This week is Banned Books Week. I wrote about Banned Books Week last year at the beginning of the event, but this is an important enough to write about twice. I was lucky; my parents never tried to censor what I read; they actually encouraged my love of books growing up. It was just as well; my brother disliked books and reading, so they were probably glad to have a child who liked such things, even though they weren’t literary types themselves. It kept me out of dangerous trouble. The imagination is dangerous place, after all.
My personal theme theme this week is books I should have read in high school but didn’t. By this I mean books that are often found on high school reading lists but a) weren’t on mine, and b) I didn’t read for pleasure. Both of these books were on the AP English reading list that my honors English teacher freshman year passed out to us; if I tossed the list, it was within the past year. Both of these are modern (written in the 20th century), short, and culturally relevant, so I have no excuse besides laziness for not having read them before now.
The reads for this week? Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I haven’t read either one yet but should have. When my brother saw that I had checked the two books out of the library, he said, “Isn’t Fahrenheit 451 the book-burning book?”
“Yes,” I replied.
Turns out that he read that in high school. Even though we were both in honors classes, he had different English teachers after the first year, so I wasn’t surprised at the different book choices. He tried to remember what Slaughterhouse-Five was about but couldn’t. I enjoyed the ten literary seconds while I could.
What are you doing for Banned Books Week? Reading anything interesting? This handy questionnaire can help you narrow down a choice if you’re undecided.