meet the blogger : issue #9 (Banned Books)

It’s been a while since I did one of these, but I figured I’d answer some questions regarding Banned Books in lieu of Banned Books Week just ending.

“Rules” are as follows:

MEET THE BLOGGER is a new feature I’m doing here on Reckless Indulgence to allow readers to get to know their bloggers (and, for me, mostly to pass the time). I always do a lot of surveys/meme-quiz things and then never post them anywhere. I figured, it would be fun to have a little section on my blog just for that purpose! Sometimes the questions will be specifically related to the topic of this blog. Other times… not so much.

This is more an exercise for me to try socializing with others than anything else. XD An avenue for discussion, if you will. You can definitely run with this meme on your own blogs. I have no problem whatsoever with that and would enjoy seeing your answers to the questions I post and answer myself! Just tag your post  with the words: MEET THE BLOGGER and then link back to any of my meet the blogger posts so I can see what you wrote!

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meet the blogger: banned books

1. Do you or have you knowingly read banned or challenged books, and what are your thoughts on them?

I have knowingly AND unknowingly read banned and challenged books from since I was quite little (often unbeknownst to my parents xD). Naturally, since I read them quite often, I am drawn to the topics and material within them. Often political, controversial, alternative, or “other”… these are the things that speak to me, that I have always been able to identify with and find camaraderie in, particularly in a world so bent on casting aside or breaking the different, unique, strange, or nonconforming. I found solace in characters who were different from the “supposed” norm, who loved differently, acted differently to how society demanded they act, forged their own paths, and made their own decisions even if it left them seemingly alone in the world or on opposite sides to all they’ve ever known.

Books like this are NEEDED because were it not for them, I would honestly believe I was the only one in the world who felt this way, who THOUGHT this way, who WAS BORN this way. Because that’s what society and tradition and most religions wants you to believe. 

I NEEDED these books to keep me from doing something stupid and ending it all, because half the time I couldn’t imagine living in a world so bent on hating anything that didn’t “fit in” or “was like everybody else”. I needed to know that even if I’ve never met these authors or these (fictional) people in these books, that SOMEONE… SOMEWHERE came up with the idea, or felt the way these characters felt, or experienced situations (even if it was just in their heads) like what they depicted in their books. I NEEDED to know that I wasn’t alone. 

Were it not for many of these banned and challenged books, I’d think I really was as alone as everyone tried to make me out to believe. So I am FOREVER grateful and thankful to these books and will always advocate for them and proudly voice my opinion on why such books are NECESSARY and VITAL and LIFE-CHANGING (life SAVING).

2. What is your favourite banned book?

Gods… that’s bloody difficult. I don’t think I have a FAVOURITE, namely because practically all the books I read are or would be banned/challenged/etc. and I love all my books so there. xD

I could list off some that I love, but then this post would get godawful long.

3. Have you ever gotten into an argument regarding a banned or challenged book, and if you did, how did you handle it?

Several times. xD Sometimes I can handle it well, other times I literally want to punch someone in the face. Especially if the words “I’ve never read the book, BUT I’VE HEARD–” comes out of their mouth. I swear TO THE UNIVERSE, if you say you want a book banned and you HAVEN’T EVEN READ THE DAMNED THING— FLJANFLDNLKDNGALDNAKLNGL

4. Are you an advocate for banning books?

Absolutely not. I may not agree with all works published by all people, but I do not advocate for the banning or censoring of books.

5. Have you ever read a banned book that you actually AGREE should be banned or at least hated the content within it?

To be honest, I try not to read books I KNOW ahead of time will be bad or have a negative impact on my mind. “You are what you read, what you see, what you surround yourself with,” after all. On such books, I simply have no opinion on because I haven’t read them. However, I have been surprised by some titles because I didn’t know going into it that it would support topics or political agendas I find unseemly. 

