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News Thu Sep 21 2006

Read a Banned Book

September 23-30, 2006 is Banned Books Week, an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association designed to remind all of us in the United States to excercise our intellectual freedom. Below is a list of a few banned books by authors with a Chicago connection. Pick one up at a local library and say to everyone you know: "I read banned books."

An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
This classic novel about a young man who drowns his pregnant lover was first published in 1925 and was based on a true story. It was banned in Boston, Mass. in 1927 and burned by the Nazis in Germany in 1933. [via]

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
A Farewell to Arms is the story of Frederic Henry, an American ambulance driver on the Italian front during World War I, who falls in love with Catherine Barkley, an English nurse he meets while recovering from injuries in the hospital. The book was originally published in 1929 and banned in Italy the same year. It was later banned in Ireland in 1939 and has faced several documented challenges over the past several decades. [via]

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
A young American professor uses his sabbatical to go and fight in the Spanish Civil War.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Once, twice, three times a banned author. Papa Hemingway's first full-length novel, which was first published in 1926, was also banned several times. The Sun Also Rises is about a group of American and British expatriates living in Paris after World War I.

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
We read this classic Chicago story about Jurgis Rudkus, a Lithuanian immigrant who goes to work in the city's notorious stockyards, for the Book Club last year. Among other incidents, The Jungle was "banned from public libraries in Yugoslavia" in 1929 and "burned in the Nazi bonfires because of Sinclair's socialist views" in 1933. [via]

Native Son by Richard Wright
This violent and tragic novel about Bigger Thomas, a young black man who accidently kills a white woman in 1930s Chicago, has been challenged many, many times since its publication in 1940 for its graphic language and sexual content.

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