Banned Books Week was launched throughout America in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982. According to the American Library Association, there were 464 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2012, and many more go unreported.
The 10 most challenged titles of 2012 were:
1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey (Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group)
2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie (Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group)
3. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher (Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group)
4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James. (Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit)
5. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson. (Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group)
6. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. (Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit)
7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green. (Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group)
8. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz (Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence)
9. The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls (Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit)
10. Beloved, by Toni Morrison (Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence)
In the UK public libraries are free from censorship, but there is always talk surrounding school reading criteria and censoring/banning books from school libraries so I still find the idea of Banned Books week important.
There is a really interesting list of famous/popular books (From the Canterbury Tales to Carrie) that have been banned around the world and why here.
Two of my favourite books of all time are on that list, Slaughterhouse-Five and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Today my spotlight is on Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five.
Kurt Vonnegut’s absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut’s) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.
I love EVERYTHING about this book. It is an anti-war commentary masking as a pretty insane Science Fiction story and it’s probably the most powerful piece of fiction I have ever read. READ IT. NOW!