With that in mind, there are a couple books I have read knowingly full-well what they were about or at least what people have said about them, simply out of curiosity or to be better informed. One such book was Mein Kampf, the 1925 autobiographical manifesto by Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler. Though I knew going into it what it was about, there were aspects of it that were truly surprising to me, and — had this been an apocalyptic sci-fi or something — I even found quite interesting at times.

But do I agree with its contents? Do I promote it? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Do I think it should be banned? Ehhh… that’s a touchy topic.

On the one hand, I absolutely do not think it should be PROMOTED, but I think in a scholarly setting it needs to be studied and dissected. I think human beings as a whole do not learn from their past which is why they are so doomed to repeat it. They would rather bury something unpleasant or unseemly, rather than study it and make the necessary corrections or implementations to ensure it doesn’t happen again. I honestly believe that if Mein Kampf were just to be buried and no one talked about it, no one KNEW about it, someone else in the future will emulate it or re-imagine it again and we could have the same horrific events occur to another group of people, nationality, ethnicity, or social class.

So do I think it should be BANNED… no. I think it needs to exist and not be buried because I think no one would like to see a repeat of past events happen to future generations simply because no one remembers or learned of the atrocities committed against humanity.

6. Have you ever considered writing a book you KNOW would become banned or at least challenged?

I have. In fact, several books sitting on my perpetual WIP would DEFINITELY fit the bill for any number of reasons. I think the only reason the ones I’ve already published HAVEN’T been banned is because they were are geared towards an ADULT audience. If they were YA books (which, I mean, they actually kinda are) I think every parent, judge, and child protection agency would be ALL OVER and banning left and right. So… yeah… >___>;;

7. Do you think censoring should be allowed in books?

ABSOLUTELY NOT.

This is one I’m QUITE adamant on. 

Listen.

If you wanna try banning the book… FINE. I don’t agree with you and will fight you over this fact till my last dying breath… BUT FINE. Try to ban the book.

BUT FOR ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY, DO NOT CENSOR IT.

I don’t even care if it’s something horrible and nasty and truly EVIL. 

DON’T. CENSOR. IT.

You wanna know why?

Because if you censor out the “bad parts”, then you turn a “bad book” into a “good or at least decent book” AKA YOU CHANGE THE MEANING OF THE BOOK.

I mean… could you imagine someone censoring Mein Kampf and making it out to seem demure or “not as bad as it really is”?

COULD YOU EVEN IMAGINE?! 

People — TO THIS DAY — would be going around saying how Hilter DIDN’T want to kill the Jews or he was only trying to make life better for them by putting them “with their own kind” or… oh my freakin‘ god, COULD YOU EVEN IMAGINE?!

THAT’S what happens when you censor.

You change the author’s meaning in order to make it out to be “not so bad” or “not so graphic” or “not so sexual” or “not so vulgar” when in fact, IT IS.

So, censoring?

yeah that's gonna be a no from me dawg

[Banned/Challenged Book] The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

For this week, I’m featuring a banned, challenged, or censored book each day of the week alongside your regularly scheduled line-up!



The Perks of Being A Wallflower

MTV Books
Pub Date  February 1999
Genres     YA, Fiction, Contemporary
Goodreads


Description

Now in a special edition to mark the twentieth anniversary of a beloved cult classic! Read the #1 New York Times bestselling coming-of-age story that takes a sometimes heartbreaking, often hysterical, and always honest look at high school in all its glory. Also a major motion picture starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a funny, touching, and haunting modern classic.

The critically acclaimed debut novel from Stephen Chbosky follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

A #1 New York Times best seller for more than a year, an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults (2000) and Best Book for Reluctant Readers (2000), and with millions of copies in print, this novel for teen readers (or “wallflowers” of more-advanced age) will make you laugh, cry, and perhaps feel nostalgic for those moments when you, too, tiptoed onto the dance floor of life.


REASON FOR BEING
BANNED OR CHALLENGED

Drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation”

INITIAL REACTION

An absolute favourite of mine!

Although I won’t lie, this book is a hard one to get through sometimes… but for it to be “banned” seems ridiculous to me. Challenged… eh, ok. I’ll give it that. But banned? Yikes!

