Banned Books Reading

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 -
12:00pm to 1:00pm

Banned book week

Join the CCC campus for celebration of intellectual freedom. Campus and community members will read from their favorite banned books. Our readers will include campus staff and faculty, as well as members from the community. Prizes and food will be available for the audience!

Where: Towler Hall Commons, Clatsop Community College

From the American Library Association: "Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.  Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week.  BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them."

Selected readings for a celebration of Intellectual Freedom
October 3, 2012

Larry Galizio – President, Clatsop Community College
Catcher in the Rye (1951) – J.D. Salinger’s novel “has sold millions of copies, been translated into many languages, and consistently appears near the top of polls of favourite novels, alongside other key texts of American literature like F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (1925) and Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885). However, Salinger's novel has attracted controversy as well as acclaim: although popular, it has been removed from many high school reading lists for fear that its expletives, sexual content and the 'anti-social' behaviour of its protagonist may corrupt young readers.”
Graham, Sarah. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.

Peter Huhtala – Clatsop County Commissioner
Howl by Allen Ginsberg (1955) – In 1957, U.S. Customs officials seized copies of Howl in San Francisco and prohibited distribution. A court later overturned that decision and prohibition. As the publisher of the book, Lawrence Ferlinghetti stated, "It is not the poet but what he observes which is revealed as obscene. The great obscene wasters of Howl are the sad wastes of the mechanized world, lost among atom bombs and insane nationalisms." The poem appears on the list of commonly banned/challenged books.   - ACLU: Lawrence Ferlinghetti Discusses the Publication of Howl

Addy Simons-Wilson – Student, Clatsop Community College
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston (1937) – Hurston is one of the most recognized, female African American authors of the 20th century. Her story revolves around the story of a young African American woman with light skin, trying to find her place and voice in a patriarchal and racially divided world.
The “overall story Hurston tells is insightful and still relevant today. She explores gender roles and examines race in terms of its cultural construction and how ideas of race are spread. Or course, it's a coming of age story, but its more than that. Hurston stresses the power of believing in yourself and discovering your own truths. Janie triumphs over the limitations of patriarchy, race and poverty by never losing sight of who she was and what she wanted.”  - Literary Musings: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Karen Mellin – Councilor, City of Astoria (Ward 3)
Ulysses by James Joyce (1918) – This work is considered one of the most important novels of the 20th century. “James Joyce's Ulysses has been banned, bowdlerized, bootlegged, and burned. Objections to this stream-of-consciousness novel have included that the book contains ‘dirty language’ and ‘promote[s] lust.’ In 1933, its first publication in the United States came hand in hand with an obscenity trial. This legal battle substantially altered the judicial system in censorship cases. The law was expanded to include a consideration of the whole work, rather than just controversial passages. As such, the court upheld the artistic merit of Ulysses and found the ‘obscene’ parts germane to the story.”                - University of Virginia’s Censored: Wielding the Red Pen, Bowdlerized

Brenda Harper – Staff, Clatsop Community College
Nickel and Dimed, On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich (2001) – Now more than a decade old, this book is still one of the most challenged and banned books in America.  The author moves across the country, “taking the cheapest lodgings available and accepting work as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aide, and Wal-Mart salesperson. She soon discovered that even the ‘lowliest’ occupations require exhausting mental and physical efforts. And one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors.”  - Barbara Ehrenreich: Nickel and Dimed
The book has been challenged or banned, in part, for reasons including “political viewpoint.”  This is ironic considering that it’s “first-person reporting that casts capitalism in an unfavorable light would seem to be the type of political speech that Americans most highly valued, in doctrine as well as practice.” – Constitutional Law Blog: Banned Books Week: Nickel and Dimed

Deac Guidi – Faculty, Clatsop Community College
Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs (2002) – This book is written in the style of a memoir. It “is a peek into madness, the recollections of a pre-teen and teen growing up under bizarre circumstances. His father is emotionally unavailable and then completely absent.  His mother is beyond self-absorbed, when she’s not having a psychotic episode. Burroughs winds up living in the household of his mother’s psychiatrist, which is much more a web of interlocking neuroses than a family…The teenage Burroughs has the freedom many teens think they want, and the direct result is an acute awareness of his own need for adult guidance.”   - Censorship Free Libraries: Running with Scissors

The book has been banned for reasons including “homosexual and heterosexual situations, profanity, underage drinking and smoking, extreme moral shortcomings, child molesters, graphic pedophile situations and total lack of negative consequences throughout the book.”  - ALA’s Books Challenged or Banned 2010-2011

Margaret Frimoth – Staff, Clatsop Community College
And Tango Makes Three (2005) by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson/illustrated by Henry Cole
This true account that “tells the story of two male penguins parenting an egg from a mixed-sex penguin couple, tops the list of most challenged books in 2006 by parents and administrators, due to the issues of homosexuality.” It has been challenged and banned, labeled as anti-family, homosexuality, and unsuited to age group.  – And Tango Makes Three Tops ALA’s 2006 List of Most Challenged Books

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