Banned Books Week 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

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It’s Banned Books Week, so I’ve decide to write a blog about how my friends, family, teachers, and I feel about banning books.

Personally, I think it's crap for people to decide what everyone else should read. I can understand if a parent doesn’t want THEIR child reading (amazing) books like Harry Potter or To Kill a Mockingbird, but those parents have NO RIGHT trying to ban EVERYONE in their child’s school or city from reading them. It frustrates me to no end when I hear about banning books. When I read Fahrenheit 451 in either Sophomore or Junior year of High School, I had nightmares for weeks because the people in a book banned all books and were burning them. It's bad enough when there’s a fiction story about it but when it's happening in my country? The so called land of the FREE?! How can we possibly talk of freedom of speech and expression if we are banning the books that deal with things so real in our society!!!???

I have read loads of the so called BANNED books (how many? I really don’t know). I was looking at The American Library Associations’ List of the Top 100 Banned and Challenged Classics earlier in the week and was absolutely astounded to see Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne on the list! Who doesn’t like POOH BEAR!? Pooh is just a simple bear trying to find hunny and be with his best friends in the Hundred Acre Wood!!!! It just makes no sense to me.

If you don’t know me that well you may not know that I am completely and irrevocably obsessed with J.K. Rowling’s HARRY POTTER series. It has taken over my life and I am not ashamed of it. The first time I heard it was being banned in places I was horribly upset; later when I was alone I even cried for the kids who weren’t allowed to read it. My own Grandmother hated me reading it, my best friend’s mom wouldn’t let her read it (a few years ago we snuck the books into her house so she could read them by night). My point, well one of my points anyway, is that banning a book (or anything else) will only make the intended audience want it more. Luckily, I grew up in a house hold that welcomed books with open arms! My mom started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to me in 1998 when it was first released in the States (I was around 6 at the time. However, I didn’t read them on my very own until 4th grade). That so called Banned Book sparked my love of reading. Harry Potter is the reason I’m writing this post, why I’m an English major, why I want to work in a library, why I want to share books with my own family and friends; the list of POSITIVE things that Harry Potter has done for me goes on and on. What I’m trying to say is every one of these so called Banned Books is someone’s favorite book and I bet its done a lot of positive things in their lives too!

Earlier this week I asked a bunch of people what THEIR opinion on Banned Books were and I got an overwhelming response! Here’s what they said:

Meg Cabot  Banning books is awful, of course!!!
[NOTE: She answered on her Facebook Page when I posted the question!]

Rachel C. Generally, let the people read. It's like movies, they put a warning on them based on content. Throw a page in books too: this is suitable for mature adults only contains content of so and so nature digression is advised.

Anne B. So, I looked up a list of books that are banned.
And I have read plenty of them like Lord of the Flies, To Kill a Mockingbird, Fahrenheit 451 and Of Mice and Men
I have read all of these and I don’t understand why they were banned.
Also like Rachel said people should rate books like movies and let them read whatever they want.
Also people will always have problems with certain books it's the way life works.

Diane M. Books should not be banned. We should be able to read anything we want, & the vast majority of us can draw a well educated conclusion on ridiculous propaganda.

Tara H. Most banned books go against the social norm, but what defines the norm anyways? Look at Darwin's "Origin of Species." People hated him for it a while ago, and now it's believed to be true. There's always value in literature, good or bad.

Tammy G. This is a free country, last I knew it was supposed to be anyway, I will read what I want to read!!!!.

Brittany L. I agree; it's completely ridiculous when schools/institutions deem what is or is not "inappropriate" for students to read or study. Whether or not a book contains controversial material has nothing to do with the fact that it can be learned from. Truthfully, even if it DOES turn out to be somewhat inappropriate in any manner, the people reading it have already read/heard of the same types of things before, so it's not like it matters. And if someone is offended by the material, well, no one is forcing them to read it.
I know books get banned from curriculums in high schools and that's just crap. By the time a student is fourteen, they're old enough to decide what they do/do not want to read. And if a teacher wants to incorporate a certain book, they should be allowed to; it's not like there are teachers giving their students smut. If a book is "controversial," the teacher can send out a note to parents or something to give them a heads-up and offer an alternative reading selection.
On top of that, who gets to decide what's "appropriate" to read and what isn't? It's total crap.

Katee C. Banned Books... Um let's see. I don't think there should be a banned book because all books help someone or something maybe in the littlest way. They can make a difference in someone's life. I also believe that every book should have a fair chance in hitting the shelves and becoming famous. :D

Todd M. The idea of banning a book is against everything this country was founded on. Just like owning a gun or fox news calling themselves unbiased.

