Banned Books Week: Why does it matter?

Why should you be interested it keeping ALL books on the shelves?

A Book Challenge: Why Banned Books Week MattersBecause we need to protect the freedom to read whatever we want; and, that includes explicit, suggestive, disgusting, violent, and everything else under the sun of which writing consists. You are not endorsing the books. You are endorsing the freedom of choice.

For example, I will more than likely never read 50 Shades of Grey by E. L. James. Not because it’s erotica; not because it’s subject matter is S&M. I will probably never read it because I have read so many reviews that state it is just plain bad writing. I don’t have time for that. Otherwise, I probably would have read the first one, just to see what all the hype was about. That’s the same reason I read Twilight by Stephenie Meyers and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. However, they didn’t interest me, and I didn’t read any further in their respective series.

Here are a few others that I remember, off the top of my head:

  • Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs – It took weeks for disturbing images to leave me.
  • Guts by Chuck Palahniuk – I am still disgusted whenever I think of it.
  • Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris – One objectionable story left me crossing this author off any further reading.
  • The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan – How many ways can you describe anal sex, anyway?
The author on the movie set of Naked Lunch.

Here’s the thing: My list may make you go out and explore some of these titles. And you should! To read is to think. To think is to consider. To consider is to grow. I am not a bad person because I read those books. I am not damaged emotionally, and my intellect grew a bit with each one. Would I undo reading them? Not for a moment.

I kept my son from reading In Cold Blood by Truman Capote in 8th grade. I didn’t think he was ready for the violence, and nuanced relationships discussed in the pages. However, now that he is older, I would encourage him wholeheartedly to read it, and would love to discuss it with him.

Additionally, I didn’t request that it be removed from the 8th grade suggested reading list. That was not up to me. That is a line that does not and cannot be allowed to be crossed in this country.

Individual freedom of choice. If you want to read what someone else would consider objectionable, that should be up to you.

Remember, it’s ultimately NOT about books, but about FREEDOM.

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