Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy Banned Books Week!

Every year Banned Books Week sneaks up on me -- usually I find out mid-week, when it's almost too late to read a challenged book in celebration.  This year I got lucky: This morning I happened to see a headline mentioning it today, the first day of Banned Books Week.

Yes, it's already that time again!

The first thing I did was to find the list of the ten top challenged books for 2012.  They release this list every year.  Usually it has repeats, probably books that are commonly being taught in schools.  And there is always some controversial big-name series.  It used to be Harry Potter; the last few years it's been Twilight; this year, it's Fifty Shades.

Without further ado, here is the list:

1. Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey
2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
3. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
5. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
6. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
8. Scary Stories series by Alvin Schwartz
9. The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
10. Beloved, by Toni Morrison

I've read about half the books on the list, including (oddly enough, but because I read it to the kids I babysit for) one of the Captain Underpants books.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian has made it onto the list every year for the last few years, and And Tango Makes Three has been on the list every single year since 2006 except for 2011.  Also, it seems like it's just Fifty Shades of Grey that's on the list -- the first book in the trilogy -- and not the entire trilogy.

I always like to try to read a book from the previous year's list to celebrate the week; last year I read Brave New World.  This year I've read most of the books on the list -- numbers 2, 3, 4, 9, and 10, plus one of the Captain Underpants series -- and though it's on my list of things to read, I'm not sure I'm up for The Kite Runner this week.  I decided, therefore, to read Looking for Alaska, which looks like a quick read and right up my alley.

Why do I read a banned or challenged book every year during this week?  I suppose it's to celebrate the fact that I have the right to read anything I want.  What are you going to read this week?

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