July 29, 2013

Freedom to Read

I have always taken for granted the fact that I could read anything I have wanted. My reading has never been censored in any way.  I have always had the luxury of finding the books I wanted to read.  I can thank my mother for fostering my love of reading and encouraging me to appreciate a wide variety of books and genres from a very young age. 
Much to my chagrin I discovered that certain books are banned books. Can you believe that? Here in 21st century America there really is a banned book list. Yes, you can be told by a bookstore, library or a school that a book is banned and you can’t read it. I’m an only child. I always get what I want. I’ll find it somewhere, somehow -- STUFF IT PRUDISH LIBRARIAN!!

I have mentioned before that I belong to a book club called Books & Beer. It’s the perfect combination. I love to read and I love beer! The heaven’s opened up and the angels sang the day I found this book club (um, er, the day the love of my life found it and told me about it). Since attending for about a year and a half now, we have never really had a theme of any kind. Folks discuss the book they want to read for the next month, a list is made and it’s put to a vote. Easy peasy! Until the cool book you found and thought everyone would like was called garbage! Yes, garbage! No offense to anyone who has read it, but the garbage caller even compared it to Twilight! Sob!

Calm down Ravenous Reader authors – it was not any of your books. I tend to keep my book-loving, ravenous reading split personalities separate. Plus, my Books & Beer persona gives me an opportunity to read some of the more mainstream stuff that’s out there without any real obligation. This persona, my ravenous one, is more what I’m really about, but people want popular, they want the new shiny, they want what everyone else is reading -- they want the NY Times Bestseller List. I really prefer the beer - honestly!!

So, the club came up with the idea of having the “Summer of Banned Books” theme.. We picked 4 books from the official banned books list and will culminate the final book with the official Banned Books Week in September. The four banned books are as follows: Slaughterhouse 5, Catch 22, Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Catcher in the Rye. Before this summer I had never read any of these books, much less knew they were banned. After this summer I will have read all of them but Catch 22. I just can’t get through that one for some reason. This is the second time I have tried and I can’t! I will go ahead and inflict self-punishment and skip book club drinking beer this month.

Did any of you even know there was an official banned books list let alone a banned books week? Have any of you ever read any of the books on the banned books list? What is your favorite banned book?


  1. Catcher in the Rye is my favorite banned book and I love it even more because it is banned. I love beer and books too but the more beer I drink the slower I read. Imagine that.

  2. To Kill a Mockingbird, Slaughterhouse Five, The Diary of a Young Girl (Anne Frank!).

    Amazing what some people don't want young people to read. Some of our finest literature has been banned at one time or another--from a library, from a school list, even by governments. Even the Harry Potter books get banned because they are "pagan."

    I, too, had parents who encouraged me to read widely. Aren't we the lucky ones? Oh yes, and beer.