Yesterday marked the beginning of this year's Banned Books Week, an annual opportunity to embrace your literary rebel and fly in the face of American puritanical outrage. Celebrated since 1982, the American Library Association (ALA) uses Banned Books Week to condemn censorship and promote the freedom to read.
Hundreds of books have been censored in the United States, from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird to the J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (because it indoctrinates children into the Satanic world of witchcraft, obviously.) Last year, the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom recorded 307 challenges of books that were seen to potentially corrupt the moral fabric of this great nation. Last year's most challenged books were from Dan Pilkey's Captain Underpants series, because of the main character's shocking lack of pants. Bless Me Ultima, the beloved book by Rudolfo Anaya, was the ninth most challenged book in 2013 because some uptight people think its pages are chock full of sex and Satanism. In 2012, Curandera by San Antonio's first poet laureate Carmen Tafolla was censored by the Tuscon Unified School District alongside former San Antonio resident Sandra Cisneros' Woman Hollering Creek.
To commemorate Banned Books Week this year, students from the Literature Club and the English and women's studies programs at Texas A&M University-San Antonio will read aloud selections from various banned books on Thursday, September 25 at 2:30pm at the University Library. On Saturday, the San Antonio Readers Circle will meet at the Barnes & Noble San Pedro location to discuss one of the most iconic banned books, J.D. Salinger's A Catcher in the Rye. And the San Antonio College library is hosting "Blind Date With A Banned Book" through Thursday. Every morning the library will wrap 10 banned books for students to check-out sight unseen.
Of course, the best way to celebrate Banned Books Week is to pick up a book that's been censored and begin reading. Here's a list of the most frequently banned books from 2001 to 2013.