I will be celebrating Banned Books Week in honor of my own experience of book-banning.
The summer before my junior year of high school, our summer reading list included One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey and Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. There were others, but those are the two I remember most vividly. Why do I remember them? Because when we returned to school my junior year I found out they had been removed from the summer reading list. It seems that my best friend’s mother challenged their inclusion on the reading list because of coarse language. She didn’t want her daughter reading those books, and she didn’t think they were appropriate for anyone else to read, either. The interesting thing about all of this is that 1) my best friend had one of the world’s foulest mouths when her mother wasn’t around and 2) those books weren’t required reading. They were two amongst several that we had to choose from.
In an effort to keep the peace between my best friend, her mother, and my mother, I chose other books to read. As a result, I have never read either One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest or Slaughterhouse Five, both of which have been challenged and banned on numerous occasions all over the country. I originally considered reading Catcher in the Rye to celebrate Banned Books Week, but thought better of it and decided to read one of the two that I didn't have the opportunity to read lo those many years ago.
The ALA has a list of The Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2005 and the Most Challenged Books of the 21st Century, as well as the opportunity to vote for your favorite banned books. My mom also sent me this great article from her newspaper.(Shout out to my mom for inspiring this post).