BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Banned Book Week: #SpeakLoudly and a giveaway.

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 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.


  1. I've read Speak before and it sure as heck ain't porn. It was a dark read interspersed with shots of light and that's what made it bearable. It made an issue like date rape visible and relatable--and more importantly, it got me thinking.

    Yeah, I liked it. It wasn't perfect, but then what is?

    I've also read Annie on my Mind and a host of other banned books that I didn't even know had been banned at the time. I liked them a whole lot too.

    Thank you for spreading the word about this issue and for hosting such a lovely giveaway.

  2. I haven't read it yet, but I will be now!

    I have no patience for books, movies, etc being banned. People forget how precious freedom in all of its forms is.

    Thanks for reading. :)

  3. I always surprises me what people challenge or try to have banned. Looking at the ALA list I have read a dozen of the 'banned classics' - my two favorites being Lord of the Rings and To Kill a Mockingbird.

    What I love about these books is not only do I find them entertaining, I find them thought provoking. Am I exceedingly fond of my quick fluff reads, but books that make me think about life from a new perspective are to be treasured, not hidden.

  4. Jax, it never fails to amaze me either what people try to ban. If you don't like it, don't read it. But telling someone they can't read/watch/do something is an invitation to do it! It's just the way that people react.

    There are plenty of books on there that I've read; some I liked, some I didn't. And yes, many of those books are ones that make you think, that challenge your perspective. That's why other people object and want them gone. Mustn't let people think for themselves.

  5. Speak is one of the most powerful books I've ever read. It says exactly how I and many other students felt: ostracized, alone, rejected. Melinda's thought processes were scarily similar to mine at times.

    Many of those banned books were required reading in my school. The Great Gatsby, Of Mice and Men, Invisible Man, Catch-22, Lord of the Flies...makes me wonder if any of our required reading wasn't banned *wink*. My favorite of those would probably be The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald's language is so lyrical that in places it's like reading a poem.

    What a great idea for a contest. I love how a small-minded idiot can inadvertently rally support for such "filth".

  6. First, thanks for mentioning my blog. It's an honor to be included with Halse Anderson and Jackie Kessler.

    As just a funny counterpoint, my 14 year old nephew had Speak on his "recommended summer reading list" this past year. I always find it amusing how books some people want books banned that other educators use in their classrooms.

    I don't believe in keeping any art from people. I don't care if "you" don't like it, "you" don't have the right to say I can't like it (And I don't me YOU "you" :P)

    I've read several banned books, a lot of them for school. Just from the start of the list:
    The Grapes of Wrath (for school)
    Lord of the Flies (for school) -- Loved it
    Brave New World
    Animal Farm -- Loved it
    Slaughterhouse Five
    Call of the Wild (first for school, but many times) -- LOVE this book
    Lord of the Rings (seriously??)
    The Awakening (for school)
    Rabbit Run (for school)

    Read banned books, people! A lot of them are amazing (the others probably are too, but I haven't gotten to them yet :P)

  7. The fact that someone considers the rape scenes port is discusting. i hope #speakloudly trends on twiter and we change things. Id like the Speak book as i have never read it before. I would also like The Catcher inthe Rye. <3

  8. I've read a lot of banned books. My favorite is Harry Potter.
    amandarwest at gmaildotocom

  9. I've read many banned books and the one that I liked the best is To Kill A Mockingbird. It was raw, honest, and emotional. I honestly believe that banning books is one of the most ignorant things that one could do. Books give knowledge and no matter what the content is, someone, somewhere is benefiting from it. There's no good reason to ban a book because they are the keys to our future. Thank you for the giveaway and thank you for speaking out.

    ekta.p7 [at] gmail [dot] com

  10. Kaiden, I agree completely. The man is clearly twisted.

    Ekta, I agree with you completely.

    Sylvia, people who try to ban things, just don't seem to understand that they are only drawing more attention and support to the item or action that they find objectionable.

    Sel, what was your nephew's reaction to "Speak"? Did he enjoy it, find it boring,???

    Amanda, I enjoyed the Harry Potter books and wonder if the people who object have actually read them. They are great morality tales, as well as being very enjoyable fiction.

    Thanks for your support everyone!

  11. I have read the giving tree and of mice and men, to just name a few. I loved both of them.

  12. People are too eager to ban anything slightly different than what they believe--as if there aren't other perspectives out there.

    I've read Speak, and think it is one of the most powerful books that I've read. It's for mature readers, to be sure, but is still a very valuable book.

    arallison at gmail dot com

  13. I´ve read Twenty Boy Summer and I think is amazing, I don´t understand how it´s possible to prohibit this type of book. And everything that man said I find it quite objectionable. I joined the campaign on Twitter and Facebook. Although I live in Mexico, I don´ like that such things happen.


    Thanks for the wonderful giveaway!


  14. All of this support is wonderful. I haven't heard anything further, I should check Halse Anderson's website and see if she has an update.

  15. I've actually read Speak before, and it's just absolutely downright truthful, harsh and masterful..And really a page turner too! (: It's a wonderful book to read, if only people could see past the "banned" term.


  16. I've read the Harry Potter series and I think it's the best series ever.

  17. I've read The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini and Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling.

    The Kite Runner tells us a tale of love, sacrifices, friendship and betrayals. It is a great book and definitely should not be banned.

