Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Celebrating Banned Books

"Part of living in a democracy means respecting each other's differences and the right of all people to choose for themselves what they and their families read." Judith F. Krug, director of the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom.

I'm a firm believer in taking personal responsibility for what I do, read or think. Therefore to me, banning books is just wrong. So I'd like to take a moment to celebrate two books that have created controversy. I'm sure you'll all recognize them :D

I’m sure I’m not alone when I list the Harry Potter books, by J. K. Rowling, as favorites (I’ve purchased and read all of them.) These books have rejuvenated interest in reading among many school children and adult alike. The Harry Potter books did more to promote reading among the younger generation (and the older for that matter!) than any other books. They are works of fiction just the same as any other work of fantasy or SF. These books are geared for the younger reader with simple, easy to read and understand text. If there’s any underlying message, it’s again a simple one to understand – Good will win over Evil.

Then there’s Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, one of the first SF oriented books I’d ever read. Good social SF will always raise a question or two and make you think. Is that a bad thing? Not in my opinion. In fact, most fiction will pose a question and answer it according to how the author sees the universe or world. It’s up to us to decide if we agree or not.

But we shouldn’t be forced to limit either our entertainment (as in the Potter books) or our world view (as in the Huxley book) based on someone else’s fears or prejudices. As Kat said in her post, we need to take personal responsibility for what we read, what we do, how we think, how we live. If we abrogate this responsibility by letting the government or any other vocal groups of protestors decide these things for us, then we shouldn’t be surprised if we end up living in a true Big Brother Society.

Even though it’s 2007, the world of 1984 can still come true.

-- Lynda


Skylar Masey said...

I completely agree about your take on Harry, and also about the fact that we should be able to decide what is in our best interests to read.

Responsibility is the key! But also one of man's biggest downfalls because there are so many who don't want to step up and own up to their actions. Rules can't be played by if someone is always breaking them.

Lynda K. Scott said...


Yes, it's a downfall because Man is a lazy creature and responsibility is something you have to actively pursue. It's so much easier to just 'let others do the work and make the decisions' then sit back and grouse when you don't like the results.

The same thing happens with political votes...which is another subject altogether :D