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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Celebraring the Freedom to Read Banned Books with The Grapes of Wrath


In celebration of Banned Books Week, I am jumping on the Banned Wagon and participating in a promotion hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. Visit her blog at www.bookjourney.wordpress.com to check out featured posts from bloggers all around the country celebrating the freedom to read books of their choosing!

According to the ALA (American Library Association): A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.

This year marks the 30th Anniversary of Banned Books Week. Click here, www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/challengedbydecade/2000_2009, for a list of Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books from 2000-2009.

I don't know about you, but if someone tells me not to read a certain book because its content is politically incorrect, too graphic or falsely exaggerated, my curiosity is instantly piqued. What is it that they don't want me to learn, understand, or experience?

This year for Banned Books Week, I chose to re-read my favorite book of all time, The Grapes of Wrath. I read this book the summer before my junior year of college and it has never left me. I think often of the Joad family that Steinbeck created with such depth of emotion and grace, especially during the struggling economy our nation is currently facing.

** I am giving away a new copy of The Grapes of Wrath to one, lucky commenter! Comment on this post and let me know what your favorite banned book is to be entered into the giveaway. The deadline to enter will be Friday, Oct. 12.


The Grapes of Wrath
by John Steinbeck


"In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage."
                                                            ~ Chapter Twenty-Five

     To me, there is no book that deserves to be read and cherished more than John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. Since its publication in 1939, the book has been challenged and/or banned for a variety of citations including: exaggeration of situation, communist sympathies, and obscene language and sexual references.
     The story follows the Joad family as they migrate west in search of work after being turned off the land they farmed in Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl. It is a story about the strength of family, the will to survive, both the kindness and cruelty of others, and the unbreakable American spirit. It is a story that takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of emotions.
     It will make you angry and sad. It will make you reevaluate what is important in your life. It will make you question how strong you could be under the worst of circumstances. Lastly, it will leave you hopeful, comforted that the human heart is ultimately good.
     If you haven't read The Grapes of Wrath, I greatly encourage you to do so. Stop whatever you are currently reading and head to your local library or bookstore. Read this book, share this book. It is the Great American Novel.

"Ever'thing we do- seems to me is aimed right at goin' on, Seems that way to me. Even gettin' hungry- even bein' sick; some die but the rest is tougher. Jus' try to live the day, 'jus the day."  
                                                                                      ~ Ma Joad

Book Description (from the Penguin cover): The Grapes of Wrath summed up its era in the way that Uncle Tom's Cabin had summed up the years of slavery before the Civil War. At once naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck's fictional chronicle of the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s is perhaps the most American of American classics. Although it follows the movement of thousands of men and women and the transformation of an entire nation, The Grapes of Wrath is also the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, who are driven off their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided of Haves and Have-Nots, Steinbeck created a drama that is intensively human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its insistence on human dignity.

Keep Reading Banned Books and Celebrate Your Freedom to Read!
Rebecca

30 comments:

  1. This is a good review of this book. I have not read this one yet but will... one of these days. :)

    My favorite banned books are the Harry Potter books.

    Thanks for being a part of banned book week!

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  2. Thanks Sheila! I am already looking forward to Banned Books Week next year.
    Happy Reading!
    Rebecca

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  3. I have so many favorites but I will go with "Of Mice and Men".

    connie's corner shelf

    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thanks for following my blog! I just signed up to follow you as well! You are entered into the giveaway.
      Happy Reading!
      Rebecca

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  4. I read the Grapes of Wrath in high school and it was my first Steinbeck. I loved it so much. He is such an amazing writer. I haven't re-read it since then and I'd love to.

    My favorite banned book right now is The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Such an excellent book.

    klmickelsen at gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks for visiting Kristi. You are entered into the giveaway. Steinbeck is my favorite author. I want to read Perks of Being a Wallflower. I hope to get to it soon. With the movie release, the books is getting a lot more attention.
      Happy Reading!
      Rebecca

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  5. I don't know about you, but if someone tells me not to read a certain book because its content is politically incorrect, too graphic or falsely exaggerated, my curiosity is instantly piqued. What is it that they don't want me to learn, understand, or experience? <~~~ Yes!! This!!

    My very favorite banned book is To Kill a Mockingbird :)

    Great post Rebecca!

