Banned Books Week is like Book Christmas for me–a time to connect with loved ones, be thankful for gifts, and make peace with those I usually don’t get along with. During most of the rest of the year, I don’t really think about how much I loved The Chocolate War (one of my favorite YA novels of all time), or The Golden Compass, or–wait, are you seriously telling me A Wrinkle in Time was banned or challenged? On what grounds? Being too amazing?
I’ve got a post planned in the next few days on why I think books get banned, but right now it’s time for some straight-up book love, for the entirety of the written word. Alice in Wonderland, you trippy girl? I’m glad I read you. Fahrenheit 451? I don’t know who I’d be without you. Harlequin romance novels? You may make me shake my head sadly or flick you in annoyance when I pass you in the library, but even if I don’t read you, I’m glad you’re free to be around. Just because I don’t like something doesn’t give me the right, or even really the desire, to make it impossible for anyone else who might to give it a try.
I’m a little sad sometimes that we still need to observe a Banned Books Week. I wish we would reach the point where everyone can respect each other’s freedom, including the freedom to read, but I’m glad I live in a country with the sense of humor to make a holiday out of the struggle against censorship. I like that we post lists of what’s been banned and talk about them like their status is a special honor. I like that we can recognize that we need to keep fighting to allow readers access to all the literature they want, and celebrate people’s right to make intellectual decisions for themselves.
P.S. The sweet featured image is borrowed from http://elizabethaquino.blogspot.com/2010/09/banned-books-week.html.