I am only just in time to post during Banned Books Week (which ends today) but I applaud this initiative against blinkered individuals and groups who have sought and still seek to dictate what people should be allowed to read.
Recent challenges to popular teen fiction titles like the Hunger Games trilogy and the Twilight saga (for being sexually explicit and unsuited to the age group) indicate that this battle against bigotry and narrow-minded thinking is still raging.
What we are talking about here has nothing to do with simply outlawing books that are poorly written or manipulative (although they may include such titles).
According to the Office for Intellectual Freedom, at least 46 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century have been the target of ban attempts.
What often makes a book controversial is the fact that it challenges perceived norms and conventions. This is what makes them so valuable and so vulnerable.
There is no place for such censorship in any society that claims to stand for freedom of speech and to value democracy.
One of the key principles here can be summed up by the quote widely attributed to Voltaire: `I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”.
- Banned Books Week – Sept 24 – Oct 1 (rochpublibrary.wordpress.com)
- Banned Books Week (mamasbitchin.com)
- Banned Books Week – Celebrating the Freedom to Read (dublinlibrary.wordpress.com)