Monday, September 6, 2010
Banned Books week
To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, Of Mice and Men, Lord of the Flies, The Grapes of Wrath, The Handmaid's Tale, Speak: these are but some of the books that have opened my mind, affected my soul, made me ponder the wonders and abominations of life. To think that I might not have had the opportunity to read them makes me sad. I can only imagine how much poorer I would have been had not been for these books.
The people who want to ban books have one thing right: they know the power of ideas. But they also fear. What do they fear? On a day when I feel charitable, I think they fear the susceptibility of the naive. On a day when I am less so, I think they fear that their own belief system will be challenged.
Harsh? Perhaps. But in a democracy, where some of the most important decisions are made by by individual votes, why are we not given the same courtesy to choose the ideas we want to explore?
As a parent, I am acutely aware of ideas that are not (yet) appropriate for the absorbent and young minds of my children. And I do censor: books, TV shows, movies. But those decisions are borne out of my responsibility as a parent and based not just on the principles/beliefs our family adheres to, but also on my knowledge of my children. The fact that I choose for my children while they are still young doesn't mean I will tell other parents what their children should or should not read.
September 25th till October 2nd is designated Banned Books Week. Here is the American LIbrary Association's page with helpful information and links. Librarians and bloggers everywhere highlighting banned books in the next few weeks and I am going to participate in the Banned Books Challenge hosted by Steph Su Reads. For this challenge, I will read at least one banned book for general audience, and one for children's/YA and post my reviews here between now and October 15th.
Join me, if you're so inclined, and let me know after you sign up at Steph's. And even if you're not participating, do tell me which, among the banned books you have read, is one that you can't imagine not reading.