Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read, and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free, open access to information while drawing attention to the harm censorship causes by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.
Earlier today, a professor, Dr. Wesley Scroggins, spoke out in favor of banning a YA novel, Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson. Here's a summary of the book:
Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country.
According to Dr. Scroggins, Speak is "filthy and immoral" and, because of it's two rape scenes, it is "soft pornography". The book's author, Anderson, had this to say, and I completely agree: "The fact that he sees rape as sexually exciting (pornographic) is disturbing, if not horrifying."
Then there's the debate about whether sex belongs in a book and is a book porn if it contains sex. Seleste deLaney did an interesting blog post on that a few weeks ago.
To read more of Dr. Scroggins babble, go here To read Ms. Halse Anderson's response, go here. Author Jackie Kessler has a strong, eloquent post on this topic also.
I don't believe in banning books or, with a few exceptions, censoring them. I don't like every book, news article or blog post that I've read, but that's no reason to ban them. If I like it, I spread the world. If I don't, I either ignore it, or do something about it. Today, I'm doing the latter. Spread the word, support Speak and every other book that has been banned at one time or another.
I'm also going to do what another blogger, The Pirate's Bounty, suggested and donate copies of Speak to my town library and the school library. In addition, I will do a giveaway, starting now and running through October 2nd, the end of Banned Book Week. Reply to this post stating what banned book you read, and if you liked it or not. At the end of the giveaway, I will use random.org to choose 2 winners. Each winner will receive a copy of Speak and any book from the ALA's list of banned and challenged books, up to a cost of $10US.
Please! Spread the word; don't let the narrow-minded ignorant peoples of the world win this battle.