Tag Archives: BannedBooksWeek

Banned Books Week

Sunday marks the beginning of the 30th Banned Books Week.  One of my favorite journalists, Bill Moyers and his wife Judith Davidson Moyers have been named honorary co-chairs for this event, which runs from September 30th to October 6th.  There is a great post from Steven Isenberg, the executive director if the PEN American Center here.

I am constantly amazed at the number and scope of the books that are challenged or banned across the world, for any number of reasons.  The above link has many lists and Melissa at The Feminist Texican has a list of books currently banned by the Tucson, Arizona school system.

Looking at the top 100 books banned in the first decade of the 21st century I couldn’t help but notice Number One on that list.  I will be rereading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone over the next few days.  Don’t you think that goes nicely with R.I.P.VII?

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A Banned Book – Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Perigee Books, New York, 2006

I own this one.

For Banned Books Week I decided to read a young adult classic that has been repeatedly challenged and banned in the US and Canada.  I am also including this one in my books for the R.I.P. VI challenge.

This novel was required reading for me in high school.  I read it again in college and, after several decades, have chosen to read it one more time.

This story of a group of boys who survive a plane crash on a small island is probably familiar to many people.  It is, on the surface, a tale of adventure.   On their own, with no adults, the boys can do what they want.  At first there is a sense of order and camaraderie as  Ralph, and his friend Piggy attempt to organize the group.  The boys gather food, plan to build shelters and organize the keeping of a signal fire.  Soon another boy, Jack, gathers a group and takes off to hunt the wild pigs that roam the island.  Jack wants to lead,  invites dissension and eventually something like war.  A tale of adventure turns to a story of horror and madness.

According to Golding,  Lord of The Flies is not simply an adventure story.  When asked he stated, “The theme is an attempt to trace the defect of society back to the defects of human nature.  The moral is that society must depend on the ethical nature of the individual and not on any political system however apparently logical or respectable.”*

I found it to be a narrative on personality, the place of individuals in human society and on group mind, mob mentality.  Of course these are children, would adults behave the same way?

Lord of the Flies wonderfully written, filled with beautiful evocative scenes and nightmarish horror. I read it deeper this time.  It is one of those “required” reading books that I found best read as an adult.

The first rhythm that they became used to was the slow swing from dawn to dusk.  They accepted the pleasures of the morning, the bright sun, the whelming sea and the sweet air, as a time when play was good and life so full that hope was not necessary and therefore forgotten.  Toward noon, as the floods of light fell more nearly to the perpendicular, the stark colors of the morning were smoothed to pearl and opalescence; and the heat – as though the impending sun’s height gave it momentum – became a blow that they ducked, running to the shade and lying there, prehaps even sleeping.  From page 58.

Toward midnight the rain ceased and the clouds drifted away, so that the sky was scattered once more with the incredible lamps of stars. Then the breeze died too and there was no noise save the drip and trickle of water that ran out of clefts and spilled down, leaf by leaf, to the brown earth of the island.  The air was cool, moist and still.  The beast lay huddled on the pale beach, and the stains spread, inch by inch.  From page 153.

*This quote is from Notes on Lord of the Flies by E.L. Epstein from my copy of the book.

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Banned Book Week – Sept 24 to Oct 1, 2011

Banned Book Week is coming.  For lists of banned books and special events including  the Virtual Read-Out visit ALA  or the Banned Books Week website.  I am going to try to read  a couple of frequently banned books for R.I.P. VI.   Does Lord of the Flies count as dark fantasy?

What will you read?

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Sunday Salon – Banned Books Week

bbw_read

We  interrupt this Sunday Salon for a special announcement.  This week those of us living in the United States are celebrating the freedom to read.  Have you read Fahrenheit 451 or The Book Thief?  Pay close attention.  Book burning could happen anywhere.

Banned Books Week

September 26-October 3, 2009

If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. Were an opinion a personal possession of no value except to the owner; if to be obstructed in the enjoyment of it were simply a private injury, it would make some difference whether the injury was inflicted only on a few persons or on many. But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.

— On Liberty, John Stuart Mill

Banned Books Week is a national celebration in support of the freedon to read and of First Amendment protection.  It was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, libraries and bookstores.  Since than over one thousand books have been banned and challenged.  These instances of censorship have taken place in every state and in hundreds of communities across the U.S.

People challenge books for all kinds of reasons but most are trying to protect children from language they consider inappropriate or from sexually explicit material.  Other challengers are protesting offensive portrayals of religious or ethnic groups.  Recently many protests have centered around positive depictions of homosexuality.

The following pie chart of reasons for challenges is from the American Library Association web site.

Grounds for Challenge

If you would like to take part in Banned Books Week there are many ways to do so.  Organize reading at your local library, school or bookstore, spread the word through your blog, read or re-read a banned book and encourage your friends to read banned books!  The ALA has lots of great ideas here.

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