Sep 30, 2012

Banned Book Week 2012

Well, it's the last day of September which must mean it's Banned Books Week!! This year marks the thirtieth year since the ALA created banned books week as a means to fight against censorship. Down with censorship!! (haha, I feel like saying that is a weird meta of censoring censorship . . .) Really, the ALA calls it "the Freedom to Read," which is actually a great way of putting it.

Last year I wrote a blog post about how I feel about societal censorship. I say that I personally choose which books I feel comfortable reading or not, and I always feel that that is a personal decision. For example, as I was trying to find a book to read this week, I researched a certain book that is considered quite a classic. After reading about why it was banned, as well as several synopses, I decided that it wasn't the sort of book I wanted to be reading. But I wouldn't stop others from reading it.

Which brings me to what I have decided to read this week. I wanted to read a book that was relatively new to the "challenging/banning" game. I know of two this last year. The first was A Study in Scarlet, the first Sherlock Holmes mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This was banned from the school on the grounds of the negative picture it paints of Mormons. I read this book before the school in Virginia banned it, and, as a Mormon, I found it hilarious in all it's inaccuracies. As, as someone who has studied literature, I knew how Victorians felt about Mormons and was able to use that as a point of reference. I appreciate that someone realized that this was not a good introduction to the religion, but I also feel that it would have been the perfect opportunity to discuss what is a major American religion (and part of the history of this country) in a positive, historical way. In no way did they have to preach the gospel, but talk about historical inaccuracies, and why Conan Doyle would have portrayed Mormons the way he did. That's the amazing thing about literature--it opens up a conversation! How said that the parents and teachers didn't take that opening.

The second book that was challenged in the past year was Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. This actually ended in the suspension of the teacher. This is the book that I will be reading this week. The book was challenged on pornography issues, but no one I know that has read it says there is any such thing. And these are people I trust. Nor does the little I know about the book lend itself to pornography. So I went out (last month before my "no spend month" started) and bought the book.

There are links in last year's post to lists of banned books, or you can go to the ALA website for more information. Please read a banned book and fight for the freedom to read!


  1. Ender's Game is a fantastic book. If you've read anything by Orson Scott Card, you'll sort of know what you're getting into (language, etc.) and it's a little disconcerting to "see" children in the situations that they're put into, but if you survived Hunger Games, you can definitely read Ender's Game. Clark read it for the first time two years ago and wondered how he'd missed out his entire life. I highly recommend it (especially because you're an adult). And, uh, I never thought there was a pornography thing going on. Just children and war.

  2. I read A Study in Scarlet, which I'd read years ago and had been meaning to read again. Oh, boy... So hilariously wrong!