Saturday, 6 October 2012

Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is a yearly event, where the worldwide book community group together to raise awareness about the censorship of books through celebrating the freedom to read and everyone's right to have access to information. This year, it is has been taking place from September 30th, to October 6th, which is today. So I thought, hey, better late than never to write a post, right?

Now on, I managed to find a list of the top 100 most banned or challenged books from 2000 to 2009. Here's the top ten:

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

Now I'm looking at the list, and I can understand that a few of the novels are quite controversial - for example, Of Mice and Men, the His Dark Materials series, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Controversial? Yes. Worthy of banning? No. I also found it pretty hilarious to see that the top banned books  were the Harry Potter series. I can literally think of nothing provoking about it, aside from the fact that Voldemort kills a few people? He's a bad guy, it's his job description. I suppose there is also all that 'witchcraft', but I'm thinking it's unlikely that's an issue. I'm pretty sure it hasn't been the 16th century for quite a while.

Banned Books Week celebrates the fact that we all have the right to the freedom to read whatever we want. By communities and governments challenging these books, they are basically trying to take away the freedom to express ourselves. These books were written to evoke these emotions within us, and I guess it frustrates me quite a bit that some of society just doesn't seem to understand that concept. It's the 21st century, right? Aren't we supposed to be modern and past all that prejudice nonsense? I suppose not. However, it's a work in progress; I guess we've just got to be patient.

So I hope you all have had fun this week, whether that be reading up on the top ten banned books of last year, or going to a participating book store near you and viewing the displays. And if you've only just found out about it - well, go on to and read up on some interesting facts. I love any book-related celebration, but this has got to be one of my favourites. It's just a subject that is often overlooked, and I really think it's nice to celebrate our freedom.

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