Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is an annual event held during the last week of September. Every year I forget about it until something reminds me. This year, the reminder came in the form of an e-mail from Coliseum Books:
Greetings Book Lovers!
Starting September 24 to October 1, booksellers, librarians, authors, readers, students and other friends of free expression will participate in Banned Books Week. It was started in 1982 by the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Association, the Association of American Publishers and the National Association of College Stores to raise awareness of censorship problems in the United States and abroad. For the past 22 years, it has remained the only national celebration of the freedom to read. Book banning is nothing new. Dante’s The Divine Comedy was burned in 1497 on religious grounds. Queen Elizabeth censored parts of Shakespeare’s Tragedy of King Richard II in 1597. Jean Jacques Rosseau’s philosophical work was placed on the Roman Catholic Church’s Index of Prohibited Works in the 18th century. Click here to read a list of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression’s banned and challenged Books of 2004 – 5.
I plan to mark the week by reading and releasing Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal Dreams, which appears on the current list of banned and challenged books.
Just a gentle reminder that those of us who are able to read and write what we wish must not take this precious freedom for granted.