Friday, October 01, 2010

Friday Five (banned books edition--double list)

All week long I've been discussing challenged books and why we should celebrate the freedom to read, the freedom to think for ourselves, and the wisdom to allow others to do the same. I've discussed why I think it's important, what books have been challenged, and why they are challenged.

I thought I'd list some of my favorite challenged books and also explain a personal reason why I feel so strongly about this subject.

1. Stephen King-A lot of his books have been challenged. King is one of my favorite authors. I love his older works (Cujo, Firestarter, Night Shift, Different Seasons, etc) and some of his newer stuff. The Stand always makes my list of favorite books. King is a writer who made me want to write. He gave me hope that one day I could write my own stories.

And with Stephen King lies a personal reason why this matters so much to me. When I was a senior in high school, my high school library pulled Salem's Lot from the shelves. This was based on the complaint of ONE parent who felt it was inappropriate for their child to read. ONE parent. I had read this book and done a report on it for my Honors English class in 10th grade. Neither my mother or my teacher felt there was a problem with my reading it. Instead of simply telling their child to take it back, this parent felt it necessary to make sure no other child in my high school could check it out. I didn't understand it then. I still don't. I questioned it then, but the book was not reinstated because of one person's objections. I think that's a scary precedent.

2. Are You There God? It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume. Blume is another author who makes the challenged lists all the time. I remember reading this book and loving it. I'm actually reading it again right now because I'm wondering if my youngest would like to read it.

3. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. When people write their lists of favorite books, more often than not, this book is on it.

4. Harry Potter is a series that makes the list quite frequently. It's also the set of books that propelled a generation toward reading. My oldest is a Harry Potter fanatic and she's appalled that anyone would want to ban these books.

5. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Another book that often makes the lists of favorites. It's also been challenged. I loved reading about Scarlett.

6. The Color Purple by Alice Walker. This is a book I love and that I own. It's moved with me every time I move. It's also a book that's frequently cited.

7. Their eyes were watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. I read this in college. Thought it should be required reading.

8. Toni Morrison. Her books frequently make the lists from Beloved to The Bluest Eye. Her books aren't easy reads, they are thought provoking.

9. Summer of my German Soldier. This is a book I remember reading and rereading when I was a tween.

10. Olive's Ocean. This is a book that I read last year when Banned Books Week came around. It's a wonderful coming of age story.

May the muses have banned books


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