Monday, September 28, 2015

Banned Books Week 2015

Banned Books Week started yesterday, and as I do this time every year, I am "celebrating" by reading a banned book. This year's choice is Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence, which is also the September group read for a GR classics group. Many of Lawrence's books were banned, in both Europe and the US.

Each year, the ALA releases a report on the state of libraries, which includes the top ten frequently challenged books of the preceding year. You can also find a list of the most Banned and Challenged Classics. There are many reasons people try to ban books, including violence, sexually explicit content, use of drugs or alcohol, offensive language, and unsuitability for age group. Of course, this is all subjective, as what one person deems offensive may be perfectly suitable to another.

I have only read one book on this year's top ten challenged list, but have two or three others in Mount TBR. I believe everyone has the right to read what they want, regardless of what anyone else thinks about a particular book, genre, or the people who read them. If you don't want to read a certain book or author, fine -- but don't tell me what I can or cannot read. I know the subject of what is "appropriate" can be an especially difficult one for parents. My sisters and I were lucky in that our parents never tried to limit what we could read. They encouraged us to visit the library often and trusted us to make appropriate choices for ourselves. If there is a book you aren't sure about, I would suggest reading it yourself first, asking friends and other parents what they think of it, and then deciding whether you think it is right for your child's age and/or maturity (some kids handle certain topics better than others) and discuss the book with them.


Alice Audrey said...

I love it when you link me to this handy reading list. Always, the best books are on it.

Kate said...

I aways smile when I see these lists. During my thirty years of teaching middle and high school students, I taught dozens of banned books; funniest thing--none of the kids were corrupted and they all got into "good" colleges.

Heather said...

Alice: You're welcome! It has often been said that challenging/banning a book is the best way to increase publicity and sales. I've read some great books that have made these lists, as well as some I did not like -- but my reasons for not liking a book are never, in my opinion, cause for banning it.

Heather said...

Thanks, Kate! I've read plenty of "banned" books -- while I was in school and after -- and can't say that I've been "warped" by what I've read. :)