DISCUSS

What do you guys think? Have you read this one? What were your thoughts on it and does the challenges brought upon it stand or are wildly exaggerated?

[Banned/Challenged Book] I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings (authors) & Shelagh McNicholas (illustrator)

For this week, I’m featuring a banned, challenged, or censored book each day of the week alongside your regularly scheduled line-up!



i am jazz

Dial Books
Pub Date   September 4th 2014
Genres     Children’s Picture Books, LGBT+/QUILTBAG+, Nonfiction, Biography
Goodreads


Description

The story of a transgender child based on the real-life experience of Jazz Jennings, who has become a spokesperson for transkids everywhere.

From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl’s brain in a boy’s body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn’t feel like herself in boys’ clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way. Jazz’s story is based on her real-life experience and she tells it in a simple, clear way that will be appreciated by picture book readers, their parents, and teachers.


REASON FOR BEING
BANNED OR CHALLENGED

This autobiographical picture book co-written by the 13-year-old protagonist was challenged because it addresses gender identity.

INITIAL REACTION

Loved that a book like this was made, but had SOO MANY ISSUES WITH THIS ONE… and NONE OF THEM ARE BECAUSE JAZZ IS TRANS.

Main two issues I had was that JAZZ IS NOT WHITE. WHY IS SHE DEPICTED AS WHITE IN THE BOOK?! She’s Jewish, and yes, I know Jewish people come in all skin colors… but Jazz’s skintone is NOT white.

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her skin is clearly bronzed or light brown or tanned or something. THERE IS COLOR TO HER SKIN, OK?! My biggest issue is that this book is supposed to be biographical account of her early life and the cover LITERALLY SHOWS A LITTLE WHITE GIRL with not a hint of bronze or color or anything to her skintone. I mean… what the hell did this book need the whitewashing for? WHY?????

Secondly, I really didn’t like the reinforcing of the gender binary and gender stereotypes throughout the book (things like “girl clothes” and “boy body”). I understand that the book was made for kids to understand, but that’s just the problem. If you continue to teach kids from since young that there was “boy clothes” and “girl clothes”, you continue to enforce the problem, especially for kids who don’t feel like the clothes suit who they are inside. I know I definitely had that problem growing up. It was unbelievably frustrating to be herded towards a section of the store for my assigned sex when I wanted nothing more than to head over to where the “cool clothes” were on the other side of the aisle. (And yes, I did used to think of them as “the cool clothes”, not the “[insert a sex/gender] clothes”.)

DISCUSS

What do you guys think? Have you read this one? What were your thoughts on it and does the challenges brought upon it stand or are wildly exaggerated?

[Banned/Challenged Book] Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg (author) & Fiona Smyth (illustrator)

For this week, I’m featuring a banned, challenged, or censored book each day of the week alongside your regularly scheduled line-up!



Sex is a Funny Word

Triangle Square
Pub Date  July 28th 2015
Genres     Nonfiction, Parenting, Childrens, Graphic Novels
Goodreads


Description

A comic book for kids that includes children and families of all makeups, orientations, and gender identities, Sex Is a Funny Word is an essential resource about bodies, gender, and sexuality for children ages 8 to 10 as well as their parents and caregivers. Much more than the “facts of life” or “the birds and the bees,” Sex Is a Funny Word opens up conversations between young people and their caregivers in a way that allows adults to convey their values and beliefs while providing information about boundaries, safety, and joy.

The eagerly anticipated follow up to Lambda-nominated What Makes a Baby, from sex educator Cory Silverberg and artist Fiona SmythSex Is a Funny Word reimagines “sex talk” for the twenty-first century.


REASON FOR BEING
BANNED OR CHALLENGED

This 2015 informational children’s book written by a certified sex educator was challenged because it addresses sex education and is believed to lead children to “want to have sex or ask questions about sex.”

