First before I get started on my banned book rant - I want to take a moment to thank my fellow diner staff! I recently moved and have been a little less than organized (okay, maybe the move had nothing to do with that, but I can use that excuse for at least 2 months, right?) and so, if this is a shorter post than most - they've been kind enough to cut me some slack! - Thanks ladies!
Now, let's get down to the business at hand. Banned books. This wonderful country we live in affords each and every one of us the ability to make choices for ourselves and our kids. If you find something represented in a book that you don't agree with - sure, don't recommend your child read it or pass it along to a friend. But BAN it?
Does anyone truly think that banning a book, or condemning it's content, makes it less "real?" I point you here where you can read for yourself the books that topped the banned book list for 2006. News flash - banning a book about homosexuality in penguins doesn't change the fact that homosexuals exist, that they are members of our families, of our communities and are flesh and blood people with feelings. Banning these books does nothing more than create a bigger divide within our society. Is that what we need? More division? I certainly don't think so.
Do I agree with the subject matter of every book on the shelves at my local bookstore? NO. Would I hand a book I don't agree with over to my kids as recommended reading? NO. But would I ever take that right away from anyone else? Absolutely not!
I recently read an editorial in my local paper written by a WWII veteran. He wrote in about the people protesting the war in Iraq and about flag burning. Yes, a different subject that book banning, but stay with me here. His editorial boiled down to this one main point - while he might take offense at the burning of our flag or protest - your freedom to say, write, read or yes, even protest against a government policy, was won with blood on a battlefield. It's the rights to make your individual statements and to be heard - that gave every veteran their courage to fight and even to die for.
Not only as an author, but as a parent - I don't want to imagine a society where the few close-minded individuals can dictate what is read and what is taboo. The reality is that life is not always sunshine and roses. There's good, bad and everything inbetween. Reading a book isn't going to make you a homosexual, a rapist, racist or drug addict - but it might open your eyes to what's really going on around you. A ha - maybe that's the idea. If we ban books with questionable subjects, maybe we can continue to stick our heads in the sand and pretend it's not happening.
I'm off to take another look at that list and hunt at least one of those books down - I'm proud of the freedom I have to read what I want - how about you? (I'm off the soapbox now...maybe a little caffeine jolt will calm me down...)