While the subject isn’t very welcoming, the very fact that many of us live in a society where we are able to challenge the banning of books and even be able to get our hands on most on the list and actually read them is good news. So long as there are people who get angry over the censorship, readers who devour the words, and writers who continue to produce new books — it’s good. There are some countries where certain books are actually forbidden by law! In several free countries while specific books are removed from libraries and some book stores, it is not against the law to actually read these titles. It’s just more difficult to get our hands on them.
One of my favorite books has been banned in previous years; ironically the story is about book censorship, book burning, and the control of free thought. Fahrenheit 451 was about a futuristic world where free thinking was not only discouraged but punishable. The idea was that if no one was allowed to think for themselves there would be no disagreements and with no disagreements everyone would get along. And yet even in this world there were “Firemen” because there were people who were defiant and those books “needed to be burnt.” Fahrenheit 451 is allegedly the temperature at which the paper in the books would ignite.
A few books previously banned by governments are: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (China); American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (Queensland, Australia); Animal Farm by George Orwell (USSR, North Korea, United Arab Emirates); Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (Strongsville, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; Snoqualmie, Washington); The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (Lebanon); Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (California); The Lottery (1948) by Shirley Jackson (South Africa); Peyton Place by Grace Metalious (Canada); The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Iran, Kenya, Kuwait, Liberia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Senegal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand); Sophie's Choice by William Styron (Lebanon); Spycatcher by Peter Wright (UK); and Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller (US, South Africa). There are so many more.
In recent years according to the American Library Association many books are being listed as banned because of diversity, homosexuality, explicit sex, religious viewpoints and offensive language. As a writer I began to think of my own works and which (if I only had more prominence) of my books might be banned by these standards. I definitely have explicit sex and some foul language in several of my novels. One book centers on a Pakistani Muslim immigrant married to an American Christian. Another books deal with the trauma of rape. One of my short stories involves an interracial love affair. And while they are not the main characters I do have a Lesbian couple in a book.
I guess I am just one of those defiant writers.
Be defiant — read a Banned Book today.