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Guest Post – Mrs. Missive on Banned Books Week

As I was making plans to celebrate Banned Books Week, I put out a call to several of my reading groups to see if anyone would be interested on writing a guest post for the week (or even providing some quotes). But apparently no one loved me enough :( So I asked one of my good Goodreads friends, Mrs. Missive, if she would be interested in providing a post and I’m happy to say that she said YES! lol! We have been online friends for several years (and yet have never met).

Mrs. Missive is the Moderator and Founder of the Kindle Smut group on Goodreads.com. She has an addiction to coffee and books she can get lost in. Smut lover and author advocate, she hopes that one day her world will resemble a romance novel.

Mrs. Missive on Banned Book Week:
Banned Books Week is more than a celebration of our right to read. It is an outright battle cry for the first amendment. As a society, our “normal” is always changing. We have new values and new acceptable practices every day. Human rights have advanced through the written word.
Sometimes when people were afraid to speak, they could write. Many of the roadblocks for human rights began to crumble simply because someone was brave enough to ask why they were there in the first place. Putting these whys to paper or computer in an increasingly literate society, can make them spread like wildfire.

Fiction books play an important role in our society, as well. Escaping into a world or character created by these imaginative authors let us see things from a point of view that we could never imagine on our own. This ultimate immersion helps us put our own prejudices aside for a few hundred pages and look outside ourselves.

But aside from all that, for me, banned books is about supporting authors who have had to fight to have their voices heard. Buying a book, requesting it at the library, or posting a review are all ways we can put the names of the authors out there. I don’t want to read books I won’t enjoy. I’m not about reading something because it’s a classic and I should.

I want to read something that pushed someone during my Banned Books Week. Every protest over a book means the book affected the reader emotionally. Those words put them in motion, even if the motion is one of protest, which is entirely their right. Those are words that hold power and should not be kept hidden. Or the person didn’t read the book at all and is acting on supreme ignorance. I will keep my vulgarly worded opinion of that to myself.

You may call these big words for someone who reads primarily erotic romance, a genre with a severe negative connotation. I say there is no difference in what I read and what you read. Sex is not evil. Sex is emotional. Sex is powerful. Sex is empowering. When an author pulls me in, and shows me the couple’s emotional connection when they make love, I understand how those two characters relate to one another in the most intimate way in existence. When two people have sex, when a person lets go and becomes overtaken with an orgasm, that, right there, is when a person is the most honest. That is where that character’s truth lies. So I am not embarrassed to read “smut”. I am empowered. By uncovering the truth for the characters I read, I also find another clue about my own truth. Every book I read, I find out a little bit more about myself. Love it or hate it, a book helps you uncover something.

Banned books week lets us celebrate those authors who were willing to help us discover something that no other person has before. I am reading 1984, which was challenged in 1981 in Florida schools. I am also waiting on The Perks of Being a Wallflower from the library. I won’t list all those challenges or bans for that one. There are too dang many. Then I am picking up some of my Selena Kitt books that were pulled from Amazon for content that occurs in a fictional world. Not all of these will be my taste. Not all of these will leave me with warm fuzzy feelings. But by reading something someone was told they shouldn’t, I am gaining knowledge that at least one person missed.

Celebrate Banned Books Week with me. Find a new piece of your truth.

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2012 in Guest Post, Reading Events

 

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Banned Books Week – Mid-Week Update

So, I had this huge list of posts that I wanted to do this week…but as the saying goes, c’est la vie…

I am currently reading 1984 in support of Banned Books Week, but also because it fits my classics challenge. However, I am trying to savor it, because I have a feeling that once I read it, I don’t know if I will ever read it again, and if I do, it won’t be the same as my first time…

So in addition to that, I also picked up Places I Never Meant to Be which is a series of short stories written by various authors that have been on the banned and challenges lists over the last few years – and edited by the brilliant Judy Blume (yes, I do believe that my gushing qualifies me for the JB fan club).

How are you doing on your plans for Banned Book Week?

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2012 in Musings, Reading Events

 

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Banned Book Week – 30 September – 6 October

September 30th sees the launch of the 30th anniversary of celebrating Banned Books. Banned Books Week started in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. Since then more than 11,300 books have been challenged.(1) Books may be challenged for a variety of reasons, according to the top 10 list compiled by the American Library Association (ALA), in 2011, the most challenged books and reasons were:

1.ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series) – Lauren Myracle
Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

2.The Color of Earth (series) – Kim Dong Hwa
Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

3.The Hunger Games trilogy – Suzanne Collins
Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence

4.My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy – Dori Hillestad Butler
Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

5.The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – Sherman Alexie
Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

6.Alice (series) – Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint

7.Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit

8.What My Mother Doesn’t Know – Sonya Sones
Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit

9.Gossip Girl (series) – Cecily Von Ziegesar
Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit

10.To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Reasons: offensive language; racism

I can’t say that I have read all of the books on this top 10 list, but since I’ve read The Hunger Games, I am going to use that as my example. According to the reasons cited above, it has been banned because of anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence.
Anti-ethnic – I’m guessing this is because there is really not much description of various ethnicities through-out the book, unless it has to do with the movie and the controversy regarding the selection of the actress that played Rue
Anti-Family – hmm, so Katniss volunteering to enter the games in lieu of her younger sister is anti-family? or the fact that she and Gale routinely had their names entered into the drawing more than others in order to provide for their family…
Insensitivity – not sure how to categorize this – maybe the fact that many of the tributes didn’t react when they killed one and other – except for Katniss mourning Rue’s death – or maybe later on in the books when people are fighting in the Civil War and there is no time to stop and mourn the dead – I don’t know
Offensive Language – I’m blanking on any specific instances of this, but if anyone knows of any feel free to let me know
Occult/Satanic – ditto to my above comment – from what I remember from reading all 3, there is no mention religion in any form, in fact, I wondered if that was one of the things that disappeared during the initial revolution
Violence – so this is maybe the only objection that I see worthy from all 3 books – there is lots of killing, some of it gruesome – but as most of it is told through the eyes of Katniss, you see the perspective of a teenager. But at the same time, war is violent – there is really no such thing as a peaceful war…so I don’t know how else Collins could have portrayed the actions of what occurred in the world that she built.

Either way, yes, there are various reasons why this book has been banned, do I agree with the banning, hell no! I believe that it is up to the parents of the children to decide what their (and only their) kids should read. No parent other than me will tell me what my (non-existant) kids can read – until they start feeding them and clothing them.

What books on the banned book list are you planning on reading this year?

I have 2 planned – 1984 (George Orwell) and The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2012 in Reading Events

 

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