Today is the start of Banned Book Week, which is from Sept 29th – Oct 6th, 2007. The theme of Banned Books Week 2007 is “Ahoy! Treasure Your Freedom to Read and Get Hooked on a Banned Book.” Libraries and bookstores around the country are expected to mount exhibits and schedule readings and special events through Oct. 6. I searched, but was not able to find any for Los Angeles, save for a a dance performance in Mission Viejo And the LA Times Books blog entry only covered the basics about the week in general, and what it stands for. (If anyone has any to post, please do so in the comments!)
The book with the strongest California connection on the list, by the way, is #6 on the Top 100 Challenged Book List: Steinbeck’s classic Of Mice And Men. It’s challenged for its references to racism and euthanasia. This book was the pre-cursor to the “Okie” influx depicted in “The Grapes of Wrath”. While neither are directly set in Los Angeles, the ranches and agricultural bases of the Inland Empire and Salinas Valley had a great deal of influence in the 1920s and 1930s on Los Angeles’ strength as a commercial center. But, like “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, it’s a little too much history to be remembered- hence the banned book list.
Anyways, to celebrate, go out and read! Visit the Central Library! Or stage a mock trial of a book or author using materials from the Constitutional Rights Foundation, which is right here in Los Angeles. But, most of all, we have to remember to stay vigilant, even in the cultural mosaic and left-wing vortex that is Los Angeles.