Banned Book Week 1

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

BBW, marking its thirtieth anniversary, always reminds me of two important facts: we should be free to read whatever we want, and we should never want to read some of the awful stuff that sometimes shows up in print. But it is our choice. Books are powerful. They eat up your time, influence your thinking, play with your emotions. A powerful book can be really upsetting, can challenge your values and assumptions, can mess with your mind. These are often the ones worth choosing… they are certainly the books we remember and recommend to our friends.

I say all this with some trepidation. No book should be banned, but not every book is suitable for every reader! I have just bought J.K.Rowlings new book The Casual Vacancy and despite very mixed reviews, including a couple of shocking spoilers, I quite look forward to it. I hope that grandparents shopping for Christmas don’t just buy it for the sake of the author. Judy Blume, Raold Dahl, and C.S.Lewis are among the list of authors who also wrote for children… but their adult books are certainly not for kids. Caveat emptor.

I remember reading Lord of the Flies for the first time… in one uninterrupted sitting… in the library stacks at McMaster University. I was finishing an assignment, due the next day, when a friend stopped to tell me about it and dropped it on my desk. The assignment was late, but the prof accepted my excuse and we had a good talk about the book!

Lord of the Flies is a novel by Nobel Prize-winning English author William Golding about a group of British boys stuck on an uninhabited island who try to govern themselves, with disastrous results. Its stances on the already controversial subjects of human nature and individual welfare versus the common good earned it position 68 on the American Library Association’s list of the 100 most frequently challenged books of 1990–1999.[2] In 2005 the novel was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005.[3] It was awarded a place on both lists of Modern Library 100 Best Novels, reaching number 41 on the editor’s list, and 25 on the reader’s list. (Wikipedia)

The Lord of the Flies is a banned book… here is the rest of the article about it.

And here is the Wikipedia article about the heartbreaking 1963 film… which I liked much better than the remake (which you can watch by clicking here).

If you can’t do anything else for BBW, watch this!  I remember reading that they took untrained actors… ordinary school boys chosen by age and appearance, and left them in “summer camp” on an island for several weeks with minimal supervision before starting filming… much of it unscripted.


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