That's right, today marks the beginning of Banned Books Week! The American Library Association runs this event each year during the last week of September to encourage free access to information and to raise awareness of the harm censorship can do. There are many books that have been either restricted or banned in some places, and there are many others that have been the targets of attempted bans. A list of frequently challenged books from just this past decade can be found here, and here is a list of books widely considered to be classics that have been challenged.
Have you read any of these challenged books? I've read some of them, and I think it's ridiculous they'd be restricted at all - I think that in general, people are too easily offended. I think that part of what makes books so special - especially ones that touch on more potentially controversial topics - is that they make you think about these issues by offering different perspectives. Some of these books too, are meant to be taken in their historical context, and people seem to be forgetting about that a lot of the time when it comes to race or gender politics. I would not be able to enjoy a period novel where the values were all modern, just for the sake of political correctness; it would be inorganic to the historical context and I would not be able to really get into the story.
If the theme of a book or an issue is raised in a book that challenges your personal values and/or beliefs, don't take up arms against it - let yourself get outside your comfort zone and keep reading it! There is nothing to be scared of; only YOU can change your values and your beliefs; a book is not going to change them for you. And if the simple fact is that you just plain don't like the book because you can't get past the points that clash with your ideals, that's fine. You don't have to read it and you don't have to like it - but don't go trying to ruin things for other people who might really get something out of it.
What do you think?
On a side note, I really love the BBW robot graphic! He's so cute. Last year's was ace, too. If you've got some extra money and you think the robot is cute, too, you can also help by visiting the ALA BBW store!