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Banned Books Week: In Defense of the Censored

It's that time of year, Banned Books Week. I did a post last year that explained why Banned Books Week is important (you can read that here). This year, I will probably repeat myself. I was hoping to have the review done for the Banned Book I'm reading in honor of this week, but, alas, I have been distracted and not finished that book. (I'm reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night- Time, banned in 2015 for containing offensive language, a.k.a. swearing) So you will have to read that review in the next few weeks, once I get it posted.

I get absurdly excited for Banned Books Week. I can't even really say why. Nothing about my week changes, I go to work, go home- do all of my normal things. It might be that it's an entire week focused on reading. It is also because I think acknowledging that books are still getting censored and banned today is important. I think fighting this censorship is even more important. The things that make us uncomfortable are the things that often help us to grow the most. You can't, or at least shouldn't, keep the truth and "offensive" things from being read (or watched, or listened to) simply because you don't like it. That type of thinking is what leaves the door open for all manner of things not changing. If that was how the world actually worked, we would never move forward. We would never learn another perspective. We would not be able to acknowledge that every story has at least two sides and every side believes themselves to be the correct one. 

Okay, now that I've preached a little, I've decided to end this post with quotes on banning books and censorship. Banned Books Week will be over on Saturday, but we should challenge ourselves to read and explore topics that make us uncomfortable, topics that are even banned for that reason all year. It's always good to help yourself grow by seeing a different side of something. 

Stand up for your right to read: Fight censorship by reading a banned book.

"What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.”
Salman Rushdie

“If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries. These libraries should be open to all—except the censor. We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty."

[Response to questionnaire in Saturday Review, October 29 1960]
John F. Kennedy

“Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance.”
Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak

“If there's one American belief I hold above all others, it's that those who would set themselves up in judgment on matters of what is "right" and what is "best" should be given no rest; that they should have to defend their behavior most stringently. ... As a nation, we've been through too many fights to preserve our rights of free thought to let them go just because some prude with a highlighter doesn't approve of them."

[Bangor Daily News, Guest Column of March 20, 1992]”
Stephen King

“Something will be offensive to someone in every book, so you've got to fight it.”
Judy Blume

“Yes, books are dangerous. They should be dangerous - they contain ideas.”
Pete Hautman


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