Sunday, November 15, 2015

Banned Books Week

Because I’m an Australian, I’ve always found Banned Books Week rather a head-scratching experience. Yes, books do get challenged and even banned in Australia, but almost invariably there’s a logical reason for it, such as age-inappropriate content.
Australia has rarely suffered the kind of wholesale banning of a title that some other countries introduce.

Out of a list of Banned Classics in the USA, the following books were on my compulsory reading list at High School. “The Lord of the Flies” we actually read in Seventh Grade!

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
48. Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
64. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
75. Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence

The Harry Potter books were the most challenged books in America from 2000-2009. I can recall people saying that the first Harry Potter book would “lead a generation of children astray”. But I would have thought that nine years later people would have realized that hadn’t happened. Apparently not if the books were still the #1 request to be banned.

One book that has been banned in Australia was Kathleen Winsor’s bodice ripper, “Forever Amber”. She was only twenty-four when the book was published. The book has more than nine hundred pages and I read it as a young teenager, entranced by the character of Amber and the rich historical tapestry of the background. Fortunately by then it was no longer banned. It’s still a story worth reading.

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

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