Banned Books Week is upon us once again! I think it’s important to talk about banned books as a society. People have had a long tradition of trying to censor stories and ideas that they don’t agree with or as a way of controlling the populace. But without a lot of those stories or reports, society wouldn’t be shaped in the way it is today. I think it’s incredibly important to read books that challenge your opinions or present new ideas to you. How else do you grow as a person?
If you always have the same opinions and never allow new thoughts and ideas into your life, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Yes, it’s scary to allow those new thoughts and ideas into your life, but who knows? Maybe because you open your mind, you create the next great American novel or discover a hidden artist within you or develop the passion that makes life worth living.
I’ll step off my soapbox now. This is something I still have to remind myself of. When I hit a rut and feel like I’m just going through the motions of life (like I have been), that’s where I know I need to shake things up and challenge myself again. It’s one reason I enjoy writing these blog posts, despite receiving little feedback or interaction with readers. These posts force me to do some research, to put my thoughts to–well, screen– and learn more about topics I’m passively enjoying, but not actively partaking in. I still have a lot of room as a person to grow, which is why I still need to read banned or challenged books as well. I took a look at the Ten Most Challenged Books Lists from 2001 to 2018 to see what caught my fancy:
- The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
- Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (I believe I’ve watched the animated version of this, but I’d really like to read it.)
- Looking for Alaska by John Green
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (A friend is letting me borrow her copy, so I’ll probably read it when I finish Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.)
- Drama by Raina Telgemeier (This appears to be a graphic novel instead of a book. Interesting.)
I’m glad that, in looking through most of these lists, it appears I’ve already read a decent number of banned books without realizing it: His Dark Materials (one of my all-time favorite series); The Color Purple; Harry Potter; and others.
What are you going to challenge yourself with?
(Logo artwork courtesy of the American Library Association, www.ala.org)