Sunday, September 24, 2006

Read a Banned Book

2006 BBW; Read Banned Books: They're Your Ticket to Freedom September 23-30 is banned books week.

How can you celebrate? Read one of the banned books, of course.
The top ten challenged books of 2000-2005 are:
1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
2. "The Chocolate War" by Robert Cormier
3. Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
4. "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck
5. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou
6. "Fallen Angels" by Walter Dean Myers
7. "It's Perfectly Normal" by Robie Harris
8. Scary Stories series by Alvin Schwartz
9. Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey
10. "Forever" by Judy Blume

If you don't see one you like in the "top 10", there are lots of others to chose from and many are freely available in the public domain (see the links to some examples, below). One of these may catch your fancy:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (an American classic - everyone should read this at least once. This was one of the top 10 challenged books of the 1990s.).
E is for Ecstasy (personal experiences with the drug Ecstasy - banned in Australia)
Fanny Hill (Published in 1749, cleared of obscenity charges by the US Postal service in 1966)
"Ulysses" by James Joyce (I'll admit I've never gotten past the first page)

Google lets you browse many banned books, from "To Kill a Mockingbird" to "Catcher in the Rye" to "Tropic of Cancer". There are more links to online copies of banned books at the U.Penn. library site.

When you have a chance, head over to the American Library Association site and vote for your favorite banned book.

I voted for Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five"*. The novel is the life story of Billy Pilgrim, who "comes unstuck in time", meaning that he experiences his life out of linear chronological order. Of course, his life is very eventful. Pilgrim is captured by Germans during WWII, and survives the firebombing of Dresden as a prisoner in a meatpacking house. This part of the novel is based on Vonnegut's own experience as one of only seven American prisoners of war to survive the Dresden firebombing. After the war, Pilgrim lives a normal suburban life, until he is captured by aliens and placed in a zoo on the planet Trafalmadore with a porn star. And so it goes . . .

Want to read it? I'll happily loan you my copy next time I see you :-)

Otherwise, it's available from

* Or, as the title page calls it:
Slaughterhouse Five
The Children's Crusade
A Duty-Dance with Death

By Kurt Vonnegut
A fourth-Generation German-American now living in easy circumstances on Cape Cod [and smoking too much], who, as an American infantry scout hors de combat, as a prisoner of war, witnessed the fire-bombing of Dresden, Germany, "The Florence of the Elbe," a long time ago, and survived to tell the tale. This is a novel somewhat in the telegraphic schizophrenic manner of tales of the planet Tralfamadore, where the flying saucers come from.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have a couple Captain Underpants books. They rule.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Bk30 said...

I read catcher in the Rye and tried to read of Mice and Men, I love to kill a MockingBird..the drunk drinks gets me everytime! Can we ban the book I'm reading now?..I do want to read Capt Underpants though..he's on the list

7:31 PM  

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