Posted by: kitkat | September 28, 2005

Banned Books Week

This is Banned Books Week, which started on Sunday. I had been meaning to give a book review each day of books that I read and enjoyed which were banned or challenged by someone. As you can see, its Wednesday, I haven’t done anything yet. So I will do a few of them now, in the review section of the blog. However, I also think that there is something really important to think about not only durning banned books week, but any time you pick up a book to read.

The Witches by Roald Dahl

I read Roald Dahl books when I was younger, but I didn’t realize how much I loved this man until I became an adult. I loved the BFG, and of course Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach. Upon looking at the list of the most often challenged/banned books in America from 1990-2000, I saw that #27 was The Witches. Okay, so the book is called “Witches”, but the witches themselves aren’t even really human. At the very beinning of the book, Dahl differentiates them from people by saying that they don’t have toes. Dahl also makes witches bad creatures that need to be disposed of. You really don’t feel any sympathy for the witches, in fact you really hope that the main characters do defeat the witches. Of course, if you don’t like the idea of magic, good or bad, you still won’t be pleased with this book.

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
In all honesty, I can’t remember much about the book. I read it when I was in college at Geneseo, when I was an English Lit major and reading a lot of books at the same time. I do remember that I loved it, especially at the end when I distinctly remember crying quite a bit. I felt that the book was excellent, and fully intend on rereading it as soon as I can.

According to the American Library Association’s website:

85 Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Reason for challenges: racism, sexually explicit, offensive language

It seems weird that a black author could charged offensive by writing “racist” language. I mean, sure I know its possible for a black person to be racist, just like its possible for a white person to be racist. However, considering that almost all the characters in the book are black, it seems strange that Morrison would be considered racist against black people, which is where I assume they are trying to go with it. Onto sexually explicit… well sex scares people and thats all there is to it. If you ever read a book and you have questions about something, stop reading it and talk to your parents. They might be nervous and you might be nervous, but you might get a good discussion out of it. Also the “offensive” bit. I’m going to assume that the “n” word is probably used quite a bit, since the book is not supposed to take place in the present. But even if it did, young black people still say the word, you can hear it in the music etc.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple is number 18 on the 100 most banned books of 1990 – 2000. I love this book! I loved this book so much that I bought two copies for myself at different times, just because I wanted to make sure I had it. This book is a downer sometimes, with a seemingly endless amount of terrible things happening to the main character(Celie). Fortunately, by the end of the novel, Celie takes a stand and empowers herself to stand up to all the people who want to force her down. This is by no means a light read, but I think its a very important read, stressing that women can only take so much heartache before they break and crumble or stand up for themselves.


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