Monday, February 12, 2007

Literature and Banned Books

I finished reading The Color Purple and WOW, it was one of the better novels I've tackled this year... Now getting started on She's Come Undone, by Wally Lamb (yet another wonderful book recommended by my dear sister). One interesting thing I've noted about my reading in the past year has been that many of my selections are on The American Library Association's list of most commonly challenged or banned books. I understand the reason why some of these books are frequently challenged, but some of them are at the least innocuous and at best many of them are exceptional literature. Like my sister I may not agree with some of the content in these books but I fully support one's right to read them if they choose. If you really delve into this issue and find out more concerning the entries on the banned/challenged book list (better yet, read them for yourself) you will note how many stories and tomes are considered to be subversive or dangerous (by a select few); having had formal complaints filed about them and sustained efforts to remove them from the shelves of our local libraries; all because someone disagrees with the theme or messages that they contain. It scares me how many people want a free country yet are unwilling to entertain the notion that consumption of literature and ideas, free of censorship, is part of that freedom. (I will note that I believe there are absolutes here... for example I would NOT advocate free access to things such as instructional manuals which detailed how to make psychotropic drugs or explosive substances from common household chemicals.)

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