Banned books week 30th anniversary
Books open minds. The ideas in them change lives. Perhaps this is why so many are banned or challenged each year. Small minds fear learning. They slam shut their covers and burn with the knowledge that only *their* approved ideas are acceptable. A truly free society and people welcome new ideas; knowing that growth comes from them.
A personal cause
Reading is the primary way I get information and learn. Books have inspired me, changed me, provoked and motivated me. They continue to open up new realms to my imagination, freeing me.
You see, I wasn’t able to read well until a special reading school provided me the key to reading comprehension. When that door opened, it blew the hinges off my mind. I was never restricted by my parents, or others from reading anything I choose. I’ve never restricted my sons or anyone I know. Only by being open to new ideas do we open ourselves to growth.
Banned books in the 20th c
Not everyone believes in the freedom to read whatever you choose. As a matter of fact, there are challenges and attempts to ban many important works of literature. According to the American Library Association (ALA), many classic works of 20th century fiction and literature are on this list:
1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
Interestingly, The Great Gatsby was challenged most recently, according to the ALA,
Challenged at the Baptist College in Charleston, SC (1987) because of “language and sexual references in the book.”
A challenge against banned books
This week, practice one of the essential human freedoms and read a book. Go further. Be defiant and read a banned book from the classic books list of most frequently challenged titles. Your mind will be improved and probably your life too, if you welcome new ideas, new perspectives and ideas different than the ones you “accept.”
Photo illustration based on image by flickr creative commons user kate hiscock / slightly everything.