Banned Books Week

01 Oct

Welcome to banned books week, the week where there is an absolute free for all on making readers aware of all those books banned or challenged because of differing or unorthodox viewpoints.

Whilst aimed at ensuring the right of any person to have equal access to unpopular or unorthodox literature and viewpoints, it also gives the chance for sane and productive reasoning and argument of the material whilst allowing ideas to be gleaned from the source. Without such dialogue it becomes corrosive not just for young people but for society also.

There is a wider sense of scale to the week though, as internationally it seeks to focus on countries such as North Korea, Azerbaijan,  Myanmar etc, where individuals are persecuted for their writings.

The most (modern) extreme censorship that comes to mind though, would have to be the Nazis and their book burning and also that dude in America who spent his time burning the Koran. Tantalizingly literature has its own reflective examples of book burnings, the ones that come to mind most readily for me being in Farenheit 451,  The Name of the Rose and the ‘memory hole’ alluded to in 1984.  It’s a bibliophile’s nightmare.

For western countries it poses the question is there any such thing as banned literature anymore, since the advent of the internet, access to anything is virtually guaranteed?  Anything that is to severely censored gets driven underground and written about in abstract terms for the ‘initiated’, now I don’t want to get all freemason on you here so I will recommend a fantastic book called Europe Without Walls, which features a collection of essays on art, pre and post Berlin wall and explains the veiled implications of the various movements to educate in such fraught times.

As for myself I think I will focus on the old skool banned novels of the Soviet Union, they always seem to have a ridiculously epic nature about them, so the ones I own and need to get around to reading consist of The First Circle and The Gulag Archipelago both by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Master and the Margarita – Mikhail Bulgarov,  Dr Zhivago – Boris Pasternak and Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman.  There may be more inhabiting my to read pile, but this is more than enough to begin with.


Posted by on 01/10/2012 in Fiction, Journalism


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15 responses to “Banned Books Week

  1. Bumba

    01/10/2012 at 16:04

    I think of Henry Miller, D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce. All that sexy stuff.


    • StetotheJ

      01/10/2012 at 16:08

      I haven’t read any of that smut, lol. I think I may have missed out, in a wholly literary sense of course.


      • Bumba

        01/10/2012 at 17:13

        I thought Lady Chatterly’s Lover was great, maybe his best. And Miller is hypnotic.


        • StetotheJ

          02/10/2012 at 17:54

          I shall have to ‘get involved’ as soon as my bank balance allows.


          • Bumba

            02/10/2012 at 20:35

            Say, I have another book – for you to review? One Life or The Lives of Chester Knowles by yours truly.
            As for your bank balance, don’t they have public libraries in Great Britain?


            • StetotheJ

              06/10/2012 at 14:29

              Libraries? Ah you mean social learning centres, where lots of books are removed to make way for computers, so kids can learn to skim read and such. They are in a terrible state over here…and the libraries, Ha! I amuse myself. If I get my hands on your book at any time i will certainly give it a review.


              • Bumba

                06/10/2012 at 16:23

                I’m printing up copies of my second book the One Life (soon!). I have copies of the first book, tho, which I’ll be happy to mail to you


                • StetotheJ

                  07/10/2012 at 12:11

                  Well due to my integrity as a reviewer, I’d definitely be up for reading and reviewing your work.


  2. pennycoho

    06/10/2012 at 15:29

    Hello again, you make things most interesting for your readers don’t you (referencing above comments and commenter)? I agree pretty much with all you said however, It is chilling to think that could happen for real, the truth is, I don’t think it really could, not fully, not completely. There will always be people like us who keep on keeping on with our love of books.


    • StetotheJ

      07/10/2012 at 12:40

      I do like to intrigue and interest, having said that my quest to find out where you live and appear on your doorsteps, (preferably around meal times) and invite myself in has been shot down by people who know better. I’d hate to come over as TOO stalkerish. I think we do a darn good job of flying the flag for books. Essentially we are the only thing between books and obliteration, not that I like to brag, I’m to humble for that.


  3. pennycoho

    07/10/2012 at 15:42

    I agree with you on behalf of all the readers everywhere, having said that of course there are a special few “like us of course” who truly do encourage people to “bookmark” their days with the written book now and then (lol). Oh directions to my place, piece of cake…second star to the right -straight on ‘tll morning. That’s where I usually am Ste J…:)


    • StetotheJ

      08/10/2012 at 15:12

      I love Peter Pan!!! Such a finely imagined world and one that always so much scope for ones own stories. Bookmark that was great, you have to have a lot of front(ispiece) to get away with that.


  4. pennycoho

    08/10/2012 at 15:28

    I think perhaps I resemble that remark! 🙂


  5. aliceatwonderland

    09/10/2012 at 05:57

    You’ll have to check out my post on Banned Books Week if you haven’t already – it’s under the Crazy Librarians tab, I think. The American Library Association prints a list of the most banned books each year (in schools and libraries, etc). It’s unreal the stuff that gets put on it. One of them, I kid you not, was about gay penguins. Also someone wanted to ban Anne Frank because it was a “downer”. You can’t make this stuff up.


    • StetotheJ

      09/10/2012 at 18:33

      i checked it out. I think you should be writing more, you always amuse with your posts. I think political correctness has gone a bit insane these past few years. A few from our schools which also make you cringe, kids have to say bruised cloud as black could be seen as racist. White cloud is acceptable though and there has to be alternation between baa baa black sheep and baa baa white sheep presumably to avoid institutional racism.



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