Today (September 30, 2012) kicks off the American Library Association (ALA)’s annual Banned Books Week. It is the celebration of books that have faced censors, bowdlerizers, and many an angry parent. Books have been banned or challenged in schools across the United States for all sorts of reasons (some of them outright ridiculous – like To Kill a Mockingbird being banned for racism). As a 26 year old writer, there is little that has been more influential in my life than books – indeed, I’d name the three subjects that interest me the most as feminism, theology, and literature – with banned books frequently crossing between all of those. In undergraduate education, I would probably say the class that influenced me the most was a month-long January term class called “Banned Books.
It is an unfortunate truth that most of the book banning crusaders in the US are conservative Christians. And it is even more unfortunate that many in these groups trying to ban other perspectives from the classroom are often the first to cry persecution when someone enforces separation of church and state.
Books are one of the most subversive forms of art we have access to – you sit with books for a long time and each reader’s experience is different. Keeping them free and uncensored is vitally important to progressive movements and to the advancement of society.
So, in honor of Banned Books week, I’m announcing a blogging link-up.
Throughout this week, I will be posting once a day about banned books that have affected/changed my life in some way. What I want from you is one post (please, just one post per person) about what reading a banned book means to you. On Friday, I will post a master list of links to your posts – a massive compendium of discussion about why freedom of speech – especially with the written form – is absolutely necessary. In the vein of ALA’s theme this year, think of this as a “50 Blogger Salute to Banned Books!”
So this is my challenge: you have until midnight on Thursday to write and post your entry and email me a link with the subject "Banned Books Link Up." I ask for email because I will not otherwise be able to keep this organized!
Here is a list of the ALA’s most banned or challenged books for the past decade, and here’s a list of banned/challenged classics. Find one you like and tell me about how it affected your life (be sure to look into why it was banned!).
You ready? Start writing!