Sunday, September 27, 2015

Banned Books Week - I Like Banned Books And I Cannot Lie

As she has for the past several years, Sheila of Book Journey is hosting a celebration of banned books during Banned Books Week. Be sure to hop on over to her site to find links to a lot of posts from people who are passionate about fighting against censorship.

Right up until I was a teenager, I was a pretty easy kid to have around. About the time I became a teenager, I also developed a rebellious side. I may have outgrown a lot of the wild side of those years but there remains to this day some of that rebel in my soul. Also, I'm still not that wild about being told what to do...or what not to read.

I wasn't even aware of banned books when I started reading banned books. My dad was reading Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn to my brother, sister, and I when we were still in grade school. Middle school teachers had us reading 1984 and Animal Farm.

I don't recall anyone ever censoring my reading as I grew up. One of my favorite books as a teen was Go Ask Alice, a book filled with sex and drug use. Did it turn me into sex-starved, drug addict? Absolutely not. I was raised with too much respect for what my parents had taught me. They may have told me I couldn't do a lot of things, but they never told me I couldn't read something. Reading and learning were both too important in my parents' house.

Now telling me a book has been banned is like waving a red cape in my face. If it's banned, and it's not something I've already read or plan to read, it's a sure bet that it will be added to my tbr list. I'm always surprised to look at lists of books that have been banned or challenged and find so many that I have read, particularly when I can't even recall anything about them that I found especially controversial. On most lists, I'll find that I've read at least a third of the books. Does that just mean that I like books with sex, drugs, and violence? Books I've added to the tbr just because somebody said we should read them include The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, and Rabbit, Run by John Updike. Because don't tell me what to do!

Later this week, I'll focus on children's and YA books that have been challenged and which of them myself and my children have enjoyed.

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