What is the Sunday Salon? Imagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them, and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake...
Banned Books Week continues with highlights of some great books that were NOT on the top 10 list of someone out there... books that for one reason or another someone found objectionable. Can you believe that Charlotte's Web by E.B. White was challenged? The beloved children's story of friendship between a pig and a spider was challenged for its "unnatural" depiction of talking animals! Or how about Little Red Riding Hood? In 1990 it was banned by two California districts because an illustration shows Little Red Riding Hood's basket with a bottle of wine in it (along with bread & butter), and this could be seen as condoning the use of alcohol! Besides quite a few of my favorite children's books being on the Banned and Challenged list, there are a few recent additions to the banned book list that if you haven't read, you should! Oh, and at the very bottom of the page... you just HAVE to watch the video that The American Library Association put out for Banned Books Week! It's only 2 minutes long, but it says it all!
The first banned book today I want to showcase is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. What a wonderfully written book of friendship, loyalty and betrayal! The novel centers around the friendship of two boys, Amir & Hassan, in Afghanistan. Amir is the privileged son of a wealthy businessman in Kabul, and Hassan is the son of Amir's father's servant. They are from different classes but are the best of friends and inseparable. The book has been challenged repeatedly for its violence and a sexually explicit scene. That particular scene was brutal and heart wrenching... The story brought me to tears and haunted me for quite some time afterwards. The meaning of friendship, the horrors of war and a class system that seems unfair. If you haven't picked this book up I would highly recommend it. There are some amazing twists and turns in the plot and the story spans the time from boyhood to manhood for these two characters. A friend lent me this book and as I reluctantly picked it up to read it, I found myself lost in the story and couldn't put it down.
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult was pulled from classrooms in Clawson, Michigan in 2008 because the story was to racy for middle school children. "Anna Fitzgerald has spent her whole life in and out of hospitals, not because there is anything wrong with her, but because she has the ability to help keep her older sister alive. In fact, that was the sole reason Anna was conceived and genetically selected. Her older sister Kate has a rare form of leukemia and her parents will try anything to save her. When Kate needs one of Anna's kidneys, at age 13, Anna decides enough is enough and sues her parents for the right to control her own body." This was a thought provoking and wonderfully written book. Jodi Picoult is known for her books dealing with sticky issues and this story is a good example. We read this in my reading group and the story lends itself to a great discussion! The ethics of having a baby to help a sick sibling... Moral obligations to a member of your family... Harvesting of organs... But this isn't just a straightforward story of family obligations, there are things going behind the scenes between these two sisters who do indeed love eachother... If you haven't read My Sister's Keeper yet, put it on your TBR list!
One of my favorite books of all time, Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett! Removed from a Cleburne, Texas high school English summer reading list in 2009 because the novel contains a rape scene and passages of explicit sex. By the sounds of it, that is all you would remember of the story, but it's definitely not. This book was also my very first recommendation on Chick with Books! Here's my blurb about it from February, "A wonderful story with all the elements! Adventure, treachery, art, love, sex and superstition. What starts as a story of Tom Builder and his love of family & craft, grows into the tale of the assasination and sainthood of Thomas Becket. The characters are so real they almost walk out of the pages! So, get ready to experience the building of a magnificent cathedral, the world of 12th-century England and a cast of characters you simply will not forget. You will not be able to put this book down once you open it. You'll wish there were 900 more pages!" If you like stories set in the middle ages you will love this book! We also read this in my reading group. I had to do a bit of convincing because it was such a thick book, but EVERYone loved it! The pages just flew by! When you are done with the book tell me what you thought of William!
Want to see the list of the top 100 banned or challenged classics? Here's the link to the American Library Associations list. And here's the link to the beginning of Banned Book Week here at Chick with Books. Read all about what the Freedom to Read is all about, and see who else is participating in Banned Books Week! What books have you enjoyed that can be found on the banned & challenged book list? Are you going to read any banned books this week? Let me know what books are on your shelf and what you're reading! ....*Oh, and I just started Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger... if you look at the post before this one, I talk about meeting Holden Caulfield!
Stop by tomorrow for Memoir Monday and our memoir that was a banned book!
Happy reading... Suzanne