Today begins the 27th annual Banned Books Week celebration which is jointly sponsored by the the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, National Association of College Stores, and is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Whew - what a mouthful!
This event's purpose is to celebrate the freedom to read and is observed during the last week of September each year. ALA compiles a list of books which were challenged, but not necessarily banned, in libraries.
Why not call it "Challenged Book Week?" I'll quote ALA here:
Each year, the American Library Association (ALA) is asked why the week is called “Banned Books Week” instead of “Challenged Books Week,” since the majority of the books featured during the week are not banned, but “merely” challenged. There are two reasons. One, ALA does not “own” the name Banned Books Week, but is just one of several cosponsors of BBW; therefore, ALA cannot change the name without all the cosponsors agreeing to a change. Two, none want to do so, primarily because a challenge is an attempt to ban or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A successful challenge would result in materials being banned or restricted.
This is why booksellers, libraries and publishers, and yes, writers, make such a BIG deal about this week every year. We want to make sure books are available for each individual to read and review for themselves. Some books which I find to be pure crap others find to be pearls of wisdom, etc.
If you want more information about what books have been the most challenged in the past year and in the last hundred years, visit this ALA Web Page and research for yourself.
I've included covers with this post from some of the challenged books I've read which have made a lasting impression on me. These are by no means the only books which I've read or which left an impression, but I wanted to share them with you all. Which books left an impression on you? Which books were you surprised to see included?
Happy Banned Books Week! Go out and read a challenged book this week. You'll be glad you did!