Kelly Z.  Oh, in the newspaper, those books that were banned from schools? A list of which HARRY POTTER is on?? Upset. I can understand an age limit on inappropriate things, such as sexual influence, inappropriate language and stuff like that, but to ban books is ridiculous, just annoying, everyone has the freedom of speech so that people can read it, and incase you wanted to know, Stephen had mentioned how he doesn’t think books should be banned, and there is nothing wrong with HP, nothing, just, young (!) kids shouldn’t read it if they cant handle it, u know? but ridiculous, really, it is.
[NOTE: Stephen is Kelly’s brother]
[NOTE: Translated from a text]

Denise B. Reading enriches your life, touches your heart, engages the mind..... are there books I do not like? But of course! It is small mindedness that would do such things. Do you want to go back to the dark ages!?! Hmmmm? It is reading that has gotten us where we are today as a civilization.

Dylan F. To censor a book or ban it is to censor the life and experiences of the author who wrote it. It's like erasing that persons accomplishments and saying what they think and how they feel is wrong and immoral. That by definition is a violation of the author's freedom of speech and a big statement saying "The people of this country (or wherever the book may be banned) are so stupid that if they read about something there going to go out and do it.

Darren E. Interesting. I've read a couple, mostly out of curiosity just to see what the fuss was all about. I'm not however one of these people who believes in total freedom of speech when it comes to books. It's a very complex issue and not nearly as cut and dried as most people seem to think it is.

Lynda W. (my mom) Amazingly enough, several books that have made the “banned” book list were required reading while in school. George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger to name a few.
My all time favorite book, one I try to read annually, is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
Looking at the list, it amazes me how far we truly have not come! I find the banning and burning of books to be appalling. The list of 69 books contains many books I’ve had the pleasure of reading, some more than once and several I would love to read. If its made the list then it must be a good read.

Me Dad! What’s your opinion on banned books?!
Gary W. What are you talking about? People don’t ban books!
Me Are you crazy! Over 400 books were either banned or challenged last year alone!
Gary W. Well that’s dumb. Books shouldn’t be banned. No book should be banned! It’s an opinion! It's against the constitution! Whether it's written on paper or not it's against the first amendment to ban a person’s opinion
[NOTE: My dad said a lot more but since I was writing as he said it I didn’t get it all but it was all the same thing over and over with some fist shakes thrown in.]

Kellie B. That's a multi-faceted question! In general, I don't believe in banning books. But I do think that some knowledge might be dangerous to the common how to make explosive devices from common household items, etc.
Me true but this is more dealing with fiction books like Harry potter and To Kill a Mockingbird...books like that...
Kellie B. I certainly don't believe in banning those types of genre!
Banning "To Kill a Mockingbird"...cannot fathom the loss! : )

Dr. Thomas N. (My American Literature Professor at BSC) I am of course opposed to censorship of any kind, not just censorship of the more or less benign stuff that has been banned by school boards. In fact, why should Harry Potter books be banned, or classic works like Huck Finn? I don't comprehend the reasons, and I attribute it all to misreading of the books themselves by those who seek to impose moral or cultural values on the intellectually curious. This minority must continue to demand to have the freedom to read what they please. As for the more controversial stuff-- the Communist Manifesto, Henry Miller, Ginsberg's Howl and other books that might upset those who want to police our thought because such writing is naturally provocative--I say long live self-expression and our right to absorb any and all points of view.

Ariel B. Oh. Okay, well I think banning books is lame. There you go. You can quote me if you'd like.

As you can see, a lot of people have a lot to say about BANNED BOOKS…

Now that my family and friends have shared their opinions…I want to know yours!
What’s YOUR opinion on BANNED BOOKS!? What is your Favorite banned book? What Good has a banned book done in your life?

Keep reading those banned books everyone and maybe one day people will finally understand how stupid banning books truly is!

~Read More,
Talk Less,


Corky Smith said...

The funny thing here is that most of the "Book Banners", have never even read the books they are trying to get banned. It Just goes to show that their closed minds will keep them in the dark and they will be missing out on a lot of great literature. In general these types people are afraid of the unknown and it does not surprise me in the least that they would rather ban the book then actually read it and possibly learn something.

Lynda Wood said...

Banning or burning a book has always seemed a sin to me. Before WWII, the banning and burning of books was commonplace. One book, Heilige Bibel, was tossed on the one knew that the book was except it was in German and most like had something to do with the Nazis. The book? The Holy Bible. Most people are afraid of the unknown, what they don't understand. Almost like the Neanderthal man coming out of the primeval forest for the first time, afraid of everything.
But in this day and age, the banning of a book seems a bit primeval. The banning of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn because of the "N" word for example. When Mark Twain wrote the book the word was as commonplace as "African-American". Sadly, thousands of children will not have their minds enriched by the words of Pooh bear or Attius Finch.