Monday, September 27, 2010

Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week started this week, and I'm curious to know what your thoughts are. Growing up in rural Mississippi I'm honestly surprised we were allowed to read what we did.

We read To Kill a Mockingbird in 7th grade (Looking back seems a little heavy for a 7th grade class? But I guess we all turned out okay. Right?), and I was surprised a couple of years ago when I found out it was challenged and banned in so many places. I need to give it a good re-read because I don't remember the book being overly racial.

I don't have a problem with you censoring what your child reads. The key word in that sentence is YOUR child. I get up in arms when one parent (or librarian or anyone for that matter), makes such a big deal about a book that the school or library takes it away. I also find it funny that most of the time, the parent hasn't even read the book.

I can remember my junior year of high school reading Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and a few students and parents had problems with the book, but nothing was ever done. Some parents said they didn't feel comfortable letting their child read "things like that" and they were allowed to read something else. My Mom read the book shortly before I did because she wanted to see what all the fuss was over. She apparently didn't see anything overly wrong with it, I read the book, and that was that.

Maybe my views on this topic are slightly skewed. Our only bookstore was small and super expensive, and our local library didn't have much in the way of middle grade/young adult books. I probably read The Chronicles of Narnia a dozen times and checked out every single BabySitter's Club and Sweet Valley High books more than once because that was pretty much the whole MG/YA section. I loved to read so I was forced to read adult fiction at an earlier age than most. I was probably around 12 when I read Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone. It was almost a life-changing experience for me. I realized life wasn't all unicorns pooping rainbows, and life was hard and difficult. For a parent to take that experience away from a child makes me a little sad.

With that being said, I now have PRIZES to give away! For the first five people to comment telling me about the first life-changing book they ever read, I will mail you an American Library Association Banned Books Week bookmark!

* Comment on this post telling me about a book that changed the way you looked at life (banned or not) and let me know how it bettered you as a person.
* Remember to include your email in the comment so I can get your mailing address. If an email isn't included, it doesn't count!
* This particular giveaway will be US only :(
* I only have 5 bookmarks, so only the first 5 people who comment will receive a bookmark, however please feel free to tell me your favorite life changing book!
* You do not have to be a follower or anything to enter, simply comment.

Also, do you plan on doing anything to celebrate Banned Books Week this week? I made a trip to the library this morning and came back with The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler and The Chocolate War by Cormier. I also wanted Catcher in the Rye, but it was checked out, which is good I guess! Happy reading and don't forget to enter my Smart Chicks swag giveaway!


  1. Twilight. This is the book that made me go from reading one book every other month to one a week. I would have never found out I loved reading as much as I do if it wasn't for this book.

  2. Me me me!!! I read The Giver when I was 12 in middle school and I'm sure you've heard me say this before but it was the first book that really made me think and fall in love with reading.

  3. Twilight inspired me to read and it reminded me of the passion I felt for a good story. I love to write and I wanted to write all the time after reading The Twilight Saga. And in order to write well I must read. Thanks to these books I have become a faithful reader and writer and I become even more inspired everytime I pick up a new book.


  4. Wow. So many books have changed my life. Most recently, The Hunger Games trilogy has made me think differently about war and reality tv, and how perfectly the two concepts work together (scary!). Sylvia Plath's Ariel was probably the book that made me want to be a poet, which was very life-changing. Thanks!


  5. Twilight changed my life. I realized that I was in control on the choices I made in my life. I lost 20 lbs very easily after that and started eating right and exercising.
    bkhabel at gmail dot com.

  6. I'm not entering but I am linking to this on Scribe Sisters blog later today!

  7. Funny enough, To Kill A Mockingbird is one of those books that made me really think about the way I look at people--the way others look at other people.

    Not to knock them, but the Twilight books have inspired me to take writing more seriously, because I figure I just might have a decent chance of getting published. I'd also say I went YA reading crazy after reading all of those. lol. It's been a couple years and I'm still can't read them all quickly enough!