Recognized by booksellers and librarians across the nation and promoted by the American Library Association (ALA), readers are encouraged to think about intellectual freedom and freedom of expression through books.
According to the ALA, Banned Books Week also
celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them.
Me, it makes me want to read banned or frequently challenged books. Visit the ALA Web site for a list of challenged books over the years.
What, may you ask, is considered a banned or challenged book? You'd be surprised. Well, some you wouldn't because they're old hat: The Color Purple, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Of Mice and Men, A Wrinkle in Time.
Then, there are the ones you could see coming — Heather Has Two Mommies, Daddy's Roommate — because they introduce ideas and lifestyles that some people don't agree with expressing or revealing. (The latter book was introduced into the current presidential campaign in the New York Times.)
Finally, there are the ones that make you scratch your heads: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, And Tango Makes Three. (Click on the links to read my reviews.)
For me, Banned Books Week is a celebration of books and freedom of expression. More importantly, I want to see if there's anything to the fuss. I don't turn away from controversy, but wade into the middle of it. I research that which is being protested. If you tell me that something shouldn't be read, what do you think I do? I read it!
So, start shopping at your local library or bookstore. Read the challenged book and see for yourself if it's all that and a bag of chips.
Don't let others decide what you can read. Never let others make decisions for you. You're smarter than that. So go exercise that brain and your freedom. See what it's all about.
And whether you agree or not, decide what your course of action will be. This is, after all, the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. Be both.