Although it’s still two months away, recent news stories reflect the importance of Banned Books Week, scheduled the last week of September. The handbook for the event includes both a list of banned and challenged books and the stories behind some of this year’s efforts.
Here’s some of the books appearing in the latter:
- Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.Pat Conroy’s The Lords of Discipline. Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. (Listed last year in TIME Magazine’s 100 Best Novels since 1923.)
Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. (Won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, is on the TIME Top 100 list and was selected Best Novel of the Century in a 1999 survey by the Library Journal.)
All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. (Won the 1992 National Book Award for fiction and the 1992 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. It is also the first part of The Border Trilogy, which received an honorable mention by the NYT Book Review in its survey this year of the the best works of American fiction in the last 25 years.)
Beloved, The Bluest Eye, and Song of Solomon, all by Toni Morrison. (Beloved not only won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, it was selected by the NYT Book Review as THE best work of American fiction in the last 25 years and made the TIME list. Song of Solomon won the 1977 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction.)
Richard Preston’s The Hot Zone. (To allay any fears about the subject, the book deals with the origins and outbreaks of the Ebola and Marburg viruses.)
J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. (On the TIME list of the 100 Best Novels.)
America (The Book) by John Stewart and The Daily Show. (Selected by Publishers Weekly as the 2004 Book of the Year. The audio version won the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album.)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.
Black Boy by Richard Wright.
Strikes me that these are books you would expect to find in a quality library.
Ideas are only lethal if you suppress and don’t discuss them. Ignorance is not bliss, it’s stupid. Banning books shows you don’t trust your kids to think and you don’t trust yourself to be able to talk to them.
Anna Quindlen, New York Times, April 27, 1993