I was talking with my roommate the other day on how to spice things up with this blog. I thought about writing a bookish post on book banning, since I’m a huge advocate for fighting against book banning and this excessive need to censor everything. That’s when she came up with an even more brilliant idea – why not have multiple posts that discuss various banned books?!
With this in mind, I’ve decided to do an introductory blog post regarding this new irregular post…Let’s Talk Banned Books.
Book banning, burning, and purging has been around for thousands of years. According to the Freedom to Read webpage, a Roman poet by the name of Ovid was banished for writing The Art of Love in 8 A.D.; this poem would, along with Ovid’s other works, be burned in Florence (1497) and banned by United States Customs (1928). In another instance in 1624, the Pope ordered Martin Luther’s German translation of the Bible be burned.
This isn’t a new thing – book banning and burning. Yet censorship and the legality of book banning has altered. This is a lot of information and changes depending on country, even state/province! Overall though, the reasons for books to be challenged and banned tend to remain similar. Thus, this post will simply give some brief oversights regarding book banning and reasons for books to be challenged in the first place. Here we go!
What are challenged and banned books?
According to the American Library Association (ALA):
- Banned: When books are removed from a library and/or school curriculum
- Challenged: The process upon which a person or group of people attempt to remove book(s) from the library and/or school curriculum
Some of the books I’ll discuss in the Let’s Talk Banned Books posts will be banned in some areas, yet still being challenged in others. Thus, the definitions may overlap.
Why are books challenged or banned in the first place?
Good question – really, why?!
Well, the Office of Intellectual Freedom believes the top three reasons books are challenged are due to the material in question is sexually explicit, contains offensive language, and/or is unsuited to any age group. Well, this is broad…Word Cloud time!
This Word Cloud, provided by the Syracuse University Library, is an excellent demonstration as to what these three reasons really include.
When do we draw the line? What happens when something is offensive to one group of people, but not to another? How can we ban a book when it is offensive to do so in the first place?
How are the “Let’s Talk Banned Books” posts going to work?
The layout will be relatively similar to a book review post. This will include:
- Cover Art Image: linked to Goodreads page
- Basic Information: title, series title, author, publisher, publication date
- Appeal Factors: age group and genre(s)
- Synopsis: taken from the back of the book or the Goodread’s page
- Thoughts: where the book is banned and/or challenged, list of reasons for the banning, and a very brief section on my personal thoughts
The topics that may come from these challenged and/or banned book talks are meant to inspire, drawing conversations and thoughts on challenged and banned books. However, some issues are sensitive and may cause some individuals to be uncomfortable. I’ll attempt to keep this as minimal as possible.
Let’s be clear – I will not tolerate any comments that are blatantly offensive to another persons comment, for the intentions of Bookmark Your Thoughts is to provide a safe place for bookworms to share their thoughts. There may be disagreements and some heated discussions, but purposefully targeting someone in order to be a foul individual is not permitted here. If I offend anyone in these discussions, please message me immediately.
Again, I’m pretty much against book banning of any kind. There are lessons we can take from all books, even the most hated and disturbing ones – we learn to better improve ourselves by knowing our past mistakes and faults. Besides, with the amount of information on the internet nowadays, there really is no way to restrict everything. My hopes for these talks is mainly to nurture a safe place to discuss thoughts and feelings towards censorship, book banning, and book challenges.