Monday, September 28, 2009

Reading - Try and Stop Me!

I was reminded today by my friend Ashley Ream that this week is Banned Books Week - the week most of us thumb our noses (and/or flip the bird) to those folks who believe some books should be banned because of their content.

Now, there are books you might not want your 8-year-old to read until he or she is older. And there are books you might not agree with politically, religiously, or in theory. And I'm sure we've all come across books that have offend us for one reason or another. But that doesn't mean those books should be banned. It just means we, individually, choose to avoid those books or keep them from the hands of our little ones. But even the latter situation is iffy. Just because you might think a book inappropriate for your offspring, doesn't mean all parents feel the same.

Case in point: All my life I've been a heavy reader. In my youth, precocious. When I was in junior high school I tried to check a particular book out of our school library, but the librarian refused, saying it was beyond my age level. She chose for me instead a book I found silly and childish. When I insisted on having the book I wanted, she told me I would have to get the permission of one of my parents in order to check it out.

Neither of my parents finished school and neither supported me or my brother much when it came to academics. They worked hard all day. Came home, tried to relax, went to bed, and did all over again the next day. And the next. And the next. Pretty much I was on my own when it came to anything school-related. Asking my mother to write a note to the school librarian had a 50-50 chance of success. It all hinged on her mood at the time I asked.

When I told my mother what I needed and why, she asked just one thing: "This book already in the school library?" I told her it was. She scribbled out the note and I took it back to school. Pretty much the note said that I was allowed to read ANY book that was in the school library.

The book in question was The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.

This week, in honor of all the Banned Books, I am going to finally read The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. It's amazing that I've gotten this far in life without having read this often challenged and banned novel, even more amazing in that I've owned a copy for at least a decade. But tonight I'm putting down the other books I'm reading and opening the pages of this American classic.

So, what banned book are YOU reading this week?

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