On the Banning of Books

I’ve decided to join a blog hop! My friend Trina over at An Old Flame is hosting a hop that’s all about books, and since I really enjoy chatting a) with adults (ohmygosh, I’m starved for adult conversation these days!) and b) about literature, I’m in! I think it’ll be fun–if you’re interested in joining, click here:

An Old Flame

This week’s question:

We’re at the tail end of Banned Books Week. Is there ever a reason, in your opinion, to rightfully ban a book?

I have a hard time with the idea of banned books. Anytime I look at a list of books that have been banned from school libraries, I’m shocked at the books I love and consider great literature that are on the list. To Kill a Mockingbird? Alice in Wonderland? Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer? We’ve got problems, friends. Consider the silly kerfuffle in previous years over Harry Potter: it became apparent to me after reading articles and interviews that many of the parents and teachers screaming most loudly for its banning had never even read the books. It makes me sad and angry that we’re so willingly and willfully ignorant at times.

I will say that there are a few books on the banned lists that I would, personally, uncomfortable with reading. But the thing is, I don’t have to read them. My distress over the idea of banning stems at a deeper level–restricting access to information can become dangerous quickly, and I have always believed that the responsibility for boundaries and any necessary restrictions for my children and in my own life lies with me. The idea of relinquishing that kind of responsibility or power to schools or governments is unnecessary, and at the very worst, has the potential for great danger.

And so I will continue to support freedom of information. I will also continue to support discernment, and a love for great literature in my home. I only hope that my children will learn from me that there is so much joy to be found from learning from the best books.

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4 thoughts on “On the Banning of Books

  1. Hia. Thanks for visiting my post on this. I think we pretty much have the same stand on banned books. Some of my favourite books are on the list too and I can’t understand why, I think you’re right that quite often those trying to ban a book haven’t actually read it, and that makes things even worse- at least in my opinion.

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  2. I am struggling so much right now with the idea of banning books or any other medium of information. On a personal and individual level the idea of restricting anyone’s access to information is dangerous. What will be the moral compass by which any information is deemed inappropriate.

    Then there is a part of me, and perhaps this is because my husband has now been away from our family for eight months in Afghanistan, that I think about our national and international responsibilities. We, as Americans, embrace our right to freedom vehemently. What if though, our freedoms and liberties, bring us to infringe upon the beliefs of others, the lives of others, people who don’t share our beliefs? We take a stance that it doesn’t matter. It is our right. However, if a book were published in another country that revealed US intelligence information, we would be all over the banning of that information. When our safety is at stake, our attitudes towards freedom and liberty change. We change our attitudes about who and what should be free, if our liberty is at stake. It is conflicting and not as black and white as I once believed.

    With the ability for individuals to self-publish and use technology to disseminate far-reaching information, who are the gatekeepers? Do we need them? In the past, perhaps they were publishers, who simply wouldn’t put their names behind a work that was just too dangerous or too controversial, but no one needs them now.

    My thoughts are all over the place on this. I don’t believe in book banning, but I guess I am wondering what the meaning of freedom really is. As free as we believe ourselves to be, we are still governed by rules, laws, religions. We have and ask for boundaries that guide our attitudes and prohibit certain behaviors….. Ugh.

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  3. Truly, the only books I want to ban are the ones which are so badly written that I feel I should be able to bill the author and publisher for all those hours I’ll never get back.

    Write what you love, write about your passions and the things that make you want to scream, write about thoughts/dreams/ideas/philosophies that make me squirm… but for goodness sake, write WELL!

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