I Read Banned Books. Do You?

It’s Banned Book Week!  I’ve only read four of last year’s most frequent censorship targets: Alexie’s excellent The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Hosseini’s haunting Kite Runner, Harper Lee’s classic To Kill A Mockingbird, and Parnell and Richardson’s (mediocre) picturebook And Tango Makes Three.  Check out the top ten list to see how many you’ve read.

Believe it or not, censorship continues to be a problem in our nation’s schools and libraries.  There were at least 354 attempts to remove books from reading lists or outright ban them in 2017 alone, according to the American Library Association.

Intellectual curiosity is squelched and freedom of conscience threatened when we attempt to impose our own political, aesthetic, or moral standards on others in the community by banning books we find objectionable.  This is why I oppose book bans in all their forms.  As Ray Bradbury once said, “There is more than one way to burn a book.  And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.”

Our community’s very own Let’s Play Books has a special display this week highlighting several of the targets of recent censorship efforts.  So too does the Emmaus Public Library.  I hope the community will take advantage of such opportunities to raise awareness of the dangers of banning books.

This is an issue I feel very strongly about and have thus discussed before.  Check out:

1 thought on “I Read Banned Books. Do You?”

  1. About six or seven years ago, I participated in a reading group in upper Milford for one of the two books which were raised some controversy for being on the EPSD summer reading lists. I think students were required to read one or two books from a relatively restricted reading list with about a dozen choices. They didn’t have to read these books, but the list was limited, and the books were clearly endorsed by the schools as being appropriate and deemed to be worthy to be studied and discussed over all of the other possible selections from the universe of literature.

    While many members of the group, including myself, found “Prep” fairly benign, even though it had dozens of curse words and occasional sexual references, I found it nearly unreadable, going on and on. God bless anyone who could get through it without falling asleep. I knew I would have, if I hadn’t been taking notes to keep track of the characters since it would otherwise be almost impossible to recall who was mentioned before and who was important to the narrative. As a work of literature, it simply sucked and I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to add it to a recommended reading list.

    Ditto for the Koolaid book. I’ve heard it was a classic in some people’s (of my generation) minds, but it too is very tedious and of seemingly very little value to be kept on a recommended/assigned reading list, when there are so many better choices.

    I forget the exact resolution, but I think the books weren’t banned – they were kept in the libraries where they surely belong, but one or both were removed from the short, approved and recommended reading lists.


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