Last month, libraries and bookstores around the country celebrated Banned Book Week. They had graphics and clever displays done to encourage readers to read banned books. This week has been celebrated since 1982. Its sole purpose is to encourage readers to look at literary pieces that have been challenged in the past as well as, promote the freedom of intellectual pieces to be shared all across the world.
We have seen books be banned for hundreds of years. Many books that we commonly hear of us classics, we once banned for one reason or another, such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and The Catcher in the Rye.
If these are classics, then why were they ever banned? And in present time, where we have more individual freedoms and acceptance than ever before, why are books still being banned? Who makes these decisions and why do we not challenge them more? I looked over a list my university library had posted during Banned Books Week and many of these old stories were still being challenged, plus some newer books that I have read and was amazed someone would think does not need to have a place in a library. I have also watched several talented authors have their books banned from Amazon, Barnes and Noble or other retailers recently.
But with all of the controversy floating around, my biggest question is simply, why? Why are these books such a big deal? Why do we think people should not have access to pieces that someone spent hours and hours working on? Why do we feel the need to determine what people should and should not be allowed to read? And why does it matter?
I totally understand the age appropriateness factor, but as adults, we should be allowed to decide for ourselves what we can handle and what we cannot. There is literally a genre out there for everyone. If one is not for you, then why can you not just stay away from it? I mean, there are tons of books about gay dinosaurs out there for crying out loud!
The other day I started to think of a documentary that is coming out soon about two brother who slaughtered their parents. This is one of the most anticipated releases coming up. We also have crime shows, shows on how people started murdering people, shows about people being arrested for obscene things.
How can we be so excited for shows like this, when some are based on REAL life events and then throw a fit until someone's FICTIONAL piece of work is taken away from readers because we didn't like word choices, a scene was too graphic, or it wasn't for us?
Something to think about in the future if you ever think a book should be unpublished and out of anyone's access to read. Or when you turn on that show about the world's most famous murderer.