Monday, October 1, 2007

Banned Books Week

With none too subtle irony, the American Library Association celebrates the freedom to read freely in Banned Books Week September 29- October 6. The list of books in the US "banned by someone, somewhere, sometime" is huge and in many cases the reasons for banning seem difficult to understand.

Several books banned in Australia, on the grounds of obscenity or coarse language, have later become school or university texts e.g. J. D Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, D. H Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover and James Joyce's Ulysses. For more infornation on books banned in Australia, see the Classification Board and Classification Review Board.

Perhaps more unsettling is the banning of books for political reasons. As Ray Bradbury, author of Fahreheit 451, noted "You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them."