‘Celebrate Your Freedom to Read’ – It’s Banned Books Week!

This week (September 30−October 6, 2012) is Banned Books Week! According to the ALA, Banned Books Week “brings together the entire book community–librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types–in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.” In celebrating this week, the ALA draws national attention to the harms of censorship. Check out ALA’s list of frequently challenged or banned Classics.

We’ve compiled a list of PUP books to celebrate the week. We hope you’ll share with us some of your favorite banned books!

Those Who Valued Intellectual Freedom:

Check out the Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Barbara B. Oberg, General Editor:
Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, 1786.

From The Quotable Thoreau, edited by Jeffrey S. Cramer:
“Freedom of speech! It hath not entered into your hearts to conceive what those words mean. It is not leave given me by your sect to say this or that; it is when leave is given to your sect to withdraw. The church, the state, the school, the magazine, think they are liberal and free! It is the freedom of a prison-yard. I ask only that one fourth part of my honest thoughts be spoken aloud” (98). –Written November 16, 1858, in his Journal, vol. XI, p. 324

The Story of America: Essays on Origins by Jill Lepore:
Check out the proclamations of freedom from Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, or Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in Lepore’s new history that argues that Americans have wrestled with the idea of democracy by telling stories. Here’s the Introduction.

Kierkegaard’s Writings, Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong, Series Editors:
How absurd men are! They never use the liberties they have, they demand those they do not have. They have freedom of thought, they demand freedom of speech.”– from Either/Or

The Banned:

The Fairies Return: Or, New Tales for Old, Compiled by Peter Davies, Edited and with an introduction by Maria Tatar:
According to the ALA , Grimms’ ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ was once banned because “The basket carried by Little Red Riding Hood contained a bottle of wine, which condones the use of alcohol.” Check out the Introduction to Davies’ compilation of modernist fairy tales, here.

Two Cheers for Anarchism, by James C. Scott:
Lastly, celebrate your right to rebel and read any banned book you’d like! See like an anarchist: read Scott’s Preface.

Enjoy the week, all!