Sometimes, living in (or under, if not necessarily in) a country that has very little government regulation of printed material, it’s easy to forget about all the places in the world that keep strict hold of their publishing houses. As an adult no longer involved in the education system, it’s easy to forget that there are people actively working to keep certain books out of schools and universities. It’s easy to forget that in some places, people are jailed, abused, their entire lives stripped away, because they wrote something contrary to either their government or the religious majority.
More recently, at least in the United States, books are ostracized or banned because they “are often about people and issues which include LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities—people or issues that, perhaps, challengers would prefer not to consider,” according to a blog post by Maggie Jacoby. Words that make the majority uncomfortable. Words that might challenge the status quo.
The American Library Association started keeping track of books that were repeatedly being flagged in the 1990s. Since then (and throughout history) there has been a shift in what calls a book into question. It used to be more focused on race, sex, and language. Now it’s more about diversity in lifestyle and realism in children’s and YA books.
To me, the point of Banned Books Week is to celebrate the freedom for everyone to express themselves. If my beliefs or my lifestyle is so unstable that I can’t even let people READ a book that shows another path of thought, that might just mean I need to reevaluate. Books that challenge our preconceived ideas have been some of the most instrumental in history, helping to shift thought on racism, sexuality, religion, and a myriad of other topics. I’m linking below to several interesting lists of books that have been banned or censored…some of the titles totally surprised me, I had no idea some of these were controversial at one point in time! Of course, I totally remember when the religious right was convinced Harry Potter was the end of the world and my mom refused to let me go back to one family’s house after seeing the books on their shelves. Haha. I’m sure this didn’t at all affect my desire to go out and read every book on these lists. 😛 Rebellious child, much?
Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2015 – The Bible, haha…well, I guess THAT has come full circle. While I understand objecting to being forced to read a religious book as a standard for living, I personally don’t object to them as literature. It’s a frame of reference. It helps (maybe?) me understand where people are coming from. This goes for ANY religious text, in my opinion.
Frequently Challenged YA Books – this list really needs to be by title, not author…my eyes are crossing, but it’s extremely thorough, haha. Since when is The Handmaid’s Tale a YA, though? And The Witch of Blackbird Pond, really, how dare they. One of my favorite books from childhood…somehow I managed to get this one past my mom and I swear I read it 10 times at least.
Best Banned, Censored, and Challenged Books – as voted by GoodReads users. No real surprise here…best way to make a book popular is to attempt to ban it, I swear.
I’ll have at least one more Banned Books post this week. This is a topic really near and dear to my heart! What’s your favorite banned/censored/questioned book? Have you read very many from these lists?