Let’s Talk Bookish: Banned Books

Happy Friday Y’Alls. I just stumbled upon this weekly bookish meme kind of by accident when I was doing some long overdue blog browsing and started looking at some of the prompts and thought… I have opinions I’m happy to share. So, let’s talk bookish shall we?

This weeks topic is banned books:

Do you think banning books is fair? Should students be allowed to read what they want and be able to get it from their school library? In a more broad sense, how do you feel about books that have been “banned?” Do you think that it’s a crime to ban a book, no matter what it contains, or are there cases where it’s alright?

In its simplest form, my opinion is that we should not ban books, ever. This can become a bit of a double edged sword, but I’ll get to that, promise. So often I think that books are banned by people who are made uncomfortable by them and who are unwilling to open their minds to other ways of thinking. This is not at all fair to those who would happily consume that media. And who might even have an improved mindset, life, or outcome as a result of that media. I think that if anyone is going to make a decision about what material is appropriate for a kid to be reading it is their parent or guardian. If a parent thinks their child should to wait to read something and be able to handle it, that’s their prerogative. Every 8, 10, or 12 year old is not going to have the same ability to handle certain topics, but the government doesn’t know who can handle what. Their parents should.

With regard to school libraries I do think it’s fair for school libraries to curate age appropriate collections for the population of that school, but I don’t think they should be banning books because there is witchcraft in it for example. In a similar vein, local libraries often cater to all age groups and I don’t think that they should be censoring what readers are taking out or banning books either.

Humor me while I have a quick rant about this, because this is the type of thing that drives me nuts. “Oh my gosh, there is WITCHCRAFT in this book! How UNNATURAL. BAN IT.” Right, we’ve seen it before. One of my favorite book series growing up was about witches. Throughout the entire series, while there were some fantastical aspects to the magic, everything always came back to appreciating nature, how important it is, and what it provides for us as humans. Most humans in the real world, don’t give half as much a shit about nature and the world around them as they gave on each page of this books series. I’m just saying. Maybe there is something to be learned there… maybe. End rant.

How do I feel about the books that have been banned? Most often I don’t see that there is any real reason to have banned them. People try to justify the actions because they’re good Christians, or good Americans or whatever other reason they feel like. Really though I think they’re just close-minded or uncomfortable with political satire or whatever other topic might have put their panties in a wad that day. That’s just my opinion though. I’ve yet to read a banned book and find anything in that book that justifies banning it.

As mentioned before, I don’t think books should be banned. However, I do think that there are books that shouldn’t be published. Once books make it past a publisher though, I don’t believe in banning them. And this is where that double edged sword comes into play. I’m from the US. We sure do love that first amendment. Freedom of speech baby. No matter what kind of a jerk it makes you. And as much as I hate to admit it, there is always going to be an outlet willing to support a closed minded or flawed product, especially if there is money to be made. Will I ever buy a Colleen Hoover book? After the whole November 9 fiasco and hearing about the content that was put into that book as part of a ‘romance novel’… no. I won’t. Yet, it made it past a publisher and that is that. This is where it is so important, particularly with young people to have someone they can talk to about what media they are consuming to help them to understand that certain behaviors are not okay and that you don’t have do let someone treat you a certain way or look a certain way because it was in a book or a movie. Do I wish people would not publish things that glorified racism and abuse and a million other horrible topics that we could really do without romanticizing? Absolutely. But if it made it past a publisher, should they be banned? Unfortunately no I can’t say that they should. But I can, and do, make a choice not to support that person and product. And that is my prerogative as a reader.

Apparently I really did have an opinion to share on this one. I’m going to get off my many soapbox now and ask, what are your thoughts on banned books? Do you agree? Disagree? Both? Please share!

3 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: Banned Books

  1. Cyberkitten December 17, 2022 / 3:10 pm

    Banning (or burning) books never looks good, does it? Agreed that some books really shouldn’t be published, but once they are….. At a certain level you need to trust people to arrive at good choices and good conclusions. Critical thinking is an important skill but one you can’t really acquire by reading ‘approved’ literature no matter who approves it. Agreed that parents should at least be aware of what their children are reading but, given the age we live in, it’s not exactly easy to police it and especially not to stop someone reading something you don’t want them to. If you allow them to have a smart phone there’s no way to stop them reading stuff on it. It’s a difficult topic though with no ‘right’ answer. People are always going to want to restrict flows of information or ideas. But I think we should recognise by now that it’s practically impossible to do so. The solution I think is to create *educated* readers.

  2. Cyberkitten December 25, 2022 / 4:58 am

    Merry Christmas Hannah. I hope you’re somewhere WARM!

    • Hannah December 25, 2022 / 11:22 pm

      Thanks Cyberkitten – Merry Christmas to you as well! I hope you enjoyed yours!
      I wouldn’t use the word warm, but we almost got up to freezing today! 🙂

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