27 February 2007

Banned Books Challenge

I haven’t even finished one challenge and I’m already signing up for the next! I actually had plans for a Banned Books Challenge of my own, but I’ve been beaten to it (good thing I’ve got plenty of other ideas). But I’m not about to waste the books I had lined up for that, so I jumped at the chance to sign up.

I was rather impressed, reading through all the banned books resources, by the number of books I’ve read that have been deemed objectionable. There were at least two dozen that, if only I hadn’t already read them, would have been perfect. But including re-reads would feel like cheating, so I dug through the lists and my TBR box and came up with:

The Decameron - Boccaccio
Lady Chatterley’s Lover - D. H. Lawrence
The Master and Margarita - Mikhail Bulgakov
1984 - George Orwell

Extra credit:
One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest - Ken Kesey
The House of Spirits - Isabel Allende
Dracula - Bram Stoker

Four books in four months doesn’t sound like much for a confirmed bookaholic like me, but sometime before my Easter break I plan to set aside all non-challenge reading material and borrow Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell from the library, which should no doubt keep me happily occupied for the best part of a month. And considering how close a call the end of the Winter Classics Reading Challenge is set to be, I probably should err on the side of caution.

I expect this will be my favourite challenge of the year; not just for the books themselves but trying to identify what about them was considered in need of suppression, and a small but worthy act of defiance against those who would like to tell me what I can and can’t read, and what ideas are too much for me to handle.


  1. Why are banned books always so good?

  2. It's more a case of good books being banned than banned books being good; after all, there's not much danger of anyone wanting to read the bad ones!


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Header image shows detail of A Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, c. 1776