It’s Banned Books Week!  Each year, in the last week of September, libraries sponsor this event to celebrate our freedom to read and access information.  In the face of efforts to censor information, it is the library’s duty to provide equitable access to materials–so let’s take advantage of it!  Ask your local library about any events they might have going on.

Catcher in the Rye

Catcher in the Rye

ALA has a lot of great lists and statistics, and I just wanted to take the time to highlight a few things.   I had always wondered if there was a definitive list of the most challenged books out there, and how many I had read.  Since the ALA has only been tracking these statistics since 1990, there is no complete “all-time” list.  One list that is considered quite definitive is The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books 1990-1999.  I was actually surprised that I’d only read 15 of these.  Shirking my reading responsibilities!  Since many books’ histories are so entwined with censorship, the ALA has also highlighted the 42 books which appear on the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century that have been challenged.  That’s almost half of the books that are considered to be the greatest of our time!  (The complete list is here, for those who are interested.)

How many of these books have you read?  How many do you want to read?  Ever wonder what all the fuss is about?  In honor of Banned Books Week, pick one up!  I’ve got a few of these sitting on my shelf, waiting to be read, and I think this might be the perfect opportunity to get one started.

Also, in my Readers Advisory class over the summer, I wrote a paper on the social history of The Catcher in the Rye.  You can check that out here or in my portfolio.