We’re pretty much all book nerds here at SparkNotes (as are plenty of you Sparklers), so we love this time of year. Why? Because from September 26th to October 3rd, it's National Banned Book Week, which gives us a chance to feel like dangerous political rebels instead of pale, bespectacled shut-ins.
How can you celebrate? Pick up one of the hundreds of great books out there that somebody has tried to ban, like 1984 or James and the Giant Peach. And as you're reading, try to figure out why in the world these books were/are considered incendiary. We have a few guesses:
1984 (George Orwell) – Banned by people tired of hearing that things are “just like in 1984, man."
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain) – Banned by the students in Mr. Kenmore’s 9th grade English class, who hated the stupid essay questions he wrote for it.
And Tango Makes Three (Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson) – Banned for controversial depictions of male penguin nudity.
As I Lay Dying (William Faulkner) – Banned as a precaution until someone can explain just what exactly is going on throughout the story.
Brave New World (Aldous Huxley) – Prohibited reading for Betas, who shouldn’t have to work so hard.
Carrie (Stephen King) - Banned in the '70s after it inspired scores of unhappy students to develop powerful telekinetic abilities and ruin proms all across America.
The Giver (Lois Lowry) – Banned because we’re waiting for the movie version in 2011.
The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald) – Banned because of its corrupting influence on youth (the novel turns them into fashionable 1920s-era bootleggers).
Harry Potter Series (J.K. Rowling) – Banned because your local congressperson is a Slytherin.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou) - Banned by embarrassed ornithologists who failed to recognize the book’s title as a metaphor.
James and the Giant Peach (Roald Dahl) – Banned for its depiction of James’s horrible aunts, because real-life adults are never mean or cruel to kids. Never.
Naked Lunch (William S. Burroughs) – Banned for just about every conceivable reason a book might be banned.
Slaughterhouse-Five (Kurt Vonnegut) – Banned because teachers never let you do anything cool.
Do you think books should ever be banned? Have any of your favorite books been banned somewhere?