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    1. I too loved To Kill a Mockingbird. All this talk about banned books makes me want to reread all of these classics! Thanks for visiting. You are entered in the giveaway!
      Happy Reading,
      Rebecca

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  6. Thanks for this giveaway. My favorite banned book is The Diary of Anne Frank. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. The Diary of Anne Frank is wonderful. I read it in high school but would love to curl up with it again. Such a tragic story but it carries such grace. Thanks for visiting. You are entered in the giveaway!
      Rebecca

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  7. It has been a long time since I read this one....so I am eager to read it again. Great review!

    My favorite banned book is The Handmaid's Tale.

    chezraine(at)gmail(dot)com

    Here's MY BANNED BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I have never read The Handmaid's Tale. I need to! I have heard a lot about it. Thanks for visiting. You have been entered in the giveaway!
      Happy Reading,
      Rebecca

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  8. I read this book in high school, and sadly I don't remember much of it. That is something I will have to change! My favorite banned book is A Prayer for Owen Meany. :)

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    1. I have never read A Prayer for Owen Meany. I need to keep that one in mind next time I am looking for a new read. Thanks for visiting! You have been entered in the giveaway.
      Rebecca

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  9. What a lovely giveaway and review. I have, somehow, never read The Grapes of Wrath. My favorite banned book would have to be either Speak or To Kill a Mockinbird.

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    1. I read To Kill a Mockingbird around the same time that I read The Grapes of Wrath for the first time. They both left a huge impression on me. Thanks for visiting! You have been entered in the giveaway.
      Happy Reading,
      Rebecca

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  10. Great review. I've only read pieces of this book. My fav banned is The Awakening.

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  11. Thanks for visiting Jesse! The Awakening is another great read. You have been entered in the giveaway.
    Happy Reading!
    Rebecca

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  12. Would you believe I have never read THE GRAPES OF WRATH? I'd love to though.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting Mary! You have been entered in The Grapes of Wrath giveaway.
      Happy Reading,
      Rebecca

      Delete
  13. I actually have a few favourite books from the banned books list - The Kite Runner, The Color Purple and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings being three among them. Would hate to live in the kind of society where I couldn't read what I want!

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    1. Most of my favorite books do appear on the banned books list. The Kite Runner is a great one! So very sad but very powerful. You have been entered in The Grapes of Wrath giveaway.
      Happy Reading!
      Rebecca

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  14. The Grapes of Wrath sounds amazing and I love when books gives you so much to think about after reading it. My favourite banned book is The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I love the characters and their relationship, I really enjoyed the writing style. I read it a few years back and it always stuck with me, I definitely want to reread it before watching the movie. Thank you!
    visabellad(at)gmail.com

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    1. Thanks for visiting! I still need to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It sounds like a wonderful story. You have been entered in The Grapes of Wrath giveaway!
      Happy Reading,
      Rebecca

      Delete
  15. My favorite banned book is Roald Dahl's The Witches, mostly because it's one of my favorite childhood reads that inspired me to love reading. It boggles my mind how it could ever be "banned." I still reread it every year and relive the magic I felt as a child.

    Many thanks!
    lilianxchengATgmail.com
    Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

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    Replies
    1. I haven't read The Witches but definitely want to check it out. I love those books that we read in childhood and they stay with us throughout the years. Thanks for visiting! You have been entered in The Grapes of Wrath giveaway.
      Rebecca

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  16. I would love to have the oportunity of reading this book, that i have unfortunately not read as yet. The Grapes of Wrath sounds facinating! My favourite 'banned book' is the adventures of huckleberry finn, as it brings back so many wonderful childhood memories. x

    Email: lfountain1(at)hotmail(dot)co(dot)uk

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    1. Huckleberry Finn is such a wonderful classic. I need to reread it. Thanks for visiting! You have been entered The Grapes of Wrath giveaway.
      Happy Reading,
      Rebecca

      Delete
  17. My favorite are Harry Potter series, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, To Kill a Mockingbird...
    tanjavrljic AT gmail DOT com

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  18. Thanks for visiting Tanja. You have been entered in The Grapes of Wrath giveaway. I too loved To Kill a Mockingbird but I still need to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It seems to be a favorite of many readers.
    Happy Reading!
    Rebecca

    ReplyDelete

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