I take for granted my right to read, watch, or listen to whatever I want.
But every now and then something happens to give me a wake-up call.
I was on a plane to China once when the flight attendant confiscated my newspaper, which was an English daily printed in Hong Kong. I attended a summer camp once where they confiscated all reading materials, except the Bible. This included the Stephen King novel I had packed in my trunk and the Sunday comics I’d been reading on the bus ride.
More recently, I was shocked to see people all over the world responding with violence to snippets of a film created by some guy in California nobody ever heard of.
All the news coverage of this event prompted a dinner table conversation about censorship, which is sort of tough to explain to kids who have grown up in a free society. We gave it a shot, though, because I really want my children to appreciate their rights. I don’t want to shield them from everything that might be “objectionable,” but instead teach them how to be critical thinkers.
This week marks the thirtieth anniversary of Banned Books Week, which draws attention to the problem of censorship by highlighting the long list of books that have been banned in schools and libraries over the years.
Do you have a “keeper shelf” of favorite books? I do. And I was startled to realize that the vast majority of books on that shelf would probably be banned in many countries for containing objectionable material. I am happy to say that 21 of the American Library Association’s list of Top Banned and Challenged Classics have a safe and happy home on a book shelf in my house.
What is your favorite banned book?
Leave a comment and be eligible to win my latest book TWISTED (which would surely be banned in many places because of language, violence, and *gasp* nudity!) Have a great weekend!
Banned and Challenged Classics
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Ulysses by James Joyce
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
1984 by George Orwell
Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Their Eyes are Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Native Son by Richard Wright
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence
Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence
The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
Rabbit, Run by John Updike