INITIAL REACTION

Never read it, but I remember hearing about it. Sorta want to put it on my TBR/WTRO2 list…

DISCUSS

What do you guys think? Have you read this one? What were your thoughts on it and does the challenges brought upon it stand or are wildly exaggerated?

[Banned/Challenged Book] The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

For this week, I’m featuring a banned, challenged, or censored book each day of the week alongside your regularly scheduled line-up!



The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

 Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pub Date  September 12th 2007
Genres     YA, Fiction, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Humor
Goodreads


Description

Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

With a forward by Markus Zusak & interviews with Sherman Alexie and Ellen Forney


REASON FOR BEING
BANNED OR CHALLENGED

Consistently challenged since its publication in 2007 for acknowledging issues such as poverty, alcoholism, and sexuality, this National Book Award winner was challenged in school curriculums because of profanity and situations that were deemed sexually explicit.

INITIAL REACTION

Not gonna lie, I don’t really remember much about this book. I remember I didn’t like it all that much (like, it just wasn’t my cup of tea). I didn’t HATE it or anything, I just wasn’t the biggest fan. It was ok for me. Probably a 3 star book or something. I honestly didn’t think it was worth all the fuss (AGAIN) especially since it was bringing to light topics and issues that are IMPORTANT ONES and part of life… part of many children’s lives, regardless of whether adults like it or not.

DISCUSS

What do you guys think? Have you read this one? What were your thoughts on it and does the challenges brought upon it stand or are wildly exaggerated?

[Banned/Challenged Book] Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

For this week, I’m featuring a banned, challenged, or censored book each day of the week alongside your regularly scheduled line-up!



13 reasons why

Razorbill
Pub Date  October 18th 2007
Genres     YA, Contemporary, Fiction, Realistic Fiction
Goodreads


Description

You can’t stop the future.
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.


REASON FOR BEING
BANNED OR CHALLENGED

Originally published in 2007, this New York Times bestseller has resurfaced as a controversial book after Netflix aired a TV series by the same name. This YA novel was challenged and banned in multiple school districts because it discusses suicide.

INITIAL REACTION

I can understand the panic over it, especially with teen suicide rates so high in several countries, but I don’t know if it’s worth all the commotion. Yes, the book deals with teen suicide. It’s literally the premise of the thing. But… I dunno. I think it’s more popular opinion that is of greater concern. The topic of suicide is something that shouldn’t be shied away from and needs to be discussed with teens, but public opinion is what needs to stop either glorifying, demonizing, or simply polarizing the subject in media and television because I think THAT’S what’s really getting the kids (and their parents) so riled up.

DISCUSS

What do you guys think? Have you read this one? What were your thoughts on it and does the challenges brought upon it stand or are wildly exaggerated?

It’s Banned Books Week! (Sept 22-28)

Banned Books Week is an annual awareness campaign promoted by the American Library Association and Amnesty International, that celebrates the freedom to read, draws attention to banned and challenged books, and highlights persecuted individuals.

According to ALA, these are last year’s most challenged/banned books:

“George,” by Alex Gino

This children’s novel made the list because it features a transgender character, according to the ALA.

“A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo,” by Jill Twiss, illustrated by E. G. Keller

The American Library Association reports LGBTQIA+ content, political and religious viewpoints are among the reasons why this book was challenged.

“Captain Underpants” series, written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey

This book made the list because it includes a same-sex couple, which those calling for the ban perceived as encouraging disruptive behavior, the ALA said.

“The Hate U Give,” by Angie Thomas

Thomas’ debut novel, written as a reaction to the police shooting of Oscar Grant, includes drug use, profanity and sexual references, which are reasons it was challenged. It was also deemed “anti-cop,” according to the ALA.

“Drama,” written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier

This graphic novel is on the list because it features LGBTQIA+ characters and themes.

“Thirteen Reasons Why,” by Jay Asher

A novel turned Netflix series centers around teen suicide, which is the reason the ALA said it made the list.

“This One Summer,” by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

A coming-of-age story is illustrated in this graphic novel and was banned or challenged because of certain illustrations and because it includes profanity and sexual references.

