Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Teen Tuesday - Banned Books Week

In honor of Banned Books Week, I'm sharing a list of books about banned books.
(Click on titles to find available editions.)

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (original publication date October 1953).

Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.

The Year They Burned the Books by Nancy Garden (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999).

When Wilson High "Telegraph "editor Jamie Crawford writes an opinion piece in support of the newsex-ed curriculum, which includes making condoms available to high school students, she has no idea that a huge controversy is brewing. Lisa Buel, a school board member, is trying to get rid of the health program, which she considers morally flawed, from its textbooks to its recommendations for outside reading.

The newspaper staff find themselves in the center of the storm, and things are complicated by the fact that Jamie is in the process of coming to terms with being gay, and her best friend, Terry, also gay, has fallen in love with a boy whose parents are anti-homosexual. As Jamie's and Terry's sexual orientation becomes more obvious to other students, it looks as if the paper they're fighting to keep alive and honest is going to be taken away from them.

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller (original publication date 1960).

In a nightmarish ruined world slowly awakening to the light after sleeping in darkness, the infant rediscoveries of science are secretly nourished by cloistered monks dedicated to the study and preservation of the relics and writings of the blessed Saint Isaac Leibowitz.

From here the story spans centuries of ignorance, violence, and barbarism, viewing through a sharp, satirical eye the relentless progression of a human race damned by its inherent humanness to recelebrate its grand foibles and repeat its grievous mistakes.

The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick (Scholastic Books, 2002).

They call him Spaz, because his epilepsy prevents him from using mind probes that are rotting everyone else's minds. Which is why he still has a memory — something rare in the frightening world he lives in.

Civilization has been destroyed, except for the forbidden place called Eden, where a small group of people have discovered genetic improvement. Yet one old man, the one they call Ryter, has a lot of crazy and wonderful ideas. Nobody remembers books, but Ryter is writing one — even though he knows he may be punished by death.

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (Knopf BFYR, 2006).

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

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