Celebrate Reading for Banned Books Week

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Every year, during the last week of September, the American Library Association celebrates Banned Book Week.

Why?

Because books should be read, not banned.

To celebrate reading & the importance of the First Amendment.

And because everyone should have access to intellectual material, even if it’s considered “controversial.”

This is a subject I take very personally — having enjoyed a life-long love of reading, that continues to this day. What gives any one person the right to ban a book? To keep me from reading something? Just because you don’t like it, doesn’t give you the right to hide it away from the world. I’ll try to keep my opinion to a minimum here (though I sounded off on theĀ  Portland Books Examiner page here).

It’s an important issue for us here at Novel Novice Twilight, too, since we’re an education-based site and we feel strongly in the power & importance of reading. What would you do if Twilight were banned? Or any of your other favorite books?

Every year, individuals or groups contest books they deem controversial for various reasons. In the past, these books have included classics like J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Even J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series has made the top ten list in the past.

These are the top 10 most contested books of 2008 (and why):

1. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group

2. His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman
Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence

3. TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

4. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
Reasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence

5. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
Reasons: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, and violence

6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group

7. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

8. Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, by Sarah S. Brannen
Reasons: homosexuality and unsuited to age group

9. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

10. Flashcards of My Life, by Charise Mericle Harper
Reasons: sexually explicit and unsuited to age group

This week, groups across the country are celebrating reading for Banned Books Week. The ALA has even released some fantastic posters to support the cause. Check them out below, then tell us in the comments your thoughts on the subject — and how you plan to celebrate Banned Books Week.

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