"There Is A Voice Inside Of You That Whispers All Day Long,"I Feel That This Is Right For Me,I Know That This Is Wrong."No Teacher, Preacher, Parent, Friend Or Wise Man Can Decide What's Right For You- Just Listen To The Voice That Speaks Inside." - Shel Silverstein
Every year many bookstores set up displays to honor Banned Books Week. While this is highly publicized in the book world I feel as if our customers don't really understand why we celebrate Banned Books Week.
There are several reasons why we celebrate. We at Anthology Book Company feel it is important to have the freedom to choose what you read. We will order any book that the customer requests. We also do our very best to carry what our customers like to read. Upholding the freedom to choose your own book is a great responsibility. It is not only the bookstores who celebrate Banned Books Week. Newspapers, libraries, schools and many others celebrate as well.
It is more than a week to show what has been banned, it is a week to celebrate the printed word as well as freedom of speech. In this country we don't always realize how much our freedom to choose impacts our lives. While we have many freedoms our choices are still being banned. Just because you don't see something does not mean it is not there. Every year several books are challenged because an individual or a group is uncomfortable with what message they think the book conveys, but this is not always well known.
Even here in our lovely community of Loveland books are challenged. This year Loveland High School assigned Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko as reading in an upper level English course. This book was challenged as well as celebrated for its content. "A Loveland parent is questioning why her daughter had to read a book with explicit language and sex scenes in her 11th grade International Baccalaureate English class."(http://www.reporterherald.com/print.asp?ID=20530). This book underwent much criticism and featured two articles by Loveland High School Students telling why or why not the book should be read in class. While we do not question why an individual cares for a book or not, we find it disappointing when the freedom and intellectual integrity of students as well as other individuals is challenged.
Banned Books Week is about opening ones mind to different and wonderful books. One book that I really enjoyed this year was A Universal History of the Destruction of Books by Fernando Baez. This wonderful little books discusses the history of the written word and why we are afraid of letting others have an open mind. "without books there is no memory, and without memory, a culture cannot exist." - Fernando Baez. I find it extremely frustrating to only get part of a text, or to be deprived of something I could have read because someone else did not like the message. This little book is very big in content, and directly addresses this issue.
I have one question for all of you; what if someone told you you could not read your favorite book because they didn't like it? Most of us would be extremely upset and feel as if our freedom is being taken away. I challenge you to keep an open mind and encourage other people to do the same. Reading is a precious gift that no one should be deprived of.
"Banned Books Week (BBW): Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. BBW 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. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where the freedom to express oneself and the freedom to choose what opinions and viewpoints to consume are both met."(http://www.ala.org/).
If you are interested in purchasing these books at your local, independently owned bookstore, or borrowing them from the local library here are the ISBN numbers:
Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko, ISBN: 9780143104919
A Universal History of the Destruction of Books by Fernando Baez, ISBN: 9781934633014
The American Library Association provides a wide array of information on Banned Books Week, as well as other book information. The website for the ALA is: http://www.ala.org/
Banned Books Week is September 26 through October 3, 2009.
To access the article about Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko go to this link: http://www.reporterherald.com/print.asp?ID=20530
Happy reading and Banned Books Week!