Banned Books Week: Vive le Livre!

September 26th to October 3rd marks the 27th annual Banned Books Week, a celebration of sorts for freedom of expression and for all the books that have been harassed and threatened with extinction because of perceived offensiveness and/or danger to society.

The complaints come in many forms, and offer interesting insights into cultural fears and anxieties. Books have been challenged because of inappropriate language, race portrayals, ethnic portrayals; because of political or religious subversion, occult or satanic allusions, or suspect family values; because of drug use, excessive language, violence, or sex.

Often, these charges are coupled with the challenge that a book is "unsuited to age group." It seems what people most often fear is a book's alleged ability to indoctrinate children with some value or belief system that challenges one's own. "Our children are at stake!," the banners cry, never considering the unfortunate effects of such censorship.

In defiance of such short-sighted hucksters, crack open a banned book and indulge in its excessiveness today.

The American Library Association offers many resources for Banned Books Week:
A list of challenged or banned books in 2008-2009
A proclamation for local libraries
A letter you can send to your local newspaper
and more!

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