Banned Books Week 2013

Hey guys, I’m back from my vacation. Thanks for being patient with me. I hoped you enjoyed the reviews that were posted in my absence.

It’s that time of year again–Banned Books Week!

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What is Banned Books Week? The below content is from


Banned Books Week is the national book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. The 2013 celebration of Banned Books Week will be held from September 22-28.  Banned Books Week 2014 will be held September 21-27.

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982. For more information on Banned Books Week, click here. According to the American Library Association, there were 464 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2012, and many more go unreported. The 10 most challenged titles of 2012 were:

    1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
      Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group
    2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
      Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
    3. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
      Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group
    4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.
      Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
    5. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
      Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group
    6. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.
      Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
    7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green.
      Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
    8. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
      Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence
    9. The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
      Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
Beloved, by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence


Last year, I read Fahrenheit 451 for Banned Books Week and loved it. I’ve always been a big advocate for the freedom for people to make choices, and that includes what they want to read. I believe banning books is dangerous and ignorant. I also believe that it is wrong to ban books in countries that claim to be free, such as the United States. Yet it keeps happening, for one reason or the other.

I believe most people who ban books do so out of fear. They don’t like the content and don’t want it to gain favor with anyone, so they ban it. A lot of banned books in schools occur because of parents.

While I believe parents have the right to tell their children what they can and cannot read (though I personally do not approve of this strategy), I don’t believe they should have the power to ban the book for everyone else (e.g. the rest of the school). I believe parents who do not wish their child to be exposed to these books should either express their opinion to their child, their teacher, their librarian or seek homeschooling/private schooling if an issue can’t be resolved.

And honestly, I can’t see a lot of situations in which a teacher or school would defiantly deny the parents this right to excuse their child from reading a certain book. Plenty of kids I went to school with were excused from watching certain movies because their parents didn’t approve, so why can’t the same be done with books?

censorship causes blindness

Anyway, I am a huge supporter of freedom, especially when it comes to books. I truly believe that censorship causes figurative blindness. This week is Banned Books Week, so it’s a great time to read a banned or challenged book. I will be reading Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.

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Lolita is one of the top ten censored/challenged books. According to Time Magazine, Lolita was:

First published in France by a pornographic press, this 1955 novel explores the mind of a self-loathing and highly intelligent pedophile named Humbert Humbert, who narrates his life and the obsession that consumes it: his lust for “nymphets” like 12-year-old Dolores Haze.

French officials banned it for being “obscene,” as did England, Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa. Today, the term Lolita has come to imply an oversexed teenage siren, although Vladimir Nabokov, for his part, never intended to create the association. In fact, he nearly burned the manuscript in disgust, and fought with his publishers over whether an image of a girl should be included on the book’s cover.


I love controversial books and I’ve always wanted to read Lolita, so it sounds like a good time to start. I’m off to grab a copy of it tomorrow! Are you participating in Banned Books Week? Why or why not? Do you believe anyone has the right to ban or challenge a book? If you are participating, what book are you planning to read?






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