Did you know that the last week in September is always named "Banned Books Week" by the American Library Association? Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year:
"Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. This year, 2008, marks BBW's 27th anniversary (September 27 through October 4).
"BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.
"BBW is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, National Association of College Stores, and is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress."
Want to know more about BBW? Click here.
In honor of Banned Books Week, I'm holding a contest this week to celebrate! Because, honestly, as an author myself, I cannot imagine someone else passing judgement on my works to the extent that they decide someone else should not be able to read them.
Want to enter my contest? It's easy. Every day this week, I'm going to be blogging about a book I've read that's listed as one of the Top 100 Banned Books 1990-2000. Every comment you leave on my blog this week will earn you a contest entry. Even better: add the title of a book you've read, also from this list, and your thoughts on it, and I'll give you a second contest entry.
What can you win? A download of my novel One Night in Memphis, plus your choice from my overflowing library of gently loved books, and a really cool hand-beaded key chain (a crafty friend just hooked me up with some lovely ones).
I'll draw names randomly from all contest entries and announce 2 winners - yes, 2! - right here on Saturday, October 4th. This week, let's celebrate the wonderful freedom we enjoy to read whatever books we choose - and encourage others to continue to allow this freedom to exist!
Today's Banned Book: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
I first read this book in my 7th grade English class. We later watched the movie (starring a young Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Ralph Macchio, Matt Dillon, C. Thomas Howell., Emilio Estevez...just thinking about that cast makes me want to go out and rent the movie again). I thought - and still think - it's a terrific portrayal of teenagers trying to figure themselves out and fit in despite society and class differences keeping them down. Best of all, it was written by a 17-year old girl!
Why was it banned? Well, I'm guessing because it focused on kids from broken homes and talked about drugs and alcohol. There's also some violence and profanity. I don't remember any of that from 7th grade, though. I just remember loving the story.