Freedom to Read,  Librarianship

Freedom to Read

It’s that time of year again! Freedom to Read Week is February 21-27, 2016. If you’re unfamiliar with FRW, it’s Canada’s week to celebrate and bring awareness to banned and challenged books, and to discuss the dangers of censorship (pretty much the same as the American Banned Books Week that takes place in the fall).

This is an important issue to me, as a writer, a librarian, a reader, and now as a parent, too. So, every year I make a point to read a banned or challenged book around this week (although I naturally read challenged books as part of my usual reading activities regardless of the month).

This year, one of my Bookolutions was to finally read Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (which just happens to be a challenged and, sadly, several times banned book). Last month I completed this goal by listening to the audiobook read by the author (and then Googling the illustrations I didn’t know I was missing by listening instead of reading!)

However, as I didn’t listen to this one specifically for Freedom to Read Week, I decided to start another challenged book this week (although it’ll probably take me a while to finish it). This time, I chose a classic that’s been on my radar for a long time, but which I’ve never read before –A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess.

Honestly, the reason I’m reading this book is because I’ve never been able to make it through the movie! It’s odd, as I’ve seen many movies that would—and have—bothered other people, without problem. But there’s something about this film that’s just so difficult to watch, I can’t make it through the whole film (which is probably a testament to the film’s brilliancy). So, I’ve decided to read the book first, to see if I can then make it through the movie. I already know the plot, and I’ve seen/heard enough to know what to expect. I think the language is going to be a bit murky, but nevertheless I’m looking forward to the read!

Are you participating in Freedom to Read Week? What challenged/banned books have you read lately?


  • Pempi

    Recently purchased from my local library (as one of its discards), Persopolis by Marjane Satrapi a graphic novel which I read with great delight, amusement, horror and would rate as one EVERYONE should read only to discover this to be on the Banned Book list of the ALA. Here in the U.K it obviously isn’t as contentious but I was amazed to think that such an eye-opening book should be banned – I learnt so much from it and as a teacher would love to share it with young people! Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

  • Lexa Cain

    I’ve never made it through Clockwork Orange either, and I’m not a fan of literary films or novels ever since “2002: A Space Odyssey” left me feeling like I’d wasted several precious hours of life on nonsensical drivel. Nonetheless, it’s good to stand up for banned books, and I think you’re awesome for making an effort to read some! 🙂

  • Tonja Drecker

    I haven’t read the Clockwork Orange…or seen the movie. I tend to steer clear of literary films and novels too, simply because life tends to be jammed full of ‘situations’ enough, and I need these venues as an escape, not a reminder. As to banned books, it’s always good to call out and remind people that these books are there. For many reasons.

  • Mere

    Pempi – I know of Persopolis, but I’ve never read it…I’ll have to put it on my TBR list!

    Lexa – I haven’t seen 2001, either…I can’t quite make myself watch it, lol…there are parts I’d like to see, but parts I think would be too boring for my tastes!

    Tonja – I totally agree…I often like to escape in my books and movies, too. “Literary” is iffy for me…some forms of literary work I am definitely not a fan of, but A Clockwork Orange I’ve always thought of as a story more than a literary statement. I’ll have to see how I feel after I get into the book!

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