Books Magazine

Read A Banned Book This Week

By Jobsanger
Read A Banned Book This Week (The image above was found at the web page of the Sonoma State University Library.)
Last week, a friend from North Carolina told us about a school board in that state that had voted to ban the excellent book by Ralph Ellison, "Invisible Man". Now this week, we hear of an Ohio school board wanting to ban Toni Morrison's book, "The Bluest Eye".
I am a reader. In fact, I love books. I think the best thing a person can do to improve their mind is to read books -- any kind of books. And I believe one of the stupidest things people can do is to ban (or burn) books. Book-banners are just showing a lack of faith in their own beliefs (which they think will be threatened by some book) or in the intelligence of their fellow human beings (who they evidently believe are too dumb to know a good book from a bad one, or to be able to recognize truth or lies when encountered in a book).
I have raised two children on my own, and I can honestly say that I never censored any reading material they were interested in reading. I was just thankful they wanted to read, and always encouraged them to read. In fact, on every Christmas of their lives they received some books as a present (in addition to toys and other gifts). And thankfully, they developed a love of reading, which they have taken into their adulthood.
It just so happens that the two new efforts at book-banning that I mentioned above, happen as we celebrate a special week -- Banned Books Week (September 22nd - 28th). I hope you will all join me this week in reading a good banned book. That's the best way I can think of to celebrate the week. And to give you some suggestions, I present the following list of books (from the website of that are, or have been banned:
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain, 1884 The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X and Alex Haley, 1965 Beloved, Toni Morrison, 1987 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown, 1970 The Call of the Wild, Jack London, 1903 Catch-22, Joseph Heller, 1961 The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger, 1951 Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, 1953 For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway, 1940 Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell, 1936 The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck, 1939 The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925 Howl, Allen Ginsberg, 1956 In Cold Blood, Truman Capote, 1966 Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison, 1952 The Jungle, Upton Sinclair, 1906 Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman, 1855 Moby-Dick; or The Whale, Herman Melville,1851 Native Son, Richard Wright, 1940 Our Bodies, Ourselves, Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, 1971 The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane, 1895 The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1850 Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, Alfred C. Kinsey, 1948 Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein, 1961 A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams, 1947 Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston, 1937 To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, 1960 Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1852 Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak, 1963 The Words of Cesar Chavez, Cesar Chavez, 2002

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