Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Celebrate freedom, read a banned book

The 27th annual Banned Books Week kicks off on Saturday. Sponsored by the American Library Association, Banned Books Week celebrates freedom of expression and democracy.

Intellectual freedom can exist only where two essential conditions are met: first, that all individuals have the right to hold any belief on any subject and to convey their ideas in any form they deem appropriate; and second, that society makes an equal commitment to the right of unrestricted access to information and ideas regardless of the communication medium used, the content of the work, and the viewpoints of both the author and receiver of information. Freedom to express oneself through a chosen mode of communication, including the Internet, becomes virtually meaningless if access to that information is not protected. Intellectual freedom implies a circle, and that circle is broken if either freedom of expression or access to ideas is stifled. - American Library Association "Intellectual Freedom Manual"

Most of the featured books were the targets of attempted bannings, but still remain on the shelves.

Several of the top 100 novels of the 20th century have been the target of the book banners, including:

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • Ulysses by James Joyce
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  • Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  • Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • Native Son by Richard Wright
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
  • Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
  • All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
  • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  • Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
  • A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  • Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
  • Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
  • Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  • Naked Lunch by William Burroughs
  • Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence
  • The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
  • Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
  • An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
  • Rabbit, Run by John Updike

Celebrate the First Amendment and freedom of thought by reading one of these classics during Banned Books Week.

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