Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Last Day of Banned Books Week, if only

A List of the top ten banned books for 2008:

And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richarson and Peter Parnell

His Dark Materials trilogy, by Phillip Pullman

TTYL, TTFN, L8R G8R, series, by Lauren Myracle

Scary Stories, series, by Alvin Schwartz

Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

Gossip Girl, series, by Cecily von Ziegesar

Uncle Bob's Wedding, by Sarah S. Brannen

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

Flashcards of my Life, by Charise Mericle Harper *

The reasons for their being banned across the US range from sexually explicit material to unsuitable to age group, drugs, suicide, and religious views or because it contained material related to the occult/satanism (because those always go hand-in-hand; amd then what would happen to the urban fantasy section?/sarcasm).

I haven't read all of these. I've heard of most of them, come across reviews for them in Entertainment Weekly or other magazines my sister picks up (I'm not much fro buying them myself). I have the Scary Stories and Dark Materials books. I never read them, back in elementary, intermediate and possibly high school, with any thought to cwensorship or the deeper, "subversive" commentary in them. I was simply obsessed with detailing every item/picture on the alethiometer, and was more disconcerted by the illustrations in the Scary Stories and More Scary Stories than I was by the tales of spiders laying eggs in a woman's ear.

But even though there are books on this list I haven't read, I knowing I -can- read them. I can go to the library or bookstore and pick it up and flip through it, reread it until I can quite whole pages. It pains me to think there are people out there who want to take that right away from others, based on their own subjective opinions.

Censorship seems to be the personal opinion of a vocal few. That small opinion shouldn't become the standard for libraries and bookstores and schools.

I think I'm lucky to live in a town where there's never been an uproar over a book that's supposedly inappropriate (at least, I've never been aware of such a thing in the media, and I hope it would be a big enough deal to warrant mention on the news), and I hope never to live in a place where that happens. But at the same time, it can make a person complacent. "It won't happen to me." It's one of those times when I think there's nothing I can do tomake a difference, but I hope just speaking out about here is at least a start. If I can be so bold, I also encourage others, especially if they hear about a book being banned in their community, to speak out against it.

[One of the reasons I like Neil Gaiman--he's very good about informing readers of his blog when something like this happens. He's got connections. He's like a one-man mafia. ;) ]

I have to say, this one post a day thing is not easy for me, at least over the weekend, when I don't usually go online. But it's the third, last official day of Banned Books Week. Coming up, I want to do a post on writer's block, and I have a few other topics written down for posts.

Happy writing everyone,

*List from the Banned Books Week website. More details about events you can do to participate (good reference for next year, too) can be found here.

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