Sep 272017
 

A childhood highlight was getting — and using — a library card. It was the same for my mother. She tells about choosing her books and facing a librarian who would not let her check them out because she was “too young.” I would love to have been a fly on the wall the next day when my five-foot-nothing grandma marched into the library to share her opinion about banned books, and to inform the staff that her daughter was permitted to read anything she chose.

It's Banned Books Week, but that sort of thing is behind us, right? Click To Tweet

It’s Banned Books Week, and I’d like to think that censorship, book burning, and banned book are far behind us. But, as I write this, social media is alive with an intense first amendment debate, and I don’t have to look too far in the rearview mirror to remember a several-hundred-acre wildfire started by someone burning books. And, as I began to research banned books? The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is a recent favorite I found on the list.

Banned Books week is sponsored by the American Library Association and, according to Newsweek, is “both a celebration of freedom and a warning against censorship.” I was also surprised to learn that Banned Books week is only about 35 years old and began in response to a sharp increase in challenges to books in schools, libraries, and bookstores. A significant increase — in 1982. Publishing powerhouse J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is a frequent target of censors as is, apparently, almost anything by Stephen King. And, evidently, the entire Captain Underpants series and Fifty Shades of Grey (which sold over 100 million copies) present a clear and present danger to the Republic. (Dammit, where is that sarcasm font when you need it?)

And lest you think the upsurge in attempted censorship is somehow related to looser modern standards and morals, take a look at some of the classics on the list: Moby Dick, The Great Gatsby, The Grapes of Wrath, and The Jungle.

I was raised to believe that reading was a way to open doors to new ideas and different points of view. I was taught that part of the value of those things was an increased ability to understand and empathize with those with whom I have significant differences; that such skills were useful in maintaining and enhancing peaceful relationships.

Which books present a clear and present danger to the Republic? Click To Tweet

So isn’t it logical that suppression of offensive ideas could bring them to back, stronger than ever? Or, perhaps if an individual finds a certain book offensive she could choose not to read or recommend it. Aren’t those decisions adults can make for themselves and for the children in their lives?

What do you think about banned books? Do you have a favorite? Please use the ‘comments’ to share.

 

 

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 September 27, 2017  Posted by  Thinking, Writing and Reading  Add comments

  12 Responses to “The Best Banned Books”

  1. Nice to see someone with a very important post about how our society is making us believe what they want us to believe. Do we have freedom of expression? Not lately. Thanks.

  2. I’ve read several of the banned books you mentioned. I can’t comprehend why any sensible person would object to them.

  3. When will they understand that when they bann a book, they just make folks want to read it even more? It’s like free advertising. I’m a grown woman, fairly intelligent, and I couldn’t put the Harry Potter series down!

  4. I second your comment Rachel. And Andrea, this is an excellent post! love it and the image with the quote: “A truly great Library contains something in it to offend everyone.”

  5. Love this post Andrea! such a humorous, eye-opening reminder that censorship happens all the time and that we must be aware and honor our freedom of expression! You are one great writer! Xo

  6. What a great post! As a Harry potter fan I have always been surprised about how upset it made some people. I think my son will have a chuckle to learn that his favorite series of Captain Underpants is on this list. I will share this article with him today.

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