“Skippyjon Jones” series, written and illustrated by Judy Schachner

A Siamese cat takes center stage in this children’s picture book. It made the list due to its depiction of cultural stereotypes, the ALA said.

“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie

This novel was challenged or banned due to its inclusion of profanity, sexual references and its religious viewpoint.

“This Day in June,” by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten

This picture book illustrates a Pride parade, and its inclusion of LGBTQIA+ content is the reason it was challenged or banned.

“Two Boys Kissing,” by David Levithan

If the title isn’t obvious, the young adult novel explores gay teens journey to love and acceptance. It was challenged due to its LGBTQIA+ content.

THOUGHTS

I can’t even begin to express how crazy I think this list is. Naturally because of the main reason against banning the majority of them in the first place: inclusion or prominent feature of LGBTQUIA+/QUILTBAG+ content. Why this is still an issue in this day and age astounds me. Truly.

I could understand if a book was made for very young children and features highly sexual situations or something like that– REGARDLESS of sexual or romantic preference. I still don’t think it should be BANNED, merely supervised or perhaps held off until a child is older to be introduced to. (And NO, featuring a gay couple isn’t a “sexual topic” or “sexual situation” folks. If that were true, then every single book about straight people would have to be labeled a “sexual book” too, since the fact that it has straight people in it MUST MEAN THERE’S STRAIGHT SEX INVOLVED. At least, that’s the logic these people are basing their judgment off of. =A= People see QUILTBAG+ individuals as nothing other than their sexual preference and it’s appalling, really. They’re PEOPLE, just like anyone else. Having one, two, or a group of them featured in a book should NOT be reason enough to ban or challenge it. That’s my very firm take on it.)

DISCUSSION

Have you read any of these books within the last year (or ever)? What did you think of them? Do you agree that they should be banned or find the accusations thrown at them preposterous? Comment below! I’d love to hear your take on it (even if it differs from mine).

Happy Banned Books Week!

September 21−27, 2014

banned books week

Every year I participate in celebrating the freedom and right to read! For those of you who might not know what this is, Banned Books Week is an annual awareness event that promotes and celebrates the freedom to read. It draws attention to banned and challenged books, and highlights persecuted individuals.

Resources

You can check out some of these resources regarding books that have been banned or censored at some point in time in history:

Frequently Challenged Books (as listed by the ALA)

Yearly Lists of Challenged and/or Banned Books

These brochures list books challenged, restricted, removed, or banned in that year as reported in the Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom. Click on the links below to download a PDF of each list from 2004 to the current year.

Books Challenged and/or Banned – 2013-2014 (PDF)
Books Challenged and/or Banned – 2012-2013 (PDF)
Books Challenged and/or Banned – 2011-2012 (PDF)
Books Challenged and/or Banned – 2010-2011 (PDF)
Books Challenged and/or Banned – 2009-2010 (PDF)
Books Challenged and/or Banned – 2008-2009 (PDF)
Books Challenged and/or Banned – 2007-2008 (PDF)
Books Challenged and/or Banned – 2006-2007 (PDF)
Books Challenged and/or Banned – 2005-2006 (PDF)
Books Challenged and/or Banned – 2004-2005 (PDF)

Donations

You can also donate via text to the cause, if you so choose, to help raise awareness.

Please click the image to go to the donation page.

Show Your Support

You can also add buttons and talk about Banned Books Week on your blogs, facebook, and twitter pages – not to mention in every day conversation to friends, family, and coworkers. This is an important topic that every should be aware of and help enforce.

Banned Books Week Social Media Channels

Connect with us on Facebook Share Banned Books Week photos on Flickr See what others are saying about #bannedbooksweek on Twitter Watch and upload Banned Books Week videos on YouTube Banned Books Week Pinterest

We have the right to read what we want!

We have the right to never be denied our intellectual freedom!

Resist censorship and rally behind the readers!

We are a dangerous lot. People should have learned by now not to get between us and our books. 😉