In college, I was required to read The Canterbury Tales. I didn’t love it, but that doesn’t mean I think it should be banned. I also have tried to read Doctor Zhivago, but I can’t get past the first chapters. I don’t think it should be banned…I just choose not to read it.
These are just two of the almost 90 books listed in Banned Books: The World’s Most Controversial Books, Past and Present that have been banned or censored for what the “powers-that-be” deemed inappropriate content. You likely know about others on the list—Lady Chatterley’s Lover and The Catcher in the Rye (for their sexual content) and Mein Kampf (race-based rage), for example.
I agree that some books should be kept from young readers—but that is a choice for parents to make…at home. I also know that responsible librarians are looking out for readers—a preschool library, for example, will carry carefully selected books for kids.
I was shocked by some of the books that might have been pulled from library shelves forever. Imagine if we had never had the choice to read The Grapes of Wrath…Gone with the Wind…The Kite Runner…and so many others.
Book banning is back in the news—according to the American Library Association, there have been attempts to ban or restrict access to 1,651 book titles so far in 2022. The books those “powers” are challenging are often about race and sexual orientation. But consider this—if history repeats itself, a decade from now, the books being challenged today may well be on a list of great books that everyone should read.
Bottom Line Personal advocates choice. We give the information you need, and we trust you to make the right choices for yourself and your family…even about the books you read.