A bookworm to the core, Banned Books Week is one of my favorite holidays. Not only do I get to celebrate reading, I also get to give props to the First Amendment and intellectual freedom, and snub my nose at the conservative zealots who have tried to suppress some of my favorite books over the years. All in all, an awesome time. (#1 on the holidays for atheists list, perhaps?)
In honor of this Banned Books Week, why not read one of 2008’s most challenged books, listed on the American Library Association’s website. I personally recommend #2 on the list, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, one of childhood favorites that has stood the test of time, as a recent re-reading proved (undertaken in time for the release of a movie based on the first book in the series, The Golden Compass). Pullman’s work attracted the ire of would-be censors for “political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence” (translation: it’s too progressive and makes organized religion look bad). You’ll also find the Gossip Girl series on that list, and though I’ve yet to read the books, I’m a devotee of the T.V. version. (Oh, Chuck and Blair, together at last, but for how long?)
Or, go for one of the “Banned and Challenged Classics.” Forty-two of the Radcliff Publishing Course’s top 100 literary all-stars have been subjected to ban attempts, so there’s plenty to choose from. I’m currently engrossed in #11, Vladmir Nabokov’s Lolita.
If you can’t decide which to read, here’s my suggestion: George Orwell’s classic dystopia, 1984. One of my all-time favorite books, and great for BBW because the book has not only been censored, it’s about censorship. Anyone who hasn’t read it yet should take this opportunity to celebrate the holiday and find out the true meaning behind “Big Brother” and the thought police.