Happy Banned Books Week to You and Yours!

Break out your reading glasses (…or this latest reading contraption from SkyMall!); it’s time to start reading all those provocative/seedy/otherwise-censored books you have squirreled away. What better way to celebrate Banned Books Week?

Sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA), Banned Books Week strives to promote literacy and denounce censorship. This year marks the campaign’s thirtieth year, and the celebration is taking place now, from September 30 through October 6.

It’s not everyday that the campaign against book banning (campaign to ban book bans?) turns the big Three-Zero, and the celebrations have gotten creative. The ALA is calling for students to participate in a virtual read-in by posting videos of themselves reading excerpts from censured books. In Chicago and San Francisco, 18+ venues have hosted “Naked Girls Reading From Banned Books” events. Ow ow!

If you’re looking for a more private—but still clothing-optional—way to celebrate this year, consider picking up a copy of one of the 80+ titles that were removed from public schools in Tucson this past January. Just in time for Banned Books Week’s big birthday, the Tucson Unified School District cut its Mexican-American Studies program, thereby eliminating students’ access to culturally-relevant books. Sure, technically it’s not a book ban, but it’s still alarming and discriminatory censorship. Seriously, the only upside is that those superintendent/government guys put together one heck of a reading list for us bookworms at Sarabande!

To our knowledge, none of our many provocative titles have made it to a banned list yet, but we have high hopes of living up to the Sarabanned name in the near future. Har har. Puns aside, Sarabande Books gets its name from an elegant and sensual early-Baroque dance. Originally an Aztec mating ritual, the sarabande was then reappropriated by the Spaniards to include a German and French influence. Within forty years of the dance’s original conception, the sarabande was banned for its obscenity, but it reappeared in Britain shortly after and enjoyed sustained popularity.

Great things can come from silly bans. Read up this week and always.