Saturday, September 25, 2010

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read

It's time to annoy the censors and read a banned/challenged book! Oh the fun of rebellion! You know you want to!

And my own personal testimony to the pointlessness of banning books. I had to read The Grapes of Wrath in high school and I disliked it. In fact, to this day, I am not a Steinbeck fan at all and cheerily avoid all his works. A few months back my book club read Obscene in the Extreme: The burning and banning of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. On its on merit, I didn't enjoy the book all that much but I was fascinated by the hullabaloo surrounding TGoW and the whole time I was thinking, damn, what did I miss when I read this book? And even though I knew I didn't like it I wanted to read it again just because everyone was saying not to! This is the stupidity of the banning idea: it only makes people more interested in reading the book. It accomplishes the opposite of what the banner wants. Seriously! Most authors dream of their books being challenged, sales go through the roof! So besides the fact that it's just plain wrong it's also pretty dumb.


  1. Hear, hear. Thanks, Rachel.

  2. I recently attended a workshop given by Kelley Armstrong, who mentioned how another YA author had been invited to a literacy fair, then 'unvited' when a librarian (if I've understood correctly) objected to one sentence in her book. Every other YA author invited declined and the festival had to be cancelled.
    I found the story remarkable for a) solidarity b)irony of a librarian causing a literacy festival to be cancelled c)) how amazing it is that in 2010 this is still such a recurring issue.

  3. Holy crap! It's usually librarians who are the saviors of books. What a cock-up.

    It is indeed amazing that these things still happen.