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Sunday, October 3, 2010

My Thoughts on Banned Books

After all the posts and talks I have read about books that have been or will be banned, I finally decided to share my opinions on the subject. As a book review blogger, and devoted reader of books, I felt something from my blog should be posted as well.  Here is my story!

When I was in school, books didn't appeal to me.  We didn't have much selection at that time in books to read, at least in my opinion.  We had Sweet Valley High and a few other teen reads, but nothing like we have today.  Yes, I love SVH and I would read those when I was bored, but nothing really captured my interest in reading.  I had to be forced with book reports and failing grades to read To Kill A Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye and various other required books for class.  While I enjoyed To Kill A Mockingbird, and still would read it again, they were required reading and not ones that would keep me interested in reading.

As I moved on in life, the only interest in reading for me involved reading magazines.  I had put reading books so far back in my mind that I didn't even visit a library.  I had my children, I worked various jobs and moved on with my life.

Then one day, my oldest daughter who is now 15, told me I needed to read Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.  I groaned and thought that it was going to be torture.  Yet, I couldn't refuse since my daughter had actually found a passion in reading.  So I indulged her and picked myself up a copy at the store.  I was immediately drawn into the world of vampires, love and suspense.  I also couldn't believe that it was a Young Adult book!  I couldn't believe that the genre had progressed from Sweet Valley High into something that could hold my interest so much that I stayed up all night reading this book! I could not put it down until I finished.  My daughter laughed and told me that there was more in the series.  I quickly went online and found the rest of the books and ordered them.  I had to find out what happened with Edward, Bella and Jacob! I was hooked!

The books that I were buying were quickly outgrowing my little basket beside my bed.  My family was tired of hearing me talk about books.  My daughter even commented that she had created a monster!  I started reviewing some books on my craft blog that I had at that time.  When I found myself writing more reviews than actual craft posts, My Overstuffed Bookshelf was created.  When I reached my first 10 followers, I couldn't believe it! Somebody actually cared about my opinions!

As my site grew, so did my collection of books.  I have now acquired 7 bookshelves that have 5 shelves on each, plus several 2 shelf bookcases.  My husband converted our formal dining room into a home library for me.  I have books ranging from Cat in the Hat books on up to Opal Carew erotica books.  I am in heaven with my library.

Then came the talks about banned books.  How can people ban a book?  I thought of all my books in my library that have opened a world of knowledge and excitement! I could not fathom someone telling me I could not read them!  My 5 year old explores my library all the time.  She doesn't know what erotica's are about, but I don't tell her not to touch them.  I just tell her that when she is older she will be able to read them.  My 15 year old has free reign of my library as well.  If she accidentally picks up an erotica, she just asks if it is one she is suppose to read.  I tell her that she can read anything she wants, yet I do explain that they are pretty sexually graphic, and she puts them up.  She has told me on many occasions, that she appreciates me not holding her back in reading.  While she has no interest in reading erotic books, she knows that someday when she is older, she is happy that I won't refuse it to her.  Most of my friends can't believe it when I tell them I don't censor her reading. Why would I want to?  Teens hear and do more in school that a book isn't going to corrupt them.  They get enough stories from their friends and such about sex, that I am not scared of her reading about it.  I have had the talk with her, so I trust her!

Last time I checked, since it has been awhile since history class for me, we earned the right to freedom of speech.  Aren't books an expression of that? Shouldn't we be able to write and read whatever we feel like? I couldn't believe it when I found out that books such as Winnie The Pooh had been challenged from a child's classroom! Winnie the Pooh? What did Tigger do? Did he jump to high into the clouds?

The next time you read a book, or even a magazine, think about how that story that you love might be the next book your child or teen might miss out on in life due to book banning. What if that one book your child picks up to read is the book that will spark the interest in reading? I consider all books a gift. If one book can get one child to read and stay reading through life, then why should we ban it? Why would we want to stop the creativity that all parents want in their children? Why should we close a book forever on someone who might discover their passion for the written words?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great take on the banned books issue -- my mom never told me I couldn't read anything, even the Harlequins I found stashed away ha! I'd like to think I'll be the same way once I have daughters.

October 3, 2010 at 3:04 PM  

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