Monday, September 26, 2011

Bring on the Banned Books

Happy Banned Books Week! It's a fun week to celebrate. Hundreds of books are challenged every year. The people who challenge these books crack me up and piss me off. By challenging books, they only bring more exposure to them. And they also show how narrow-minded, controlling, scared, and... Okay, I'll stop there, but you get my point.

The American Library Association has a page devoted to Banned Books Week. Check it out here. You can see frequently challenged books sorted by year or decade. I'm sure you'll be as shocked as I was to see some of your favorites on the list.

I'm going to try to read one banned book a week through the end of the year. Every one of those books was created from blood, sweat, and tears. The writers poured a part of their souls into those words, and for someone to challenge their right to be on the shelf is beyond my comprehension. The only thing you or I can do is read the books. Savor the words. If the book could be considered inflammatory, be thankful. That writer had the nerve to write from the heart and say what needed to be said. When you're done, recommend the book to friends.

For me, this issue has nothing to do with freedom of speech. It has everything to do with the right to read whatever the hell I want to. Every reader has a different experience when reading a book. You might hate it, I might love it. How dare someone try to take that literary adventure away from another?

I'll step off my soap box now, but I implore you to read a banned book. Know that the story contained in those pages was powerful enough to scare someone into challenging it. You deserve the chance to experience that for yourself.

What's your favorite banned book?

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