Banned Books Week

This week is Banned Books Week in the US. I look over the list of frequently challenged books every year just to count how many of them I’ve read. While the answer is never as high as I’d like (I’m ashamed to say that I have read none of the ten most frequently challenged books of 2008), the lists are nevertheless interesting for the variety and the shock value. Seeing some of my childhood favorites on the list and remembering no major shock nor failed attempts from adults to “wait until you’re older” is a surprise every year.

This year the list of banned and challenged classics interests me. At least 42 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course’s 100 best novels of the 20th century have been challenged or banned. If these are in a particular order, then there appears to be a correlation between rank and challenge. If there were a way to obtain the number of challenges a given book has obtained, then one could see if there does exist a positive correlation. For now, though, all we can say is that it is possible.

My book of the week is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, which didn’t make the top ten list of frequently challenged books until 2008, five years after its 2003 release. I don’t know if it was challenged before 2008, but my guess is that the release of the movie gave the book more attention. A review will come after finishing.

If you’re having problems deciding what frequently challenged book you should read this week, let Hunch, a decision-making website, decide for you with this handy questionnaire. My top three were Brave New World, Animal Farm, and To Kill a Mockingbird, all of which are already favorites.

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