Saturday, September 29, 2012

Jumping On the Band Wagon

Yes.  I'm jumping on a band wagon, or a soap box, or waving my flag or whatever else you want to call it here.  It's Banned Books week starting tomorrow and I'm joining the cause.  I want to spark thoughts, start discussions, or at least make someone stop to think about this whole concept.  I know there are many, many big, important issues out there.  But as writers, this is one we should take seriously as well.

Book banning still occurs frequently in the U.S. despite what many people tend to think.  When I saw Notebook Sisters' post about book banning I thought, hey, that'd make a great topic to blog about.  I started doing some research and discovered that there are literally hundreds of books that get challenged and/or banned from schools, universities and public libraries every year.  No, you don't have to go double check.  The first amendment hasn't been repealed.  Yet this practice still goes on.  So let me tell you about what I learned when I did some research on the topic.

First, all anyone needs to do to get a book banned is fill out a form (yes, there is an actual form for it), submit it to the institution from which the person is wishing to get the book banned, and it gets reviewed.  If there is sufficient reason and/or pressure to ban it, the book will most likely get banned.

This brings me to another thing I learned.  There are about a zillion different reasons people want to ban books.  Most of them seem silly, overblown and a few are patently ridiculous.  For example, it has been petitioned in multiple places to have The Diary of Anne Frank be banned in part for "being too depressing".  The other reason that gets cited is because there is a newer edition out now that apparently includes entries from her making some sexual references.  Now, please correct me if I'm wrong, but Anne Frank was a teenager when keeping these diaries, right?  What teenager DOESN'T have sexual references in mind???

Another one that gets me is attempting to ban the Harry Potter books for magical references, violence and because some people believe they can confuse children's religious beliefs.  Good grief!  Can't we just have fun stories to read anymore?  Besides, if reading the Harry Potter books is causing a child that many issues, where are the parents to monitor what the child reads to be sure it is appropriate for that child?  I read much worse than Harry Potter as a child (I was reading the same adult sci-fi books my dad did when I was in 6th and 7th grade) and didn't confuse what I read with reality.

Anyways - I'll get off my soap box for now.  But I think the theme for the week, or at least the majority of this week's posts, is book banning.  I encourage you to think about this subject for the week; maybe even discuss it some.

I do want to pass on a couple of blogs I saw when looking into this subject.
     Notebook Sisters - Their post was what got me thinking about the subject.
     Banned Books Challenge - There is a great challenge up there right now
     Book Journey - She is running a great book review "contest" around banned books.  I think it may be too
                              late to join in now but the posts that go up should be good to read.

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