Monday, September 28, 2015

Banned Books Week - I Like Banned Books And I Cannot Lie

As she has for the past several years, Sheila of Book Journey is hosting a celebration of banned books during Banned Books Week. Be sure to hop on over to her site to find links to a lot of posts from people who are passionate about fighting against censorship.

Right up until I was a teenager, I was a pretty easy kid to have around. About the time I became a teenager, I also developed a rebellious side. I may have outgrown a lot of the wild side of those years but there remains to this day some of that rebel in my soul. Also, I'm still not that wild about being told what to do...or what not to read.

I wasn't even aware of banned books when I started reading banned books. My dad was reading Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn to my brother, sister, and I when we were still in grade school. Middle school teachers had us reading 1984 and Animal Farm.

I don't recall anyone ever censoring my reading as I grew up. One of my favorite books as a teen was Go Ask Alice, a book filled with sex and drug use. Did it turn me into sex-starved, drug addict? Absolutely not. I was raised with too much respect for what my parents had taught me. They may have told me I couldn't do a lot of things, but they never told me I couldn't read something. Reading and learning were both too important in my parents' house.

Now telling me a book has been banned is like waving a red cape in my face. If it's banned, and it's not something I've already read or plan to read, it's a sure bet that it will be added to my tbr list. I'm always surprised to look at lists of books that have been banned or challenged and find so many that I have read, particularly when I can't even recall anything about them that I found especially controversial. On most lists, I'll find that I've read at least a third of the books. Does that just mean that I like books with sex, drugs, and violence? Books I've added to the tbr just because somebody said we should read them include The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, and Rabbit, Run by John Updike. Because don't tell me what to do!

Later this week, I'll focus on children's and YA books that have been challenged and which of them myself and my children have enjoyed.


  1. I have Go Ask Alice on the list that I shared today too. My sister loved that book and she was not a reader at all. She had some tough times in her teen years and actually all her life. Not such good decisions. Don't think that was down to reading Go Ask Alice though. I think she just connected with the characters.

  2. I'm not sure I've ever read a book on purpose because it was banned but I can understand the spirit! It's always interesting to me to see why books are banned.

  3. I read Go Ask Alice last year when I picked up the book at a book sale. Great post!

  4. I think that books that deal with serious topics have the potential to offend someone (isn't someone always offended by something?), which is why I'm surprised when I see some books on banned lists (like Dr. Seuss). That being said, I was the only one passionate about reading in my family, so my parents gave me free reign over what I was going to read, I'm sure in part because they didn't want to read the books themselves to see if they had problems with them. Even though I keep an eye on what my kids are reading, and suggest books that I think they will like, I don't tell them not to read something. My oldest son has only had one instance of picking up a book that was too old for him whereupon he realized that it wasn't for him because he was bored. He's reading Fahrenheit 451 in English right now and I'm thrilled to report that he loves it and had to restrain himself from reading ahead of the class (they were told to stop at certain points and not read ahead).

  5. The first books I checked out of the library (when I was eight) were Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. What fun I had joining in their adventures. Of course, those two would be banned or challenged at some point.

  6. I have not read Go Ask Alice but I have read The Bluest Eye. I started keeping a list of banned books that I have read and that I want to read, last year when I became more aware of Banned Books Week and the lists associated with this week. I always knew about banned books but never really gave it a lot of thought. If I wanted to read a book, I did. Banned or not! My parents too, encouraged all kinds of reading., Never once did they tell me I could not read a particular title.

  7. Wow, Go Ask Alice takes me back! I loved that book. I remember being completely absorbed by it.

  8. Nice intro post for Banned Books Week! Each year, I choose 2 banned books to read & review this week - this year, I read Looking for Alaska by John Green and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi - both were amazing!

    A few years ago, one of my banned book reads was Go Ask Alice. I listened on audio and was completely mesmerized by it - what an incredible book - and an important one for teens to read, too.

    Happy Banned Books Week!


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