Another Banned Books week approaches and as usual the library will have a series of events dedicated to it. I connect with this week as a crusader for the right of every person to read whatever strikes their fancy. We are surrounded by people like us, who think like us, and eat like us, and live like us, and look like us. Books are one of the few places where you can shake up the culture that you are immersed in and see the world from someone else’s viewpoint.
I believe in the right to read and it pisses me off that so many people claim that books aren’t banned anymore. Not buying any books that deal with subjects that make you uncomfortable is “banning books”. I, personally, read “Fifty Shades of Gray” and thought it was a horribly written book but fun and not harmful to the fabric of society. I didn’t suddenly immerse myself in the lifestyle of a submissive after reading the book, not that I have objections to people who do, just that I’m as plain vanilla as they come. But there are libraries all over the country that haven’t purchased this book because people should read x, y, or z. In this case, people shouldn’t read smut or mommy porn or whatever you want to call it. I think people should be able to read things especially if they make them uncomfortable or are going to be disagreed with because that is the whole point of a library. Various viewpoints mixing it up together. And YOU get to decide, what you think about a book, issue or topic. Not the librarian, selector, or politician who runs your town.
Freedom of speech is more American than apple pie. I hope that this year we all read something that makes us think differently for just a bit. That’s what Banned Book Week means to me.