Welcome to a special edition of Bookzilla!
Generally this is a Sunday/Wednesday operation, but in honor of Banned Books Week (September 25 – October 2), I’ll be making updates every day this week. Get ready for banned book overload!
Why ban books?
From most of the researching I’ve been doing, all of the reasons books are banned (at least in the United States) fall under the umbrella of “It’s not appropriate for the age group to which it’s marketed.” More specific reasons include things like “sexually explicit themes/content,” “adult language,” “adult themes,” etc.
And I will give people that: there are some books that just shouldn’t be read until a child or young adult has reached a certain maturity level, and is able to understand all the implications behind the story.
However, I do think that the rampant banning of certain books (in one Southern California case, the dictionary) may be taking things just a touch too far.
I think that sometimes books can become part of the political nastiness that goes on; a book which doesn’t conform to a group’s belief system (one which shows homosexuality as a viable way of life, for example, or that portrays homosexuals as anything but lonely, sad, promiscuous nut jobs) or way of looking at the world (a book which speaks out against capitalism, Communism, Socialism, liberals or conservatives) often bears the brunt of the political shitstorm.
This is not a healthy way to bring up the next generation. Shielding children and young adults from “unpopular” ideas will only breed intolerance or outright dismissal or hatred.
Banned Books Week
Begun in 1982 as a way to protest the banning of books (and therefore ideas), Banned Books Week is a time of activism.
Some hold “read-ins” (like the sit-ins popular in the 60s and 70s) on school or library lawns; some sign petitions; some stand up for a book that has been challenged, whether in their area or across the globe.
And some people take the opportunity to read banned books.
Which is what this week’s blogs will be about. Tune in daily to see which banned books I’ve read, which I’ll be reading and reviewing, and to get hints and tips on how to get involved. On Wednesday there will be the second part of the “Twist on a Classic” segment, which will cover a modern adaptation of The Scarlet Letter, itself a challenged and banned book.
Pull up a chair, grab the nearest controversial work, get to reading, and check back in tomorrow for more!