Now, as some of you may know, this week is International Banned Books Week (September 27- October 3), an event I personally did not know existed; the event celebrates the freedom to read and explores the issues and controversy surrounding book challenges and book banning. Like me, you’re probably thinking ‘but in this day and age, what kind of books would be banned from being read?’. Well, sadly, there’s quite a few.
We all know of a banned book, whether it be And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, or A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess; even the Harry Potter series has been challenged, and frequently too, with people throwing them out of schools and libraries, even burning them. Is this right? Surely, as I said in a post almost half a year back, all literature has the right to be read? After all, you as a person make the choice to read it. If a book deals with themes you don’t agree with, just don’t read it. Why restrict others from the joy that is reading?
In light of this frankly brilliant event, I’m going to share with you one of my favourite books, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky. Perks, as it is often shortened to, is a #1 New York Times Bestseller, and tells the story of Charlie, who is starting High School after the suicide of his best friend, Michael, and the death of his favourite aunt, Helen; it is a coming of age story of the most sincere kind, conducted through letters from Charlie to an anonymous recipient, the reader. As a coming of age story, the narrative does deal with some mature issues, but doesn’t talk down to its audience, rather levels with them, creating that sincerity which is so intrinsic to the beauty of the book. Many of you, I know, will have read it, and will agree that it is wholly remarkable (those of you who haven’t, well, I recommend it!). Now, think about this: Perks has been on the most challenged list in the years 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2014. 2014. That’s last year.
Some literature is shocking. Some literature is controversial. Some literature is different. That is the nature of literature, it is a diverse entity. So I ask you, dear readers: read books that were previously banned. Expand your horizons. Read the world a little more.
Information in regard to dates was found in this EW article.