I know a lot of non readers that think having to read is nothing short of going to hell. I love reading. Reading is like heaven to me However, some of the books that I have read are responsible for sending me to hell!
This is Banned Books Week. The American Library Association sponsors a number of activities to highlight the fact that banning books is censorship; that banning books restricts our freedom to read any book we choose. I think almost every one of us has read a book that has been banned or challenged at some point. (Challenged books are books that a person or group of people tries to get banned.) Many of the titles are or have at some point been required reading in school, be it primary, intermediate, secondary, or higher education.
The Bible has been on the Banned Books List. How many of you were required to read To Kill a Mockingbird, The Catcher In the Rye, The Giver, The Great Gatsby, Grapes of Wrath, 1984, Animal Farm, Catch 22, Call of the Wild? All on the Banned Books List. How many of you have chosen to read Lolita, Gone With the Wind, The Harry Potter series, The Color Purple, As I Lay Dying, A Clockwork Orange, Sophie’s Choice, or In Cold Blood? Yup, all Banned Books at one time or another.
Maybe you haven’t read any of these titles. Maybe you don’t think any of these are any good. I would actually agree that some of these aren’t the best books or just are not to my taste, however I would stand up and say that anyone that wants access to any book should have that access. Governments should not be able to take that right away. Schools should not be able to take that right away. Churches should not be able to take that right away. Or anyone else, with the exception of parents restricting access to their children who are too young or too sensitive for some of the topics covered in these books.
One of my favorite list of banned books is found on Goodreads. It’s called Books I’m Going To Hell For Reading. It lists 100 books I’ve read about 48 of them. Check the list. I’m pretty sure you’ve read at least 25 from that list, at least you have if you’re in the USA or went to school in the USA. Check it.
Celebrate Banned Books Week by reading a banned book. There are a lot of them out there, unfortunately.
Later this week I’ll tell you about the time a parent challenged a book I was teaching in 5th grade…a district approved and district supplied book.