    As for the Harry Potter series, I think it is quite a good start for the series. Even though there are magic involved, that doesn't mean that it is Satanic. If you see it from a different viewpoint, it can be just another form of entertainment.

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  18. I have read Harry Potter many years ago and I learnt that it is included in the list of banned books just today! Of course I liked it, it is interesting and fun read. What was it banned for? o.O

  19. xlacrimax, the Harry Potter series supposedly promotes Satanism and the occult.

  20. I've read both Speak and Twenty Boy Summer, and I loved both to bits.

    I felt so profoundly about Speak that I used to carry it around with me for strength when I was younger, almost like a bible. I was so appalled when I heard about Scroggins's claims to both of these books.

    I also loved Twenty Boy Summer because past the premise of twenty boys for twenty three days, when you get to the nitty-gritty part of the book, it's a book that deals with death and loss. As someone who has lost someone close to me -- not a lover, but my dad, who was my only friend and confidant -- I was also personally affected by this novel. It's a mecca of quotes, a lot of which applies to me.

    This sticks out to me the most: 'When someone you love dies, people ask you how you're doing, but they don't really want to know. They seek affirmation that you're okay, that you appreciate their concern, that life goes on and so can they. Secretly they wonder when the statute of limitations on asking expires (its three months, by the way. Written or unwritten, that's about all the time it takes for people to forget the one thing that you never will).'

    And that's 100% true.

    I've read a dozen other banned books, including the Great Gatsby, The Giver, 1984 (amazing book), Brave New World, Animal Farm, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harry Potter (lol). The list is endless.


  21. I think I saw somewhere that twiight was supposedly also a banned book or something like that due to sexual content or something like that.

    so if that counts, I read it.

    seeing responses banned books are actually good...


  22. I read Harry Potter in elementary school. The man who wrote that article has no idea what he's talking about, it frustrates me so much that he is banning books that are so amazing!

  23. I've read the complete harry Potter series, and I love it. As far as I'm concerned, people who criticize books from this series the most, haven't even read them.

    I've also read Ulysses (read for school; not my cup of tea), 1984, Invisible Man, the Lord of the Rings (I love it! I can't believe someone banned it), Cat's cradle (wasn't very impressed by it).

    More books from the banned list are on my wishlist:)

    spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

  24. I read banned books all the time, and I generally like them. I loved Speak, loved The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, appreciated The Chocolate War, etc. etc. etc.

    Great post! And I love that you've donated books to the libraries!! Great idea!

    basicallyamazingbooks [at]

  25. Last one I read? True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
    Love it. Keep it right next to my bed, in a stack of my current favorite books. :3

    Thank you for Speaking Loudly.

  26. Ahhhh I'm an idiot. I totally just sent you an email of what was supposed to be a comment. Mondays.... haha yea I don't really remember, what I wrote in the email... I think it was something about Twilight. But anyways, you can just disregard the email :)

  27. One of the most moving books I've read is one that is in the top 50 banned or challenged books of the last decade: Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane. I knew very little about Apartheid in South Africa before I read that book--it opened my eyes to a world that I couldn't have dreamt of and made it real.

  28. Katy, that's exactly what a good book, regardless of story or genre should do.

    I haven't read that one yet, maybe I should.

  29. I worked as a children's librarian for 8 years until loosing my job last February. Banned Book Week was my favorite event. I loved seeing peoples reactions when they saw the books on the display. I also took the time to order more books on the list that we didn't have. One of the best parts of the display was that people checked these books out and read them. I have read many of the banned books including THE LORAX, THE GIVING TREE, LORD OF THE FLIES, etc. I am currently reading TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.
    Thanks for participating in this event.

  30. I've read about every book on this list and while in high school at that, I would say my favorite banned book I've read of these is Lord of the Flies.
    hmhenderson AT yahoo DOT com

  31. The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books (and movies). I also loved Catcher in the Rye and Lord of the Flies.

    People that try to dictate what other people should read, watch or listen to don't make any sense to me. What might be offensive to one person isn't going to be offensive to the next. How about we just let everyone choose for themselves and leave the poor books alone? Unless, of course, we're reading them!

    teawench at gmail dot com

  32. two of my favorites off the list are the giving tree and farenheit 451. i haven't read speak yet but now i'm going to make it a point to read it just to piss that narrow-minded little guy off! seriously, there's something wrong with a person who likens rape to porn...

    k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com

  33. Here, here! Definitely celebrating Banned Books Week at my site and my reading choice for the week has been TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee. Honestly, I've never read it before (though in school we did see parts of the movie) and though I still have about 40 pafes to go as I type this, I have thoroughly enjoyed it. The things disputed in the book are moot points in my opinion. The language is true to the time it was written in and about. the case being handled wasn't overtly graphic....certainly a book I woudl recommend to readers.


  34. I hate the thought of banning books. It is just simply not right. If you don't like a subject, then read something else. I'm happy to see so many blogs speaking out. Thanks for being one of them.


  35. I recently read Of Mice and Men, and I loved the book. Please enter me in this giveaway!

    familyhistree at yahoo dot com

    Sarah E

  36. I read Slaughterhouse Five a while back; I really liked it. It's stunning to hear that people want it banned. Thanks for supporting Speak!

  37. THANK YOU all for your support!!! We need more people like all of you to keep books from being banned and censored.


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