Tuesday, September 25, 2012

October is Coming: Time For Monsters and Banned Books!

What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages they would have burned me. Now they are content with burning my books. ~Sigmund Freud, 1933

Through reading, we learn about other people, cultures and experiences.  Reading encourages empathy and compassion. We also learn that we are not alone.  We are exposed to ideas we may not encounter in our personal lives, and we are inspired to create our own ideas.  We can learn, we can grow, and we can become better people from the books we read.
The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen. ~Tommy Smothers

We may not always agree with what we read or even each other.  We may be offended or made to feel uncomfortable.  We may become angry or embarrassed.  And that's okay.  A person can choose to avoid certain books because he or she feels they may be offensive or inappropriate or voice a strong opinion about the books. I support a parent's right to guide his or her children in choosing appropriate reading material when necessary; I think it's smart parenting to know what your children are reading, listening to, watching, and playing.  What is not okay, however, is deciding that because a book is offensive to you, no one should read that book.  I respect a person's right not to read particular books.  Now, respect mine to read them.
Most censorship I see is fear-driven. I respect that. The world is a very scary place. It is a terrifying place in which to raise children, and in particular, teenagers. It is human nature to nurture and protect children as they grow into adulthood. But censoring books that deal with difficult, adolescent issues does not protect anybody. Quite the opposite. It leaves kids in darkness and makes them vulnerable. [excerpt from statement by Laurie Halse Anderson about censorship, included at end of Speak]
Sheila of Book Journey is hosting this year's Banned Book Week event, and I am looking forward to participating.  It runs from September 30th to October 6th.  It's amazing the books that end up being challenged or banned, both past and present.  If you are anything like me, hearing a book has been challenged or banned only increases my interest in it.  I am eager to see what other banned or challenged books people are reading next week.

Books I will be reviewing next week:
The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Blankets by Craig Thompson
(I will also be reviewing Tina Connolly's Ironskin, but, as far as I know, no one has challenged that particular book.  Yet.)

What banned or challenged book have you read recently?

I seem to miss most read-alongs until they are in full progress.  And it's often books I really want to read too.  So when I first heard Jill, Trish and Ti talking about this year's Dueling Monsters earlier in the month, I nearly scared the neigbors with my shouts of joy that I hadn't missed it.  Now that the event is upon us, I'm wondering how I'll ever fit it in.  I'm determined though.  Where there's a will, there's a way.  So someone once said. 

Which book I will read is a no brainer really.  I read Red Dragon years ago, back when I ate up anything related to Hannibal Lector.  It was an intense book to read.  Hannibal is one of those characters who once you meet you cannot forget.  So, this time around, I figure I might as well read American Psycho.  It's been ages since I saw the movie (and I only vaguely remember it--it didn't make a huge impression on me).  I'm curious to know how Bateman stands up to Lector.

Will you be joining in this year?  What monster are you siding with? 

© 2012, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. I agree with you that people shouldn't reduce MY access to a book simply because THEY don't approve of it. Not only do I oppose book bans, but I also am wary of book ratings (which would likely be biased and arbitrary the way movie ratings often are) and could dissuade people from reading wonderful, thought-provoking literature. Unfortunately, in the US, our Supreme Court precedent on censorship isn't very strong (and it's 30 years old), and lower courts have allowed school districts to make arbitrary, harmful decisions regarding what books children are allowed to read.

    1. A.M.B. - I like seeing so many of us come together to speak out about censorship. I only hope that as we continue to do so, we are able to get out in our communities and make a difference that way.

  2. I agree with your thoughts on censorship. I don't want anyone telling me what I can and can't read, and I don't really censor anything my kids are reading nowadays either, since they are 16 and 18. As for dueling monsters, I read both the books, and am having trouble deciding who the bigger baddie is!

  3. Every year when Banned Books Week comes along, I am freshly amazed at some of the books that have been banned, censored, or questioned. And so often it's because only 1 person complained. No library or school should ever kowtow to the will of one person.

  4. I am for Lector H for sure but only have read and watched Silence of the Lambs. I want to read AP, hoping I have time.

  5. I would love to find the time to read both of these but my reading has really slowed down lately. I might check them out from the library though with the hopes of reading at least one :P

  6. Team HANNIBAL! If you thought Red Dragon was intense, you may not be ready for AP. I just finished the audio but am voting for Hannibal in the Duel.

    1. Team Patrick! Worst monster ever, I promise.


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