“Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you’re going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don’t be afraid to go in your library and read every book…” — Dwight D. Eisenhower
I always say, “if you can’t read, you can’t think.” And by restricting what you can read, severely limits critical thinking. The last week of September is Banned Books Week, the national book community’s celebration of the right to read. This year, the week runs September 22-28, 2013. The New York Times has a baker’s dozen of suggestions of how to observe Banned Books Week. Wine Harlots will be using the hashtag #BannedBooksWeek on our social media platforms. Read Banned Books. The Wine Harlots do.
There’s no big surprise about the feeble-minded getting their knickers in a twist over the Anarchist Cookbook or how-to books on sex or suicide, but the list of censored or challenged books and authors always amazes. Here’s a few of the banned:
F. Scott Fitzgerald had the Great Gatsby banned. Ernest Hemingway earned a hat-trick of censorship with The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls and A Farewell to Arms. J.K. Rowling had to fight suppression of the wildly popular Harry Potter series.
Who else is banned? Pretty much anything Steven King, Toni Morrison or Judy Blume ever wrote. Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer, John Steinbeck, Vladimir Nabokov, Anne Rice, S. E. Hinton, Alice Walker, Margaret Atwood, Isabel Allende, Norman Mailer, Upton Sinclair, Ken Follett, Salman Rushdie, and Henry Miller are among the great literary cannon who’s works have been censored.
Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Anne Frank’s Diary of a Very Young Girl, Madeline Engel’s A Wrinkle in Time, Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic, Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, Jack London’s The Call of the Wild, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, James Joyce’s Ulysses, Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, George Orwell’s 1984, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Robert A. Heinlein’s A Stranger in a Strange Land, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch, and Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest.
If an author is creative, original, though-provoking, or subversive, it’s likely the work has been challenged or banned somewhere. Censorship sucks. Stand up for your reading rights. Freadom. Read banned books.