“Read Everything”: It’s Banned Books Week

“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window”.–William Faulkner

banned books bar 2013

Bibliophiles unite! September 22 through 28 is Banned Books Week. It was launched in 1982 to celebrate our freedom to read while highlighting efforts to censor reading material. Every year there are hundreds of attempts to remove books from schools and libraries or to restrict access to those books. Now you know 2 Dope Sistahs love to read, so we’re sharing our thoughts on two books that are frequently banned.

Da Realist 1

Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 1885

Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 1885

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn tells the story of two runaways–Huckleberry Finn, a teenage boy, and Jim, a slave. I did not read this book while I was in school, possibly because it was banned from the curriculum. Indeed, it is one of the most challenged books of all time. In 2011, I found out that there was going to be a new, sanitized version of the classic novel, and this inspired me to read the original. This edition, ironically published by New South Books, removed offensive words like “Injun” and “nigger” and substituted contemporary terms that are more appropriate. But Huckleberry Finn is a nineteenth-century novel, not a contemporary novel. While I found the more than 200 uses of “nigger” to be excessive, changing the words removes the author’s intent.

Da Hype 1

The Catcher and the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher and the Rye by J.D. Salinger

I was assigned to read J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye in high school. Although I cannot remember too much about the novel, I do remember being excited about reading a book with a protagonist about my age. The protagonist, Holden Caulfield, contemplates his sexuality, smokes cigarettes, and curses–all of the activities that challenge teenagers past and present, making this novel timeless.

For more information on Banned Books Week, click here.

To find out if your favorite book has been banned, click here.

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