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Banned Books Week features controversial publications

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Ora Nelson

Staff Writer

Banned Books Week is back Sept. 23-27 to honor banned and challenged books, highlight those persecuted to write and celebrate the freedom to read. 

Throughout the week there will be a variety of “banned” books given away, and Troy University faculty and staff will read from their favorite banned books and explain why they feel those books are so important later in the week.

Troy has been celebrating Banned Books Week for several years, according to Rachel Hooper, the head of public services at the Troy University library.

“We (the library) feel that the events we plan help spread awareness of censorship and banning that are happening in our own country,” said Hooper.

Banned Books Week began after the court case Island School District v. Pico, which ruled that school officials cannot ban books for their content. Its purpose is to raise awareness of books that are still being banned and challenged today.

“We typically think of other countries when we think of repression of information and censorship, but it is happening right here,” Hooper said.

“Hopefully our Banned Books Week events encourage students, staff and faculty to stand up for the right to read and to think about lesser-known issues and problems in the world in which we live.”

Some of the most challenged books for last year were “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher, “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini, “I Am Jazz” by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.

Richard Scott Nokes, an associate professor of English, said those who take part in Banned Books Week should take a different approach to the event.

 

“Banned Books Week not only reminds us that we need to keep our own house in order by rejecting our own impulses toward censorship, but also, in actively pursuing challenging ideas, especially if those ideas offend us,” Nokes said. 

“Many people will participate in Banned Books Week by reading their favorite banned book. This self-congratulatory attitude runs exactly counter to spirit of the event.

“Instead, what people should do is seek out banned books that they expect to find offensive, and then read then with an attitude of sympathetic curiosity. 

“When we encounter ideas that we find offensive and challenging, we should seek to question where our own attitudes come from, and whether we might need to adjust our preconceived notions.”

To kick off Banned Books Week 2018, the library is hosting its second annual “ComicCon” on Sunday, Sept. 23, from 3-5 p.m. in the media area of Wallace Hall.

It will include comic book artists, student artwork on display and other activities for students to participate in.

Banned Books Week will be wrapped up on Wednesday’s Read-Out event, which will have door prizes and a prize for the student who wins first place in the library’s art contest.

Those interested can check the Banned Books Week Facebook event, hosted by Troy University Libraries.