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September 22, 2013 / Charlie McNabb

Banned Books Week 2013

Happy Banned Books Week, everybody!  This week, we’re celebrating the freedom to read by defending challenged and banned books and talking about why freedom of speech and expression are crucial to democracy.  Banned Books Week is organized by the American Library Association and the American Civil Liberties Union, and every year there are lots of fun events including read-outs and book clubs.

Censorship is not just government interference.  More often, individuals and small groups lobby to remove books from public and school libraries, typically because of sexual content, vulgar language, or age appropriateness.  Click here for lists of the top-ten most frequently challenged books in the U.S. by year.  While I sympathize that many books are highly problematic or difficult to read and I may personally decide to avoid them, every person should have the right to decide that for themselves.

In honor of this event, I decided to participate in a virtual read-out.  I shared excerpts from two of my favorite books, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, and The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov.  Both of these books are highly significant to me, and I shudder to think of anyone telling me that I can’t read them.  Click below to see me reading from these books, and then feel free to share your favorite banned book in the comments!  And why not visit your library– there may be Banned Books Week events happening at your local branch.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

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