October 1, 2009

Recommendations: Classic Reads for Banned Books Week by Sharazad of The Dangerous Pages Review

I am out of the country at my sister's wedding in India with a quick stop in London on the way back! While I am gone some lovely bloggers have stopped by with guest posts! Woohoo!

Today I want to welcome Sharazad of the fabulous Dangerous Pages Review. I love her blog because I am a big fan of the un-ban. I know you are too so get your read on about some great classic banned books to check out during this year's Banned Book Weeks or anytime of the year!

Recommendations: Classic Reads for Banned Book Week

Why are books dangerous?

People who don't like to read much laugh at this idea- a stack of paper? Dangerous? Pshaw!

But there is nothing so threatening to a person as a book that challenges the way they view the world. Some people welcome such books with open arms. Others reject them out of fear.

B.B Week started in 1982 to celebrate banned, censored & challenged books. It is held in the last week of September (September 26-October 3, 2009).

My TBR pile is touching the ceiling, but I've decided to take a break from it for a little while to do some dangerous reading. This year, I've decided to read (and re-read) some classic banned books. Of the ones I'm re-reading, here's what I recommend:

On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin- Banned in Yugoslavia, Greece, Tennessee (in 1925) and the Trinity college library, this book caused a huge controversy that continues to modern times (see Scopes, Kitzmiller vs Dover etc.) because it was the first to lay out a clear theory of evolution. (Might want to read with Cliff Notes or something, I speak from experience).

Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau- Gandhi, Dr. King and many others were inspired by Thoreau. Thoreau certainly practiced what he preached. According to The Variorum Civil Disobedience by Walter Harding, anthologies containing the essay were removed from libraries at the request of Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

The Holy Bible- The Holy Bible was banned by the Soviet Union for 30 years. I would recommend reading one book of it, or just some, if you don't have time for all 66 books.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare-lust, murder, war, rape, suicide, ass-headed Bottoms- the Bard was a bawd.

Shakespeare was famously censored when Thomas Bowdler decided to make a "family friendly" version of Shakespeare, taking out all the "juicy bits". Hence, "bowdlerizing" has become another word for censorship. I suggest reading Hamlet or Macbeth as they have been banned & challenged in recent years.

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift- This book is a classic fairy tale and clearly showcases Swift's famous satirical wit. The book has been banned for a variety of reasons, one of which is public urination. You'll understand when you read it.

So, what do you plan to read for Banned Book Week?

Thanks for sharing this with us, Sharazad! I was thinking while reading your post what my favorite banned books were and I the list is long! A few: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Color Purple, The Great Gatsby, Nineteen-Eighty-Four, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, did I say a few?

Come back tomorrow for another fab guest post! See you soon!

P.S. Here are a few links to sites about banned and/or challenged books:

Banned Books Online
List of banned books on Wikipedia
Forbidden Library
American Library Association's Banned Book Week Information
Banned Books: How Schools Restrict the Reading of Young People


  1. Excellent reading list! I would like to re-read Gulliver's Travels someday.

  2. I would love to read The Great Gatsby again. It's one of the few that I have re-read, and I think I might get even more from it now.

  3. Thanks for the list. I like how you included different types of banned books and not just from one side of the spectrum - so to speak.

    Adding some of these to my wishlist.

  4. I love the irony of the Bible being a banned book. I've been looking for a banned book to read so maybe I'll read the first book -- Genesis -- and write about that. (I'm not ambitious enough to read the whole thing ... yet.)

  5. Hi, Sharazad!

    Thank you for this post. I am a supporter of Books & think Book banning is beyond wrong.

    I will be rereading... gulliver's Travels.I read my Bible so I am being a banned book rogue. lol.

    I love this quote,"But there is nothing so threatening to a person as a book that challenges the way they view the world.", Sharazad, you hit the nail. Thank you 4 the terrific post.

  6. I hate the thought of censorship and whenever anyone says you can't read this or that, I immediately seek it out!! Great post!

  7. Great post. I just read The Great Gatsby for the first time. Interesting.


Thank you for visiting! Leave a comment and share your thoughts with me!