Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I Like Banned Books and I Cannot Lie

Banned book week is almost half over and I should probably comment on it. Not only am I an avid reader, I'm also a librarian, and I'm author. I've grown up with books. One time I read 10,000 pages in six months (that was before kids, highspeed internet, and twitter). The fact that anyone would ban a book annoys and saddens me. Reading increases knowledge and understanding. Yes, some of the books on the list have words/concepts that might be offensive. However, I think if you really break it down, you'll realize that any book can theoretically offend someone to the point were they wish to "ban" it from influencing anyone else.

It's sad.

The only thing banning books accomplishes is to degrade a population's ability to think critically and creatively. This is why the printing press was outlawed for so long. An educated population made it difficult for the current regimes to exert their control. This isn't anti-government, it's the truth.

The only purpose to ban books is to control a population. It has nothing to do with morals or offensive language/themes. They don't make people want to do bad things, say bad things, or think bad things. Life does that all on it's own. Books are a way to escape reality and sometimes deal with issues that would be uncomfortable to understand outside of the context of fiction. At the same time, books can give people an awareness of the world that they wouldn't normally get.

Want to know what it's like to be bullied without getting stuffed in a locker yourself?

Read a book.

Want to go on amazing adventure where you go from living in a closet under the stairs to being the one person who can stand up to ultimate evil?

Read a book.

Want to have a happily ever after even though your own life is lonely?

Read a book.

If you want to see what the world looks like without books?

Read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray's also a banned book. Coincidence?

Let's talk about all the Banned books that shaped America. Books like Huckleberry Finn, or even the Autobiography of Malcom X. Don't forget that seditious story Where the Wild Things Are. Don't want to fill our kids minds with stories about things that aren't real or show them what life was like for an African-American in the 1960s. Or what it was like in America before the Civil War. You know, because those things are wrong.

Of course, one of my favorites on the list is the the Bible. You know, that symbol of Christianity? The one that defines the Christian religion?

Wait. Did you say the Bible was a banned book?

Yup. There have been versions of it banned throughout history for one reason or another. In most cases that I was able to find, it was a matter of how it was translated. I found this article from 2011, somewhat interesting. I haven't done further research, but it's fascinating.

If you want to know more about banned books, click the banner at the top of the page with the banned books logo and it'll take you to their site.

Here is a list of the banned books from the "Banned books that shaped America" list that I remember reading. There were a couple I think I read, but can't remember. So, I haven't added them.
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  • The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  • Moby-Dick; or The Whale by Herman Melville
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
What banned books have you read?

Now onto my goals for the month (not associated with Banned Books week).
  1. Do the homework assigned to me by my Mentor Agent regarding HJ. DONE!!
  2. Revise HJ based on Homework.  IN PROGRESS. Figured out my plot. Just a matter now of making the changes. Up to chapter 9 (which used to be later in the book).
  3. Take what I learned and apply it to my current WIP if I have time.  Probably won't get this done, but we'll see.
  4. Blog once a week. Yes
  5. Cheer on my twitter and #writemotivation friends. Totally!

'Till Next Time


  1. It interests me the reason people want to ban a book. Interesting... yet I often find the reasons dumb. But you're right, it is about controlling others. If they read something you don't like they might start to question YOU.

    1. Yup. And I will say, this was inspired by your blog post. :D

  2. Whoa, I didn't know Where the Wild Things Are was banned at one time! O.o Craziness. Great post! And I agree... Read a book!

    1. Lots of books have been banned. They had 140 new books added last year alone. Crazy.

  3. I find it bizarre that books can be banned, but films or even songs that could also be considered detrimental to society are still pumped out there by the boatload. But then, who's to judge? Great post, as always, Andrew! :)

    P.S. The above is why I shouldn't blog-comment on my phone! ;)

    1. LOL. I took care of the phantom comment. :D

      And thank you. :D

  4. Completely agree that it is all about control. Yet the ironic thing is it pretty much always backfires and still no one learns! In the U.S. parents are statistically the number one group that requests books to be banned. And yet we all know that if you tell a kid they can't have/do something, that almost guarantees they will want to have/do it that much more. Here's hoping we'll learn at some point that knowledge isn't evil. Great post!

    1. Thanks Kat! :D As a parent, I know that the more I ban something the more fascinated my children will be. It funny how many people don't know this.