Alas, Banned Books Week has come to an end.
I've thoroughly enjoyed sharing my favorite banned books with you, and I encourage you to make reading banned books a goal for your reading life. Censorship is a byproduct of fear. Those who censor fear that their beliefs, values, and dogmas cannot stand up to the contradictory, and perhaps controversial, ideas of others. If those traditions were truly strong and their followers were confident in them, they wouldn't fear dissenting voices. The fact that they censor is proof that somewhere, deep inside them, they know their institutions will crumble with progressive ideas.
For this reason, I think we as readers have somewhat of an obligation to read banned books. We need to know what ideas censoring institutions want to keep from us. We need to know both sides of the story so we can make informed decisions as free-thinking individuals.
Often, banned books are written by marginalized groups. Just take a look at the list of banned books from 2000-2009 and note how many authors are people of color, of non-straight sexual orientation, or are women. I believe that as good citizens of the world, we should educate ourselves on the experiences of people who may not look like us, talk like us, think like us, or live like us because it engenders empathy, which leads to a more peaceful world.
This is my love letter to banned books. And I'm leaving you with my final favorite banned book, perhaps the most ironic of all.
They wanted to censor a book that had prominent themes of the detriments of censorship. The fact that Fahrenheit 451 is on the Banned Book List speaks volumes...so there's no need for me to.
Thanks for reading.