Thursday, September 23, 2010

Flashback Friday: Banned Books Week

Welcome to Week Twenty-One of Flashback Fridays where the old and new collide on everything from books to movies to first loves to favorite vacations. This week we're discussing banned books for Banned Books Week.

Catcher in the Rye, The Diary of Anne Frank, Of Mice and Men, The Wizard of Oz, Forever...all of these are banned books. What are your favorite or treasured banned books? Want to know if yours is on a banned or challenged list? Then check out ALA'S list.

The most treasured banned book for me has to be To Kill a Mockingbird. My first experience with TKAM came in 8th grade when I first read the novel. Sure, I didn't gain the literary appreciation for it then, but I do remember loving the characters, feeling the
injustice of what happened to Tom Robinson, and sympathizing with Boo Radley. I also remember the culminating project I did: a Southern cookbook filled with TKAM inspired recipes(I'll admit
my Grammy, a master of Southern cooking, helped me a bit!)

The next time I read TKAM was in my second undergrad when I was adding a teaching degree to my English degree. It was then that I truly grasped the full mastery that is the book.

I got to teach TKAM for the first time the following year. I remember feeling the responsibility of covering not only all the
beautiful figurative language, the themes, etc, but to truly convey the character's triumphs and tragedies. I taught TKAM for five years. The first year I moved up to high school, I was saddened to not be teaching it anymore. I haven't read it in awhile, and I plan on rereading it soon.
Each time I do, I find some other literary gem within its pages or some turn of a phrase that I, as a writer, marvel at. The film adaptation, though considerably different, stands alone in its mastery. The very final scene of "Neighbors bring food and flowers with death...." has me weeping every time, especially since it is adult Scout reflecting back, and you realize when she thinks of Atticus, he is probably deceased, and of Boo Radley(I'm seriously choking up right now!)!!!!

When I started out writing, I began with a Southern Literary Fiction--very much inspir
ed by TKAM as well as Fried Green Tomatoes at the WhistleStop Cafe and Cold Sassy Tree. I have a Southern YA Historical that's itching to be written....not sure when it will happen though.

So, want to support Banned Books week besides buying or reading banned books? How about sporting some Banned Books jewelry? I have the Banned Books Bracelet myself!

Cafe Press has some awesome Banned Books posters for sale.

Or you can go to ABFFE or the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression for some downloadable posters.

Now it's your turn. Tell us what your favorite Banned Book is and why?
*Congrats to Sammi for winning Gotya's copy of Speak. Email to redeem it!


Becca said...

My favorite banned book is A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. Set aside the foul language (even in the made up language of Nadsat) and the violence, it's really a book about ethics and whether it's right or wrong to take away a person's free will, even if it stops that person from doing bad things.

Brandi said...

I had no idea so many of the books that I read as a teenager are now on the banned/challenged list. "The Lord of the Flies", "To Kill a Mockingbird", and "Brave New World" just to name a few books that stand out in my mind to this day. I'm positive I had to read each of those books twice because I switched school districts as a teenager, and what I read one year I had to read again at the other school in the next year. How do books go from mandatory reading as a part of our education to being banned or challenged? I will introduce my kids to these books as soon as they are age appropriate.

Amie Kaufman said...

I agree, I'm so surprised some of the books I read as a kid are banned. Lord of the Flies shocked me and I found it incredibly thought provoking -- is that really the sort of thing we want to take away from people?

Anonymous said...

This was hard, since I love so many on the list--I wanted to choose at least four. I'll pick Lord of the Flies since it realistically shows how kids would act minus adults and rules. It's creepy and dark, and I have fond memories of curling up with it. I'm willing to read it for a third time.

Krista Ashe said...

Becca, I've never read Clockwork Orange before. I saw the film though, and you're right about the violence, but I totally agree with what you mean about taking away a person's free will.

Krista Ashe said...

Amie and Medeia,

I can't believe they would want to take away Lord of the Flies. I hadn't actually read it until two years ago when I taught it to my Freshman. Sure, there was some violence, but nothing that would merit it needing to be banned. I think it is a very thought provoking book about whta would happen to kids when there are no adults. I also think it's a commentary on society at large as well.

I think it is brilliant in its symbolism and figurative language a well. Great book that shouldn't be challenged or banned.

Krista Ashe said...

Brandi, I couldn't agree more. I know that I would always want my future children reading books that might be "challenged" or "banned", especially at a young age before they watch some of the crap on television or hear some of the crap on the radio, lol. It's amazing how many great pieces of literature are on that list. It makes you wonder what kind of warped minds sit around and debate what is wrong with it.