A Word On Banned Books

Well, a few words…but you get the point.

I first heard of The Catcher and the Rye when I was fifteen. So, curiosity leading the way, I stopped into my highschool library to check a copy out. The librarian informed me that the book had been banned at our school. She said it had been banned for years, then was unbanned for a few years, until a parent complained about its content. In fact, there was a box of newly banned books sitting on the librarian’s desk, which, she informed me, were on their way to the trash.

It astounded me that I lived in a society that would ban books, let alone throw them in the trash.

I confess, I stole a copy of The Catcher in the Rye out of that box. And I read the whole thing that night.

Now, I’m not advocating stealing, but I am encouraging kids to get out there and read every banned book you can find. If they (and by they I mean whoever banned the book in the first place) don’t want you reading it, then find out why. Read it. Learn from it. And don’t let a simple-minded thing like banning stop you. If they‘re banning a book, chances are, you should be reading it, passing it around to your friends, digging into those pages and mining for gold.

Banned Books Week was several months ago, but the ALA (bless their book-lovin’ hearts) have excellent lists of the most commonly banned books. Read those lists. Put them to memory. And then seek out the books on them.

As for me, I’m going to sit down and reread The Catcher in the Rye tonight. It’s a newer copy.

I read the last one until it fell apart.

9 Responses to "A Word On Banned Books"

  1. Dawn

    YEAH for you! Not for the theft (bad girl) but for the reading. I pulled up this list a couple years ago and found one of my faves on it. So then my daughter read it too!

  2. Anonymous

    Twenty-four years ago my senior high school English teacher told our class that he wasn’t allowed to teach from ORDINARY PEOPLE by Judith Guest because it had a teen sex scene. The box of paperbacks was on a chair by the door. “I don’t know what will happen to all these books.”

    The box was empty by the end of the day. And it was the most-read book in our high school that year.

    Here’s to banned books and those who defy censorship!

    Christopher

  3. Heather Brewer

    You’re both fantastic!

  4. Melanie Lynne Hauser

    Thank goodness my sons’ school has never gone the banned books route. Catcher in the Rye is required reading for junior year, which I’m happy about!

  5. Heather Brewer

    Excellent school, Melanie! My son’s current school is the same way. It astounds me that people would ban books. Here’s hoping it eventually ends. Until then, I’ll remain an advocate for breaking the rules. ;)

  6. Anonymous

    Love your English teacher, Christopher. We need more like him. And Heather, thanks for putting this on your blog. A banned book is a must read book.

    EJ

  7. Heather Brewer

    Couldn’t agree more, EJ!

  8. Anonymous

    And may OUR books be banned! :) (Seriously, mine probably will be.)

    Christopher

  9. Heather Brewer

    Of that I have no doubts, Christopher. :)

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