Monday, September 20, 2010

Reading Rainbow: Banned Books Week Edition

It's Banned Books Week starting September 25th and we're ready to celebrate here at Whim Fic with a giveaway! But first, Leigh and I thought it would be fun to recommend our favorite banned books for today's Reading Rainbow.

My favorite, hands down, is Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I'm kind of in love with Vonnegut - I'd say he was my first literary crush. I'm completely serious when I tell you that I had to pull over and cry when I heard he died. His books mean that much to me. I've read almost everything he's ever written, but Slaughterhouse Five is one of my favorites. It's a brilliant book.

The Banned Books List I found here on the ALA's site is practically a guide for where to find GOOD books! I love many of them, but I think one of my favorites is A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. This was really the first Urban Fantasy I ever read, before I even knew there was a distinction. I was blown away by the idea that there could be mysterious worlds not hidden by doors in cupboards, but by time itself. It cemented my love for science fiction and fantasy, spoke to the awkward girl I was at the time, and reassured me that there was magic - in some form - waiting for me.

PhotobucketThere are so many great books on the banned books list it was hard to narrow it down to one book. I have to go with To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Atticus Finch was probably my first literary crush and the story still sticks to me to this very day. I might even go so far as to say this book influenced me in such a way that I am a better person for having read it. To Kill a Mockingbird reminds us all to be decent and kind humans and to always do the right thing. So yeah, I can totally see how this book ended up on the banned books list.*rolls eyes*

So there you have it. We've shared ours and now you must share yours. Why? Because you could win fabulous prizes! First, to honor Laurie Halse Anderson's book Speak, we are giving away a copy of the award-winning book. And, I promise to read it too (I'll order my copy when I order the winner's copy). In case you haven't yet heard about the #SpeakLoudly campaign, please go read Laurie Halse Anderson's blog post about her book being the recent target of this guy. Also, don't miss Myra McEntire's response at her blog - it's worth the read (I was in tears). Leigh has also written a wonderful post on parenting and censorship at her writing blog, so be sure to check that out as well!

We'll also be giving away a Whimsical Fic-ery tee that was inspired by this post.

It's pretty fantastic. Leigh even wore hers at the Decatur Book Fair!

Okay, so to enter the give-away just follow these steps:
1. Leave a comment with your favorite banned book in the comments section of this post. Feel free to tell us why it's your favorite (because we like it when you're wordy). That will give you one entry and make you eligible for an extra entry (see #2).
2. If (and only if) you have left a comment with your favorite banned book, then you are eligible for one extra entry by tweeting about this post and the giveaway. But you must link to your tweet in a SEPARATE comment in the comments section.
3. Do all of this before Friday! We'll pick a winner and announce on Saturday. Good luck!

And, sadly, this is only open to US residents. I hate to even say it. Don't be mad. Please?

(And if you already own Speak, we can send you a different banned book instead. Don't worry - we're flexible. And whimsical.)



  1. You named it for me: A Wrinkle in Time. I cried tears of rage when I found out this book had been challenged and banned because it was so spiritually important for me. And when I found out that the part of the book that truly enlarged my soul (the part where the Witches tell Meg and Calvin that there have been MANY fighters against IT on Earth--including, but not limited to Jesus), I thought, the banners SHOULD be very afraid. Because this kind of thought extends and expands and opens, and their kind of thought limits and narrows and slams things shut.

  2. I must admit that I've never paid much attention to the banned book list, even though, I know I should. I looked today, and it REALLY is the place to find books to read! The books I've read, I've loved. And the ones I haven't, I've really wanted to and just haven't (Sorry Slaughterhouse've been on my list for years and our copy got lost somewhere-I promise to get back to you!).

    But, my favorite on the list is Catch 22. Yossarian is one of my all time favorite literary characters. I'll think of him randomly and smile. He's just trouble. And he doesn't have an internal editor-so if a thought comes in his head, he says it, including his fears. Which, is kind of fearless.
    I also love the way it reads--it's not an easy read, but it's fun to read. The concept of Catch 22, or circular logic, is throughout-and the story has this depth and commentary on bureaucracies and war etc--but, on the flip side-it's just an interesting story that is really very funny and then dark. If you want to just read it for the story, you can! If you want to read it and think about it and unwind the Catch 22's, you can! I read it well after school was over and it was on my list of, "how did I miss this one again?" It wasn't because it was banned, just, somehow I didn't take the class that covered it. I'm glad I finally picked it up. It is now one of my all time favorites.

    Thanks for doing this point - I think I take it for granted sometimes that books such as these get banned. And, I shouldn't because Fahrenheit 451 (a close second to Catch 22 from the list) is about banning books-and I had nightmares about it every night that I read it-I shoudl be more aware.What's happening with Speak is just outrageous and sad and I probably wouldn't have known about it if it wasn't for you ladies--so thank youf or the awareness!

