Keeping An Open Mind (on Banned Books)

There’s an old tongue-in-cheek joke/quote that says “I used to have an open mind, but my brains kept falling out”.  I’m going to defy this quote and proceed on the premise of having an open mind, however I’ll keep the band-aids handy, just in case of spillage.  😉

Fair warning to you as I begin: I’m on another excited reading binge. 🙂

Next week is banned books week (September 29 to October 6, 2007) – a time when we as readers can open our minds to all sorts of ideas, most varying degrees of radical [ideas]. When I think of ‘banned books’, I encounter a bit of irony.  I’m reminded of a book, namely “Fahrenheit 451”, in which books are literally burned because of the material they contain and the thinking that might become because of that material. However, it’s discovered that the people become pretty much automatons that do not think in any situation (work or otherwise) and gossip about small things with their ‘friends’. Stephen King may be a master of horror (and I love his books!), but that book is truly frightening, masterfully-written, and shares many aspects seen in today’s world upon which we all need to work as a society.

One of the most recent book(s) on the banned list is the Harry Potter series, for it delves into witchcraft and ‘teen rebellion’, according to the critics.  They also help enhance the imagination of any kid (and kid at heart).  My opinion has been I’m glad I’ve read them all, and would do it again (and have) in a heartbeat. They’ve brought so many kids into reading, and helped adults, myself included, have an additional dialogue with young people of all ages.

Ahoy! Treasure Your Freedom to Read and Get Hooked on a Banned Book 

This next week, I celebrate banned books week, by choosing to read three books on the banned books list. Why three? Well, like the ad for Lay’s potato chips, I couldn’t choose just one. One book I’ve chosen is a modern classic, another book is from a children’s author that I adored in my own youth, and the other book is a modern book that aids in talking to today’s youths.

1. I know why the caged bird sings / by Maya Angelou
New York : Random House, 2002. 
author’s web site: http://www.mayaangelou.com/ 

My initial thoughts: Though I admit I’m not well-versed in her work, I’ve admired Ms. Angelou’s perseverance and have been fascinated whenever she’s spoken (in interviews, lectures, etc.). In this book, she recalls memories of good and the hardships from her own life. Even with the heavy material (and obvious sadness), I look forward to reading this book.

2. It’s perfectly normal: a book about changing bodies, growing up, sex, and sexual health /  by Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley,
Cambridge, Mass : Candlewick Press, c1994. 
author’s web site: http://www.robieharris.com

My initial thoughts: This author is new to me, and I already wish I would’ve had this book to read growing up. My thinking before reading is that all parents will want to read this book (with their children). Though of course, it’s no substitute for parents, it can be a good tool to initiate a dialogue with a child so he / she can understand and that helps the parents awkwardness and possible fears of addressing certain questions. As the title says, the questions asked in this book deal with sexual matters.

3. Forever / by Judy Blume.
New York : Pocket Books : c1975,1976 
author’s web site: http://www.judyblume.com

My initial thoughts: I’m so excited to rediscover one book from this author again, as I have so many treasured memories involving her books! My favorite character from her books has been Peter Hatcher, though it’s not my only favorite. This book I’ve chosen is a coming into age novel for young adults, and delves into the topic of love lasting forever (or doubts that love will not last, in this case).

Ahoy! Treasure Your Freedom to Read and Get Hooked on a Banned Book

Challenge to my blog visitors: If anyone would like to join me in this reading question, click on the banned books image/link, and start reading, or even re-reading*.  Even if one’s previously read something, one can still get something out of the book again, whether it’s recaptured memories, discover new ideas or a deeper understanding that comes with age. So, enough chatter, let’s get reading again! 🙂

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*PS. Please…feel free to leave a comment, whether or not you’re doing the challenge. If you join in the challenge, I’d love to see you answer the question: “what are you reading and, why?” If the challenge inspires you to journal your own adventure, provide a link, too, so we can all see/discuss more.

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One response to “Keeping An Open Mind (on Banned Books)

  1. I’ve been trying to read The Satanic Versus but I just can’t get into it.

    Can I just re-read Harry Potter instead?

    TPL responds: Rushdie sure can make one’s head spin (I know mine sure does). I’d rather read HP, too. 😀

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