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Discussion: Book Censorship

Hey all, Dani here.

I feel like I’m stuck in a cycle of late nights and very long and busy days. So yesterday Damian and I worked our usual 10 hour shift, went home and finished packing, drove three hours to Cincinnati, and then ended up working on booth setup at Cincinnati Comic Expo for another hour and half. Then we still had a few more crafting and blogging tasks to finish up before bed. So all in all our Thursday was wake up at 4am and go to bed close to midnight.

Since I prepped this post a little in advance, I can’t tell you how my day has been today, but I’ll just say that we were up at 6am and at the convention center by 8am to continue with setup. The VIPs were allowed in at 2pm, and everyone else at 3pm, and the show floor will close at 8pm. That is another very long day. Hopefully it has been a good one.

Anyway, back to the actual topic of conversation for today: you know it’s time for another discussion topic, and I’m going with something eventful and relevant. That’s right. Let’s talk about book censorship and banning books.

Banned Books Week is September 22-28 this year, and so it only makes sense that I focus my discussion this week on this topic. It’s also increasingly seeming to become a more prevalent issue in the book community as well.

I’ve talked about this week before (2016, 2017, 2018), why books are banned, and even recommended some banned or challenged books.

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This is an immensely important program, honestly. The fact of the matter is that most books that are challenged within schools and/or libraries are done by people who haven’t actually read the book. They have instead heard things about the book and have decided since they find that reason to be inappropriate that nobody should be able to have easy access to that material.

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I think I saw it on Facebook or Twitter, but recently there was a school or some other facility–sorry I can’t really remember at the moment because it’s been a really long day–decided that they were going to remove Harry Potter from the shelves because reading the spells out loud would literally cause magic to happen or steal a person’s soul, or whatever wildly fantastical idea they used in their argument.

Just…wow. Even trying to think how to formulate a proper well-reasoned and rationalized response to that just ends with me baffled. So I’ll just let you guys form your own opinions on that matter.

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 347 challenges to library, school and university materials and services in 2018. Of the 483 books challenged or banned in 2018, the Top 11 Most Challenged Books are:

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Oh, and 2018 in book censorship was the year that a person who was a religious activist burned four LGBT books, and then over 200 books were then donated to the Orange City Iowa Public Library, so boo to that jerkface burning books, but I give a definite digital high five to everyone who helped to donate books to libraries because of it.

It just greatly upsets me that there are people out there who think that simply because they don’t agree with something that it should be taken away from everyone else. Look, if you don’t like a certain type of romance or religion or race or whatever in a book then I have a very simple solution for you: don’t read it. That’s it. You don’t need to do anything else other than to make the decision to not pick up the book.

Now that doesn’t mean that you should tear pages out of the book, burn it, hide it, complain about it, or anything else. Let the people who actually do want to read the book read the book. It’s really not that difficult.

Have I mentioned most of this in my previous Banned Books Week posts? Well, probably, but I guess I’m going to keep saying it, over and over again, until either I’m dead or book censorship is dead.

Just let people read the books they want to read.

Anyway, for more information, check out the American Library Association’s page for Banned Books Week.

That is all from me for today, but I will be back soon with more bookish content.

10 thoughts on “Discussion: Book Censorship”

  1. This is such an important post – I’d somehow never heard of Banned Books Week so thank you for letting me know! Sounds like you’ve had a crazy couple of days, hope you get to have a bit of a break soon (and a lie-in!) Take care of yourself ❤️
    📕MP📚 X

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Firstly, I hope you get some nice, relaxing time soon.
    This is a really great post – I think it’s a shame when such great books are challenged and seen as inappropriate, simply for doing what books do best – telling stories and expanding minds! T.H.U.G was one of the best novels I’ve read in a long, long time. And, ah, it’s really not shocking the amount of books banned for LGBT characters, is it? I wonder what the same statistics would look like the UK? Might be something I look into.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Like…logically, it shouldn’t be as bad here, but there’s been some protests outside British primary schools recently due to teaching kids about LGBT relationships. I can’t imagine how that would have benefited some kids I went to school with, who would have been able to see themselves reflected better in literature

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Totally. I will have to try and do some research on this. It would make for an intriguing future post. So I’m going to start gathering data.

        I think everyone should be able to see themselves in characters and in stories, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexuality, etc.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. In general I totally agree books shouldn’t be banned! Especially because most of the reasons are stupid! (did someone really think the HP spells would work?!?!? Thats actually pretty hilarious 😀 ) I know this is a super unpopular opinion, but I’m not completely opposed to restricting some books under very specific circumstances. Mostly by the age of the reader. There are some books that kids shouldn’t read without at least their parents being aware of it. I am ok with these books not being in school libraries because it should be up to the parents to determine if their kid is mature enough to read it. However I don’t think these books should be restricted based on Gender, Sexual Preference, Religion, or Race. They should only be restricted based on Violence, Rape, Sex, and other things that could be detrimental or disturbing to a child.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It isn’t just an age thing, though. It is a maturity thing. I was reading books shelves in adult fiction when I was like 10. My mom signed a waiver at the library and everything. But that isn’t technically censorship, because the books are still available on the shelves. I am specifically referring to people who believe that since they don’t approve of what they think is in the book, that nobody should be able to access it. A parent should absolutely be aware of what their child or children are reading, and based on what their child’s aptitude and maturity to handle is, then they can restrict reading options as necessary.

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      1. I’m lucky that my mom didn’t really police my reading. If I found something I didn’t understand or something that concerned me, I could always go and talk to her about it, which was cool, but otherwise she let me read whatever sounded interesting to me. Looking back on it, I probably read quite a bit that was absolutely inappropriate for my age, but I guess I didn’t fully comprehend some of the truly violent or sexual events. I enjoyed everything else in the story, and that’s what I remember.

        Liked by 1 person

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