Banned Books Week
I’ll be honest: I hadn’t heard of Banned Books Week. That makes me shamefaced because I am so anti-censorship, it’s not even funny. In high school, I did not one, not two, but three separate presentations on censorship, because it was probably the only thing I was really passionate about in high school.
I also want to take the time to mention something kinda cool and surprising – of the top 100 most banned and challenged classics according to the ALA, a total of 8 of them were required reading in my high school. Not optional reading. Definitely not banned. I had to read them to pass.
And beyond that, the first time I read a number of authors – including Kurt Vonnegut, J. D. Salinger, Douglas Adams, Joseph Heller, Jack Kerouac, Ernest Hemingway, and Virginia Wolfe – was when I checked out their books from my high school library.
And, in steps further, when I was in high school, when I wrote short stories for my creative writing and English classes, nobody ever cared if I swore or if the content got violent. As long as I had proper grammar and stayed on topic, they didn’t mind.
I never knew that a small-town in Minnesota would be so progressive. Way to not suck, Austin!
But I digress. The point is that banning books is stupid. I’m not saying you have to like books or read them or even let your children read them, but deciding someone else’s children can’t read them is ridiculous. Especially when so few kids read today (or so the internet tells me).
And that really is who you’re hurting. It’s the kids.
You can ban as many books as you want from schools, libraries, and even burn them at your PTA meetings. But thanks to the good ol’ First Ammendment (which is FIRST for a reason), you can’t really ban it. You can’t stop me from getting it. I have Amazon, and I can order 37 copies of Lolita and Mein Kampf if I want to (which I don’t – I’ve read them both and didn’t like either of them, but I don’t think you should ban them).
I write books for young adults. A couple of adults have complained about the content of my books – i.e. the occasional language and non-graphic sexual… themes? (They do not complain of the violence, though, or the amount of blood-drinking, but that’s another topic of another day).
I have tried to keep my books PG-13, but I am aware that some people might find my books inappropriate children. And that’s fine with me. How you want to raise your child is between you and your child. I also believe that parents are that concerned about what their children are reading tend to know what their kids reading – and they would without a school imposing a ban.
At any rate, I encourage everyone to read a Banned or Challenged Book this week. It’s a broad list, from Judy Blume to Stephen King, with most people in between. For a full list of the Top 100 Most Frequently Banned or Challenged Books, go: here.
I’m going to read Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, because I’ve been wanting to read it lately anyway. Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series as the awesome distinction of being one of the few books to be banned… before it was ever written. (Click: here to find out why.)
Also, just check out Richelle’s awesome post about Banned Books: here.
Oh, and you should read Lenny Bruce. Or watch the fantastic film Lenny starring Dustin Hoffman about his life. He’s like a personal hero. Lenny said, “It’ s the suppression of the word that gives it the power.” And he is soo right.
And for reasons I don’t understand My Blood Approves is currently 10% on sale Amazon for the Kindle and Fate is 20% on sale Amazon for Kindle. So, that’s a deal.And Switched is 20% off at Barnes and Noble for the Nook.
Oh, and my 11-year-old brother texted me yesterday. He said he asked his school library to order my books, and they’re going to. So, I’m not banned! Yay!