This coming Sunday marks the beginning of this year’s Banned Books Week, an annual recognition of the efforts, down through the years, to keep certain books out of our hands—and specifically to keep them off the shelves of our libraries, out of our school classrooms, off our school reading lists, and even off the shelves of our local book stores.
The attempt to ban books only goes to prove how important books are, how important reading is. Lists of books that individuals or groups have attempted to ban, sometimes with less success, sometimes with more, are available online. Just use your favorite search engine, be it Google, Duck Duck Go, or some other, and key in “banned books list.”
Why do people or groups ban, or attempt to ban, certain books? They fear the ideas or information the books convey. From books written for teens that deal with sexual matters to books for any age that concern witchcraft to books on religious subjects that are far out of the mainstream to books that espouse political principles (including but not limited to communistic ones) that are anathema to the would-be banners, and on beyond these examples, some people are afraid of the power of the written word.
Indeed the written word is powerful. That’s true of both nonfiction and fiction alike. In fact, more novels than nonfiction books find their way to the banned (or almost-banned) lists. Fiction can get the reader thinking of the ideas and ideals put forth in the book.
Celebrate Banned Books Week by reading a book—any book, but especially one that’s on one of the Banned Books lists. Or any of the books available through this website. But for pity’s sake READ! Read a book!