Sunday, October 02, 2011

In Honor of Banned Books Week

The contraband

Did you know that this past week was Banned Books Week?  I didn't realize myself until I came across a great post on the subject from one of my favorite blogs.  After doing a bit of e-search (get it?!) I discovered that as recently as 2001 there were burnings of Tolkien's beloved The Lord of the Rings series.  Uh...really?  In fact, classics, epic in number, continue to be challenged.  And while I believe each individual has the right to refrain from any material she might find offensive, I also strongly believe that each individual has the right to choose for herself what she reads.  Boo to censorship!

After looking through a couple of banned-book lists, I took just a few minutes to gather some of the censored publications that sit around, and are occasionally read, in my household.  It didn't take long to accrue a hefty pile.

All of these were/could be missing from libraries

As far as I am aware, the last banned book I read was Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure.  It has the distinction of being the last book to be banned in Britain.  


As you can see, I own the unexpurgated edition.  Not a word has been censored.  This week has reminded me that unabridgement is a blessing (though there are times when lengthiness and redundancy don't make it feel like a privilege).

So, in honor of this auspicious occasion I am resolved to immerse myself in a banned book that I haven't read before.  Since I own this beautiful edition of Lady Chatterley's Lover...


...I have settled on D.H. Lawrence's infamous novel.  Isn't it gorgeous?

So excited to see what's inside

I am grateful to live in a place where I have so many reading options open to me.  I am also grateful that Banned Books Week has inspired me to read some D.H. Lawrence, because I have spent several years and a whole lotta money to become educated in British literature...yet I have never read a word from this quintessential author.  Oh, the shame!  Have you been reading any banned books lately?  Do any of your favorites show up on these lists?

12 comments:

ragini mohite said...

banned where would be my question. because i thoroughly enjoyed satanic verses when i was in leeds. but its banned in india so i dont own a copy yet. will change that soon though.

John McLendon said...

I can't think of any banned books that are favourites. Catcher in the Rye, 1984, AND Brave New World continue to be challenged. Wasn't Catch 22 challenged also? This is all in the USA.

Brooke said...

My favorite is 1984. It's a great example of why books shouldn't be banned! And To Kill A Mockingbird will always have a special place in my heart. I still remember when libraries and schools (mostly along the bible belt) that were banning Harry Potter!

Diana said...

Harry Potter and LOTR are favourites of mine on these lists. Since these are American statistics, many of my beloved British classics seem to have escaped widespread censure over here. Or perhaps they just aren't well known enough to get people riled up? Btw Ragini, I can always send you any unavailable titles from the US -- and I'd be happy to do so. :)

The Moody's said...

I have to agree with Brooke about To Kill a Mockingbird. That and Huck Finn will go down as my two favorite banned books of all time.

Maggie said...

The most ridiculous banned book that I've heard of is "The Diary of Anne Frank". While there may be some things in it not appropriate for all young eyes, the actually reason for the ban was because it was "too sad". Seriously. And people think our children aren't coddled.

Diana said...

Andrea: so, you've rejected Atticus Finch, Boo Radley and Jem as names for your baby. What about Mockingbird? I think it has a nice ring... ;)

Diana said...

Maggie: I can't believe The Diary of Anne Frank was banned because it was sad. Uh...nearly speechless. But I will say this: I think children can handle much more than we often we often give them credit for.

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