Thursday, October 4, 2007

Staying Power

Wow, I'm not sure how follow such fabulous posts on this very important issue. Francesca did a wonderful job of introducing the topic. Until recently, I never gave much thought to the idea of banned books other than to laugh at the absurdity of someone pushing their beliefs down our throats.

I mean, if it offends you, don't read it. Don't let your kids read it if you don't want them to be exposed to whatever it is that's affronted your sensibilities. But, don't--do not--presume to think EVERYONE feels as you do. Now, I could get into the whole freedom of speech and expression issue here. But, I'm not going to. I think there is something deeper going on.

As Lori listed in her post, and most of us--even the ones who don't do much reading--know, many of the books listed are actually classics. Titles that have even worked to pave the way for change in our society and how we view situations and each other. But, I noticed something else. Many of the books listed are not only controversial, but also long-time best sellers. They seem to have staying power.

I wonder, does being on the banned book list make them more desirable to certain people? More intriguing? Are they still best sellers because of what they represent? Or would they have just faded into the background, as so many other equally wonderful books do after time, if they hadn't been challenged? What do you think?

~Sandra Barkevich


  1. I think it's a bit of both. I remember there was a huge outcry when the movie "The Last Temptation of Christ" was released.

    The movie had a fantastic opening weekend money wise, yet the movie itself was mediocre at best (or so the critics said) One has to wonder, if they hadn't said anything and just let the movie die a natural death, would it have done so well at the box office?

    On the other hand, challenged or not, I still would be a huge fan of Harry Potter. That's just good reading.


  2. Oh! I hear ya on Harry Potter, Maggie. It makes me laugh that it would even be challenged. In fact, it makes me laugh that any of the books on the list were challenged. But, I never did understand the whole concept. If you don't like it or agree with it, don't read it.

    Sandy ;-)
    Sandra Barkevich - Romance Author
    *October 2007,at Sandra's Goings On - NEW CONTEST!

  3. I don't know, but I think that's really interesting, if books get more readers because they get banned. Maybe the whole thing is a trick to get teenagers to read?

    Jody W.

  4. Good point,Sandy. wouldn't it be nice if some of us had that smae staying power in the future?

  5. I agree with's both. They would still be classics, I think. But they continue to generate so many new readers in part because of the mystique surrounding books that are challenged frequently. The great thing is, if a teen reads it because it's on the list, they might actually think about WHY it might have been banned afterwards. An English teacher's dream!

  6. Sandra,
    Great catch. I don't think it fueled the Harry Potter craze, but whenever a book or movie is "banned" or challenged or picketed, there is a popularity bounce. Maybe I ought to pray one of my books is challenged in a library somewhere? :-)

    Still, I don't understand the mentality that would try to decide what is right for them is right for all. I probably never will.


    PS. I think the "Last Temptation of Christ" was excellent - a bit longwinded in spots - but overall I really enjoyed it.