  3. Well my book is
    "Not without my daughter"
    I think its a major issue and that the book turned into a movie brings it out to the public eyes and should be read because of the fact that this does happen to woman and children in all countries. As a mom I can completely understand this book and the length I would go to protect my children!
    Great book.


  5. : In honor of banned books week, Whimsical Fic-ery is sharing their favorite banned books & having a give-away!

    I'm not entirely sure if this is what you meant for the twitter link? I'm not entirely sure how to do that either?

  6. Wow! Thank you for this post.

    I remember many years ago in my senior year of high school, I found out about banned books. I was stunned when I heard about people in the United States had denied readers certain stories. I kept thinking about this country being based on certain freedoms and didn't understand why we not given the choice.

    What shocked me more were the books featured on that list because a few of them were required reading for the school year. This included Lord of the Flies, Brave New World, and Animal Farm. I was in a conservative high school that always walked a fine line with what was taught.

    Personally, I enjoyed all three of those books because they each gave me food for thought about different aspects of humanity and the choices made by the characters. These books helped me as a person who was on the verge on adulthood in learning about the type of person I wanted to be. How my actions and choices affected others. I am grateful that the teachers who assigned them were open-minded people.

    Now, I had read banned books before these, as I had a great love for Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A Wrinkle in Time, and How to Eat Fried Worms, but I had no idea they were considered "bad".

    So where am I now? I'm of the belief that people should be given the right to choose for themselves what the content of a book means to them. The moment you put some sort of stigma on it that says "this is wrong" in a major way, you are enforcing your personal beliefs on another.

    I'd rather someone let me discover the content of the story for myself or give me a warning if they really have to.

  7. Sherman Alexie's "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" is my absolute favorite book of all time and sadly also my favorite frequently challenged/banned book. The story is so touching (I cry both out of happiness and sadness), Alexie's writing is brilliant, it's a happy balance between goofy and serious, and Junior is the coolest kid.

  8. Wow. Favorite banned book? I honestly have no idea - I love so many of them! But I guess I'd have to agree with Stacie's choice of Slaughterhouse Five! My mom's English professor was close friends with Vonnegut, so she ended up passing most of her copies of his work to me; which I promptly devoured. I'm a big fan of WWII history and sci-fi, as well as dry senses of humor, so it's really the perfect book for me! =)

    The irony of book banners is that they tend to bring even more attention to the books they try to ban. For example, after this whole Wesley Scroggins fiasco, I will be trying my hardest to get my hands on a copy of SPEAK and TWENTY BOY SUMMER. (In fact, a friend has already agreed to lend me her copy of SPEAK!)

    Thank you for this contest. Let's all show book banners that you can't keep a good book down!

  9. My Twitter post:

  10. My favorite banned book will be SPEAK. I loved this book because it has a good message and it tells kids of multiple ages that if they are in a certain situation that they can take a stand and do something about it. It makes it ok to tell. This book was actually suggested to me as a book to read in english by my teacher. Speak tells kids to speak up and dont let others make you feel wrong for telling the truth.
    My mom "Nikki" told me they were banning this book and i am instantly pissed. Im 14 and I love this book.

  11. Oh dont know if you need an email but you can email me at

  12. My favorite banned book is the Harry Potter series. It's a good story, and I love that it got a lot of kids to read more.
    amandarwest at gmaildotcom

  13. Tweeted

  14. I am proud of my high school english teachers who appeared to have used the banned books list as our reading list.
    I would pick the handmaid's tale by Margaret Atwood. I would have picked John Irving's Cider House Rules, but it appears it has not been read by book-banners and is not on the list. Otherwise I am sure the sex and abortion themes would be enough to get it banned.
    When do I win the rockin' shirt?

  15. i cannot believe the list of books that are banned each year! it drives me bananas! i have to say that it's a toss up between to kill a mockingbird and lord of the flies-both incredible books that i think EVERYONE should read!!!!! you have no clue how many of these i have gifted-both intelligent books that make you think about perspectives on life.

    thanks for sharing everyone :) i added a bunch to my to-read list!


  16. I think my all time favorite is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I STILL can't believe it would be banned. I loved Leigh's post and agree 100%. If people don't wish for their kids to read the books, don't let them. But if I think my kids are mature and capable to read it (and if they want to of course) they are going to be able read it.

    Love the t-shirt, cute :)

  17. twitter post -

  18. I'd have to say my favorite banned book is the dictionary, there have been 2 editions that have been banned by schools. And who of us didn't read Are You There God, It's Me Margaret


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