Talk to Me Tuesday is a brand new weekly meme where we will discuss anything (and everything) literary-related in an open forum of honesty. Questions for the next week will be posted one week prior to the post on the Features page. If you'd like to participate in this weekly feature, simply create your post, link back to me, and add your post to the wonderful Mr. Linky below. Have fun, and have at it!
This week's question: How do you feel about book banning and censorship?
Let me preface this post by saying that all I’m about to say is of my own personal and humble opinions. If you’re offended by what I have to say, don’t read it…and with that, I think that leads pretty well into the Talk to Me Tuesday topic of the day. We’re in a day and age where people seem to think that book censorship and banning is productive, or at the very least, useful. If you don’t believe me, you’ve probably been hiding under a rock. Some of the most powerful authors have had their books come under attack because of the content being deemed “offensive.” Now, I’m a conservative Catholic with a strong and pretty sheltered upbringing, but I can firmly state that I am completely opposed to book banning and censorship.
Take, for example, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. It’s the story of a young girl learning to overcome her rape which, obviously, was brutal and traumatic. She lashes out. She’s angry, and yet, she overcomes. There are some people, however, that have called Speak a work of filth and “soft-core porn.” So where do you draw the line? The book educates teens about the importance of raising your voice for yourself. It expresses the need for self-worth and overcoming. Other books like Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler are criticized for being “loose,” as well, and while I’m not one for the casual sex scenario, that’s really not the point of the book.
Then, you have people banning books like the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. This series has been challenged and banned based on its fairly blatant criticism of organized religion. As a devoutly religious person, yes, I recognize the references, and sure, I’m not the biggest fan, but aren’t we all entitled to our opinions? Reading The Golden Compass at surface-level only let me enjoy the world the author created without being offended by the opinions or religious context. In the same breath, Harry Potter is being challenged in many areas because of the, and I quote “Pagan” context. Really? That’s utter ignorance.
Danna from Friendly Reader says, “I hate book banning and censorship. It’s stupid, and there’s really no need for it.”
Aimee from Coffee Table Press says, “Society shouldn’t be able to tell people what they are and aren’t allowed to read based on what they think is inappropriate.”
John from Dreaming Reviews says, “It’s douchery. People ban books because they’re ignorant of the content and misinterpret them to meet a twisted agenda.”
Ashley from What’s Your Story Book Reviews says, “Book banning is the product of extreme ignorance. Some people can’t see the true message, so they shun it.”
Ivy from Ivy's Updates says, “I think it can’t be something one person decides. Every parent and every individual has the right to decide for themselves what is and isn’t right for them and their children.”
Here’s what I really mean to say: Not everyone is going to like every book. Not every book is going to be appropriate for every audience. However, if you are only reading a book to harp on the small details that should be overshadowed by the purpose of the book, perhaps you shouldn’t be reading it to begin with. Yes, there are some books I’d rather not read based on their content, but I have the right to make an informed decision, and an author should have the right to write their own stories. So, you don't like a book? Nobody is forcing you to read it, so don't force others NOT to read it. Just a thought... always remember to #speakloudly.
Want to weigh in and do your own Talk to Me Tuesday post for this week? Go ahead and link up!