Thursday, September 8, 2011

Read a banned book!

Banned Books Week is an event that occurs annually during the last week of September (September 24-October 1). To help mark this celebration of our freedom to read whatever we like, the Reader's Advisory Team has set up special displays at both the Centerville and Woodbourne libraries to showcase books that have been challenged and/or banned at one time or another through the years. You may be familiar with many of the titles. Running with Scissors, by Augusten Burroughs, was challenged just last year at four different U. S. high schools and banned altogether at another due to "extremely inappropriate content for a high school media center collection."  Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper was removed from classrooms in Clawson, Michigan due to it being deemed "too racy for middle school students." Perhaps one of the most famous banned books is the Bible. During the sixteenth century, the Catholic Church, threatened by the Protestant revolt sweeping through Europe, violently suppressed various Protestant versions of the Bible. (William Tyndale, author of the Tyndale translation of the Bible, was burned at the stake for his trouble.) Not long ago I wrote a post about Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, a book that has frequently been challenged due to passages that focus on Anne's "growing sexual awareness" and her "discussion of sexual matters." There are many titles on the banned and challenged books list; trust me, that list goes on and on, from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird to Stephen King's Cujo. But the beauty of the society in which we live is that we can read these and others without fear of punishment or death. Come November, you'll be exercising your right to vote (hopefully). But right now, exercise your right to read.

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