As you can see, my blog has been silent these last few months, but what better way celebrate my return to blogging than with my annual rant on censorship?
A little history: Banned Book week is celebrated the last full week of September each year. Founded in 1982 by First Amendment Activist, Judith Krug, it's goal is to highlight how important our freedom of speech and freedom of the press is to every American under the First Amendment. It's now sponsored by the American Library Association and the Center for Books in the Library of Congress.
Conservative and religious groups voice their strong opinions, but the number one group(s) who challenge books are parents and School Board members. Each year, PABBIS (Parents Against Bad Books in School) releases a list of books that don't meet with their approval. The reasons books are banned aren’t shocking: The top five are sex, profanity, racism, the occult and homosexuality, including books with trans-gender characters.
The updated list of Banned Books each year is compiled at the end of the year and released in April of the following year. So Banned Books Week 2018 speaks to the books that were challenged for 2017.
However, this year we may have a head's up on a book that will probably make the list for 2018, because earlier this month it made headlines.
On September 14th of this year, Donna Crocker, Director of Morgan County Library in Berkley Spring, WV, decided not to shelf FEAR, by Bob Woodward. A local resident tried to donate a free copy of the new Woodward book, but the library declined his offer saying "they wouldn't be putting books like that on the shelves anymore."
But Ms. Crocker lost in the end, thanks to Connie Perry, the President of the Trustees of the library, who said, “The board didn’t know anything about this,” Perry told the Post. “We have corrected that. The book has been accepted, in fact, two of them.”
This is the central problem and why Banned Book Week started. The fact that one person, or one group, be it political, religious or parental, feel they have the right to regulate what the population can and can't read based on their own personal preferences, goes against the First Amendment and is blatant censorship. Here's the link to to the story if anyone is interested.
The solution is as simple as the Golden Rule. Read whatever you like and while never taking away another person's right read to what they like (just because you don't agree with it).
Here's the list for the most challenged books of 2017. Are any of your favorites on the list? A few of mine are. I loved THE KITE RUNNER, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (makes the list almost every year) and TANGO MAKES THREE (back on the list after a 3 year hiatus).
Every year I try to read a banned book that I haven't read. Last year I read The Picture of Dorian Gray. Loved it. I had seen the movie, but never read the book. I haven't picked one yet for the this year? Any suggestions?