip to Cassandra_M at Delaware Liberal. I had almost forgotten that this week is Banned Books Week. From the ALA's (American Library Association) web site..
"Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. This year, 2008, marks BBW's 27th anniversary (September 27 through October 4). "My love of reading and books stems from my parents, folks who hardly completed high school in India. But they knew that education and knowledge would be of help to a better life. So they encouraged me to read. We were not well off so there were hardly any books at home, but during the summer vacations our school would lend us books from it's library to read for the summer. In addition my parents also let me borrow books from a local circulating library. None of this was great shakes as literature, but it was enough to trigger my imagination of worlds and places beyond my immediate environs.
And there a love of reading was born. Time does not permit me to read as much, but I still manage.
Oh and I read the newspaper everyday since I can remember going back to my childhood and I continue to do so. That is fucking more than what that empty suit Sarah Palin can say!
Oh and did you know she asked the library how she could go about banning books while she was mayor of Wasilla? link
Back to books..
Here is a list from the ALA of the top most challenged books from 2000 - 2005.
I think this piece by Carolyn Kellogg at the L.A. Times book blog says it well.
This weekend, L.A. Times books editor David L. Ulin urged us to think about Banned Books Week as more than just a celebration of challenged books that we like. "What happens when our ideals require us to defend a piece of writing that is reprehensible, that stands against everything we stand for?" he asks, continuing:
It's easy to condemn those who would remove "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" from a library, but what about "The Turner Diaries" or "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion"? Or for that matter, "Tintin in the Congo," which Little, Brown dropped from its "Tintin" reissue series last fall after controversy arose about the book's racist overtones?
These are not just academic questions; they are the heart of the matter, regardless of where you stand on the ideological divide. How do we defend one book without defending all? Such a notion can't help but make us uneasy, but then, that's one of the most essential things books can do.
If you've made your peace with defending dangerous or even heinous speech, and if you were dubbed "a brave champion of liberty" after acing the Guardian's quiz, another front remains. For the second year in a row, the American Library Assn. is celebrating Banned Books Week in Second Life — the freedom to read needs defending, it seems, in our virtual worlds too.