Every year in the fall, the American Library Association, in conjunction with the American Booksellers Association, in conjunction with other associations and towns, cities, and book lovers across the United States celebrate Banned Books Week. More than 11,000 books have been challenged since 1982, primarily due to an individual's or a group's discomfort or disagreement with issues raised in the books. You can see the ten most challenged books of 2010 here, where authors include Sherman Alexie and Aldous Huxley, and subjects include the Twilight series and gay penguins.
Authors are free to write. Publishers are free to publish. Libraries and book stores are free to order. Censorship is when the books that were readily available are pulled from the shelves. Those who challenge books are trying to censor what we read, sometimes without ever having read the books themselves, sometimes being afraid of the discussions that might occur if we do read them. The key to learning is through the discussion of all topics—whether we like the topic or not is irrelevant, and whether we change our minds or not doesn't matter as long as we are able listen. We are lucky in the U.S. that we have the freedom to read: a cause for celebration, indeed. Happy belated banned books week.
Book shown: T/ravel: Book, 2007