Librarians, archivists, and bibliophiles are well represented in my family, so I’ve always enjoyed Banned Book Week.
Since many library systems are closed due to the pandemic, many of you probably can’t saunter over to your local library and see their cool “Banned Book” displays. The site does have plenty of resources to read and download — as well as the always interesting top 100 books challenged or banned.
That list also provides me with one of my annual activities: reading one of the books on the list that I haven’t read before. This year, it’s Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, one of those well-regarded books I’ve missed.
If you are looking for something insidious to do this week that will possibly expose you to some new perspectives and definitely piss off The Man, I highly recommend it.
Continuing Banned Book Week, Ron Charles and his editor conspired to give Ron’s essay the incendiary title “Do we really still need Banned Books Week?”
In fact, he even starts giving you umbrage fuel in the first paragraph, but then he talks to the people who and whaddya know?
Yup. People will be people and some people will always think that your dainty mind needs protection (see also, Monday’s post).
Image via EmilyQuotes.com
As friends know on social media, I’m a big fan of Banned Book Week that occurs every Fall. Given that people continue to challenge books and, really, are only looking out for you, whomever you might be, I find it a good tradition to continue. Several members of my family are or were librarians — and I well remember challenges to books growing up from parents who were worried our dainty minds would be perverted by various books.
I generally always try and read a banned or challenged book during this week. Last year, it was The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, which is delightfully profane in the best possible way you want from a book. It left me thinking a lot about identity, masculinity, and race that I’m sure made many people concerned. I mean what if someone younger had asked the wrong question or came up with the wrong answer? More than that, conversations might have erupted, including two-way conversations. Very troublesome.
A lot of libraries have a display up this week to give you some ideas about a banned book to pick up, so do drop by. Ask a librarian for some recommendations. The equivalent of a Jane Austen villain will be entirely put out by you doing so, and isn’t that reward enough?