Monday, October 1, 2012

Wordcraft -- Censored: Don't read these books!

Here’s a Monday jumpstart for our brains:

What’s the common link between Winnie-the-Pooh, The Da Vinci Code, and almost any of Jackie Collins’ steamy stories?

1) They’re all about talking animals

2) They’re nasty, filthy and disgusting

3) They’ve all been banned

Or how about this brain teaser -- find the common link between My Mom’s Having a Baby! A Kid‘s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, The Hunger Games, and Animal Farm.

1) They’re all about talking animals

2) They’re nasty, filthy and disgusting

3) They’ve all been banned

If you answered number 1), please have your eyes checked. If you answered number 2), you’ve been reading way too much Jackie Collins. (“Nasty, filthy and disgusting,” was the reported response of romance author Barbara Cartland to Collins’ first novel. Which might have been code for “she’s giving me too much competition.”) If you answered number 3) in both cases, pat yourself on the back. Because whether they were well written or badly written, all of these books have been banned somewhere, sometime.

Whatever answers you gave, welcome to Banned Books Week. It’s an annual commemoration by the American Library Association and other members of the book community, running from September 30 through October 6 this year. This is the thirtieth anniversary of Banned Books Week, and since its institution in 1982 more than 11,300 additional book challenges have occurred, according to

Even if you’d swear on a stack of Bibles (oops -- another frequently banned book) that there should be intrinsic standards about what’s worthy or unworthy to be read, consider this mental tidbit -- George Orwell’s works were at different times banned both in the Soviet Union and in the United States.

Two north Texas libraries will join dozens of others hosting displays and readings this week in support of the freedom to read.

Tuesday, October 2, from 1 - 3 p.m., the Eugene McDermott Library of the University of Texas at Dallas, 300 W. Campbell Road, Richardson, Texas, will host a “Read-Out” of notable banned or challenged books, including passages from The Lord of the Flies and In Cold Blood, from 1-3 p.m.. For additional information, see

During the entire week, the Texas Woman’s University Libraries on the Denton Campus, Denton, Texas, will feature displays of samples of banned books and of children’s and young adult books that have been banned. For information, see

And for a virtual Read-Out, see the link to a dedicated YouTube channel at

And keep reading!

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