Sadly, it’s Banned Books Week. As much fun as library school students have celebrating by hosting banned books read-outs and happy hours (you now know where I’ll be on Friday afternoon), this shouldn’t have to be commemorated.
It’s shocking to see what amazing books are commonly banned.
Some of these books made me look inside and assess my character. There is To Kill a Mockingbird, the novel that introduced me to Atticus and Scout Finch. Where would I be without Atticus’ unwavering, quietly brave moral compass and Scout’s spirited companionship? Would I be brave enough to break away from a emotionally dead but safe world as Jonas does in The Giver? And thanks to Fahrenheit 451, I’m more aware of all dangers of book banning (no wonder book banners want it banned!)
Some books that simply transported me away. I’m looking at you A Wrinkle in Time, Harry Potter, and, well, Goosebumps.
And then there were illicit reads. I was a pretty tame kid. Too timid to break the rules, I stayed to the straight and narrow – good grades, no drinking, no drugs…not even a sneaked cigarette. Yeah, goody two shoes, I know. Where did I let myself indulge my bad girl yearnings? Like all good bookworms, in my books!
As my parents are liberal, awesome people who always believed in letting me make my own decisions, I’m sure they didn’t really care what I read. But for me? Oh, I felt bad. Some of these books had bad words, mentions of boobs and even S-E-X. Sure I felt bad, but also independent and grown-up which I think are some of the important components for building self-esteem. I had the choice about what to read. I could make other choices about my life. Basic, yes, but still…I had agency.
So, thank you to Judy Blume for introducing me to the idea of “I MUST. I MUST. I MUST INCREASE MY BUST.” Oh, thank you also for Summer Sisters, which ended up being a very adult book for a 13 year old. I tried to hide that book for an awfully long time after reading it. Thank you to J.D. Salinger for teaching me the importance of curse words…which is pretty much the only thing I remember about The Catcher in the Rye.
And when I was a little older, there was that Erotic Literature class I took in college. Um, thank you to Lady Chatterley and Fanny Hill and others for teaching me things. So many things.
So, Go! Read a banned book! Read something a little challenging, a little surprising, and maybe even a little dirty. It’s your duty as a reader this week!
Or, if you really are just too busy, listen to the most beautiful , sexy sexy sexy reading of Molly Bloom’s soliloquy from Ulysses, a book that has actually been burned. You will feel better for it, I promise.
and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.