"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Monday, September 20, 2010

Banned Book Challenge...Read a Banned Book Today!

Wordle: Banned Book Week
Banned Book Week is coming soon.  In honor of that event I am picking books which have been frequently banned or challenged as my reading selections this month.

Last year Ani Vrabel at Paste Magazine.com wrote an article called "10 Frequently-Challenged Books Everyone Should Read." The article highlights each selection and tells why the book is frequently-challenged and why it is worthwhile reading.  The ten books are listed below and please take a look at the article for all those details. After Vrabel's list I have added a few frequently-challenged books that I think everyone should read.  In the comment section, please add your suggestions of books you think everyone should read, too.

1. Catcher in the Rye by Holden Caufield
     I read this book a few years ago because it has been such a frequently-challenged book. I honestly think that attempts at banning books actually causes many people to read the books.
2.  Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
     Because it is an uncomfortable subject it should be banned?
3.  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
     I had a student tell me that he hated this book because it contains the N-word.  I asked him if his teacher did anything about the history of the time when it was written to help him understand the use of the word.  He said no.  Such a pity.
4.  The Giver by Lois Lowry    
5.  Lord of the Flies by William Golding    
6.  Native Son by Richard Wright
7.  Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
8.  Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
     Can you believe that I haven't read books 4-8?  Obviously they are all on my "list" now.
9.  Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
     I guess that parents are uncomfortable with death and learning disabilities, otherwise why would they want to ban this classic?
10. Any book by Judy Blume
      I'm a bit old to have benefited personally from Judy Blume, but my daughters read her books and felt they helped.

Books I would add to the list of frequently-challenged books everyone should read ...
A.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Why it is challenged: profanity and sexual content.
Why it is worthwhile: Alexie is Native American.  He writes about life on the reservation and what challenges alcoholism and poverty  pose for his people.  The book is funny, yet poignant.  It doesn't preach but you will understand much more about the culture and problems.  This book is thought to be semi-autobiographical.

B.  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Why it is challenged:  racial slurs; seemingly racism.
Why it is worthwhile: This is truly the great American novel.  It is so-o-o-o well written.  Twain is truly the best of the best.  Huckleberry Finn does seem to be racist at the beginning of the story but he figures out that his initial thoughts are wrong.  With a good teacher and class discussion, any racial issues can be assuaged.  (I think this book is the perfect book to listen to on audio-books since it is written in vernacular.  Loved it!)

What books would be put on this list?
For more ideas, here is a list of 25 frequently-banned books that everyone should be read.

Your turn......


  1. Harry Potter is on that list?!?! Why?
    The Giver is a great book. Lord of the Flies sounds interesting I might check it out.

  2. Oh, so many wonderful books to discuss here!! I think it's interesting that many of the books on list that are frequently banned are also frequently chosen as assignments for high school English classes - we read Of Mice and Men for instance.

    Yes, you must read #4 - 8 - they are all great! Flowers for Algernon is one of my all-time favorites. I read it twice when I was a teen and re-read it a few years ago - even knowing how it ends, it still affected me deeply and brought tears to my eyes - so well-written.

    I totally agree with you on True Diary of a Part-time Indian - excellent book and so enlightening!

    And I also agree about Huck Finn on audio - there are many good versions out, including some with a full cast - one of our family's favorites.


  3. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
    Black Boy by Richard Wright
    On the Road by Jack Kerouac
    Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


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