The focus of Banned Books Week is to encourage readers to get in touch with their inner rebel and read a previously-banned or challenged book. The message is that reading is tied to freedom of speech and that no book should be banned. If you don't want to read smut, then don't read smut. If you don't agree with a book's premise, then don't read it. No one has the right to tell someone else they can't read a book because he or she doesn't like it.
A typical way a book is banned is when parents feel children are being exposed to damaging material. Parents want to protect their families from ideas and concepts that children are too young to emotionally handle. Hysterics can ensue about a book that is inappropriate for children and, too often, the book is banned, not only in a school, but in an entire library system, or even a city.
In my opinion, the rational response is for children to require permission from their parents to read the controversial book. That, at least, allows people to exercise discretion and decide for themselves if they or their child should read the book. Choice is always the better way.
"Having the freedom to read and the freedom to choose is
one of the best gifts my parents ever gave me." ~Judy Bloom
Another way a book us banned is through a legal suit because the book teaches how to kill or harm innocent people. Hit Man by Rex Feral is one example. The book teaches all the tricks of a professional assassin, in detail. This book was banned by it's own publisher as a result of a lawsuit when a triple homicide was blamed on the book's instructions.
Hit Man is now available on Kindle for 2.99. No more outrage, I guess.
The United States government does not ban books. Books are banned through local systems such a schools, libraries, organizations, and, as in the case of Hit Man, by the book's publisher.
Here are a few banned books that I've read:
- 1984, by George Orwell
- An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser
- Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
- Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
- Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
- Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
- The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
- The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien
“The dearest ones of time, the strongest friends of the soul—BOOKS.” ~Emily Dickinson
Here are more classics that were once banned:
- As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
- Blubber, by Judy Blume
- The Call of the Wild, Jack London
- Carrie, by Stephen King
- Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut
- A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
- For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway
- Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
- Ordinary People, by Judith Guest
- The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
- The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
See two fuller lists here and here. And here's a list of 21st Century most-challenged books.
Just to make things clear, I do my best to stay away from crude, smutty, or overwhelmingly-violent books. However, I stand behind your and my right to read anything we choose.
Feel like rebelling? Go to your local library or bookstore and procure a whole bunch of previously-banned books! Encourage others to do the same! Let's stage a coup for free speech! :D
Source Articles: Wikipedia: Book Censorship in the United States; List of Banned Books by Governments; BuzzFeed: 11 Quotes From Authors on Censorship and Banned Books; Hit Man: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors; BannedBooksWeek.org