Banned Books Week – Pt. 1: On The Practice Of Banning Books.

Banned Books Week is an annual event hosted by the American Library Association to celebrate the freedom to read and to spread awareness about censorship efforts affecting schools and libraries across the United States.


Libraries and schools very frequently receive formal complaints asking for a removal of all sorts of books in their inventory or on their curriculum. The ALA collects reports of those so-called “challenges” and uses the data to compile a list of frequently challenged books every year.

Of course, by far not all challenges are reported. A much bigger part goes unnoticed and without any protest, the challenged books quietly disappear from the shelves.

With Banned Books Week, the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom aims to draw attention to this practice and to highlight the books in question, thereby helping to protect the freedom to choose what we read.

Before ever looking at a list of banned or frequently challenged books, one might wonder about the kind of obscure books one would find there and what kind of atrocities these books contain to warrant being banned.
It would come as a surprise then, that these lists are full of beloved classics, children’s books and recent bestsellers like Fifty Shades Of Grey (okay, that one probably does not really come as a surprise :D).

Other frequently challenged titles include:


Banned Books Week might be hosted by an American association, but that doesn’t mean the issue is confined to the USA. Even in our modern day and age, every country has some form of restrictions in place in regards to books. Censorship is a global issue. The right to read is worth fighting for in any country.
So wherever you are from, I encourage you to participate in this event.

You can participate in any way you choose – by participating in the readathon or the Virtual Read-Out, simply reading a banned book for yourself this week, show banned books you have already read… there’s a seemingly infinite amount of options!
Personally, I will use this week to discuss different aspects of book banning and the reasons for book banning in particular in a series of blog posts starting tomorrow. Keep an eye out!


Have you heard of Banned Books Week? Will you participate in it? Have you read books that have been banned or are frequently challenged? 


49 thoughts on “Banned Books Week – Pt. 1: On The Practice Of Banning Books.

  1. I’m so glad I’m not the only one talking about challenged and banned books this week! Personally, I read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and Slaugtherhouse-Five as my banned books for this month. You can find the three posts I’ve done on Banned Books week here, if you haven’t seen them already:
    I look forward to reading the rest of your series, M!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Me too! It’s such an important issue. I have The Great Gatsby on my tbr for this month, but I’m so swamped with other things right now that I’m not sure I will get to it – one of those things is writing a paper about another banned book though (The Catcher in the Rye), so maybe that counts 😀 I will go read your posts now 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Writing a paper about Catcher totally counts. what matters is not that you are reading a ton of banned books this week/month, but that you are doing it all the time. I’ve started tagging my blog posts for banned books so I can easily collect all those reviews together in the future. I’m shocked at how many banned books I’ve read. Mostly because I’m shocked at why books are banned.


      • Yay 😀 And yes, I agree. When you think about it though, it’s really not surprising that you have read so many banned books considering how many classics, books that are aften read in school and recent bestsellers are on the lists of banned books! I’m willing to bet that pretty much everyone has read banned books. But yes, the reasons for which books are banned in the first place are all absurd – especially in this day and age!


  2. Looking forward to seeing more of your posts about banned book week. I hadn’t heard of it until this year as I live in Australia and I’m not sure we have a week or anything dedicated to banned books. I also find this hilarious as for me To Kill a Mockingbird was a book that we HAD to read for our English class in senior! Crazy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad to hear that! 🙂 Maybe you even want to join in and participate? 🙂 I’d be really happy about that!
      Banned Books Week might be hosted by an American Association working with American data, but even in our modern day and age, EVERY country in the world has some kind of censorship in place in regards to books. After doing extensive research on book banning yesterday and today, I can now tell you that Australia has some restrictions in place for American Psycho for example and The Anarchist Cookbook is banned in Australia (and looooots of other countries) – and that’s just one of multiple examples as well. So I think Banned Books Week is definitely an event for everyone anywhere (even if it’s American-hosted) – this IS a universal issue and an important one at that.
      By the way – I had to read To Kill A Mockingbird in high school as well 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      • Absolutely, I was going to participate in the Banned Book-a-thon but at the moment I just don’t have the time between work and studying and I’m also trying to get through a series.. so I won’t be participating. However, I have already read a few books that have been banned or challenged and I have a fair few more already on my TBR list, so I hope to get to them soon!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Can’t wait to read your posts! It’s sometimes pretty shocking seeing what books have been banned and for what reasons. There are some books that I think I know why they were banned and it turns out it was for a completely different reason and I’m left pretty surprised. I think my favorite will always be Harry Potter being banned because of references to witchcraft. I can’t help it – the idea of people fearing witchcraft in the 21st century is hilarious to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve read a ton of books on the banned list. Simon and Schuster sent me an email about it today. I didn’t realize it was this week until I saw the email. The Catcher in the Rye is amazing! I love Holden Caulfield! He will forever be one of my favorite characters. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s awesome! In the end, I’m sure pretty much everyone has read at least one banned book before. Lots of banned books are frequently part of school curriculums after all, which isn’t surprising with the large number of classics appearing on banned books lists and even children’s books and recent popular literature are well represented there!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! Even though this topic is something that makes me want to… you know, head, wall, bang! 😀 I just can’t comprehend banning books… How about they go and ban something that really is worth banning? Like sonars, this stupid financial system which if you look at the overall picture is like a violation of human rights, how about banning war? Or, lets ban the untrustworthy media? List goes on… banning books is ridiculous!
    Look forward to reading more from you on this topic!
    PS! I loved Catcher in the Rye!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m definitely participating in Banned Books Week. On Sunday I did a post giving people alternatives to attempting to ban books (it was snarky.). Today my TTT was about books banned for stupid reasons. Tomorrow will be on Badly Behaved Books (that all share a second common theme.)

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Oh, what a delightful topic to pay attention to! 🙂 I’m pretty swamped this week, but I might do a virtual reading of Fifty Shades to participate! And so everyone can mock my accent ;).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. They really hate books with the “n-word” in them…probably hence The Color Purple…though it’s a part of history, not trying to be racist. Huck Finn used to be a big one.
    I didn’t know about The Perks of Being A Wallflower…wth is wrong with that in their eyes??

    Liked by 1 person

      • Ugh. They are already in our real world…why get rid of books that discuss or use characters that are homosexual? ::sighs::
        It’s like people wish they didn’t exist…can’t sweep a whole group of people under the rug! They’re here! They aren’t aliens…they are people like you and me who just happen to like the same gender instead of the opposite one…omg! The horror! 🤔 Smh.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I know! And it’s like that with most banned books. There are lots of things that some people wish didn’t exist or things they want to be swept under the rug. If it’s not groups of people they want to erase, it’s ugly chapters in history or ugly truths from our reality or just things that they are so uncomfortable with that they wish to not have them mentioned anywhere.


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