Today marks the end of Banned Books Week (BBW), “an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment”. The American Library Association’s Website provides some background:
“Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.”
I hadn’t realized it was BBW until I visited Village Books this afternoon on a mission for a cheap thesaurus. The bracelet featured above was an impulse buy at check out that sparked a conversation with one of the VB employees, who showed me their window display of some banned favorites. Among them were Grapes of Wrath, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Later I found a list of banned books online including Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, which I just finished this week. Lolita is a thematically difficult read, even today, but the writing is so beautiful, it would have been an absolute shame to have never experienced it. Check out the list…are any of your favorites on it?
All of this gave me an idea. Wouldn’t a book club that focused on banned books be an interesting? There are plenty of books, representing a variety of genres for nearly every reader. I may have to start one…
The bracelet above was made by Carolyn Forsman, if you are interested in getting one of your own!