Banned Books & Book Lovers Day

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Summer is a great time for people to catch up on the reading lists that have been neglected during the school year. With no classes to worry about or homework to do on the weekends, students can spend more time embracing the joy of reading.

The end of summer gives students several reasons to keep reading, even after they’ve gotten into that back-to-school mindset. One of these reasons is National Book Lovers Day, celebrated on Aug. 9. This is a day for book lovers everywhere to put off all of their normal responsibilities and curl up with some coffee or tea and a good book.

By August, the hottest days of the summer are usually over, and being outside is enjoyable again. Taking a book outside can be a great way to catch up on some reading while catching some rays. Paige Gebhardt, a junior geography major, is one of the many people who likes to read outdoors when she can.

“I like to read when there is fresh air, like a screen door open or on a balcony,” she said. “My screened-in porch at my home is my favorite. There are no bugs.”

One of the reasons people love reading so much is that they can essentially live a different life through the pages of a book. Books allow readers to travel to different places or times and experience something new.

“I love how books let you have a different perspective on the world. Each one opens your mind to something new that you didn’t know about,” said Gebhardt. “It’s like an experience that you don’t have to personally have.”

Another book-themed celebration approaching as the school year starts is Banned Books Week. This is a week that typically takes place during the last week of September that celebrates the freedom to read. This year, Banned Books Week will be celebrated from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1.

Banned Books Week began as a way to raise awareness about books that have been challenged by schools, libraries and bookstores. Many of these books are banned for being sexually explicit, using offensive language or being unsuited to an age group. Books that contain this kind of information are usually challenged in order to protect people, most notably children, from difficult ideas, information and themes. But reading these books introduces readers to a wide spectrum of unique themes and ideas that they might not be able to find in other books.

Below is a list of some of the most commonly banned books according to the American Library Association.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

This is a book about a young Native American boy who leaves his reservation to go to an all-white school in one of the neighboring towns. This book has been challenged and banned for cultural insensitivity, use of drugs and alcohol, being sexually explicit and containing depictions of bullying.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis tells the story of a young girl through her childhood and young adult years in Iran during and after the Islamic Revolution. This book has been banned and challenged for its use of offensive language, graphic depictions and its political viewpoints.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

This book tells the story of a young boy in a district of Kabul during the fall of the Afghanistan monarchy and the rise of the Taliban regime. The Kite Runner has been banned for offensive language, violence and themes that are unsuitable for the age group.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower tells the story of Charlie, an introverted high school freshman, who befriends two seniors who welcome him into the real world. This book has been banned for themes of homosexuality, its use of drugs and alcohol and sexually explicit content.

A Life Stolen by Jaycee Dugard

This is the real-life story of Jaycee Dugard and her life in captivity. She was kidnapped when she was 11 years old, and was held against her will for 18 years. This book has been banned and challenged for being sexually explicit, using offensive language and its use of drugs and alcohol.

Although these books have been banned, they are still worth reading. They contain valuable themes and lessons that would be lost if no one read them. Mature readers are generally more understanding of the themes presented in these books and will be able to use what they read to shape their thinking and ideas in a positive way.

Adding a banned book to your end-of-the-summer reading list could introduce you to your new favorite book. And who knows? You could end up finding the book you’ll be reading on every National Book Lovers Day in the years to come.

 

Rachael Farwell is a junior studying professional writing with a specialization in editing and publishing. She hopes to one day work as an editor in New York City while living in a shoebox apartment. In her free time, she loves reading, writing, and cuddling with her fat cat.

 

Tags: September 2016