The Book Chat Collective is a new meme hosted over at An Old Flame. I really like the chat about books that goes on over at An Old Flame so, even though I’m not generally a meme person, I thought this would be a really fun one to participate in.
The idea is that every week there’s a different book related topic for bloggers to blog about. You are asked to visit two other blogs (or more) and comment on their opinions (whether you agree or not) before you post your own opinions on your blog. If you want you can refer to what other bloggers have said and this helps keep the chain going.
This week’s topic: We’re at the tail end of Banned Books Week. Is there ever a reason, in your opinion, to rightfully ban a book?
Well instantly when I read the topic I thought no. I’m a big believer in freedom and I think people should be able to choose for themselves what they read or not. But then I read An Old Flame’s post on the topic, and I thought about the bad situations which could come about from a book. I disagree with her actual example, I think Salaman Rushdie might have known how controversial his book could be- and the publishers probably did too, I mean his life is at risk because of he but he could have chosen not to publish it. I can see though how books could pose some risk, and maybe that readers, publishers or even writers might not foresee how much risk. Should these be banned? Maybe, in the interests of public safety, but to say that grindes with me.
On a smaller level I can understand parents wanting to ban certain books in schools, especially as they might be compulsory reading. I think you should let your teenager read whatever they want, and maybe just make sure they understand what they are reading, but while you can advise your kids against something which is their own choice you can’t advise them against reading something that is compulsory reading for school- they have to read it whether they feel comfortable with it not. I can completely understand parents wanting to ban those sort of books from school reading lists, but I don’t think access to them should be completely banned- it’s better maybe to explain why you don’t think your kids should read the book to them and make their own decision. However in that situation I think it should be done on a case by case basis rather than banning a book from all school reading lists. Let the parents know what they’re children are reading and give them a chance to object if they want to, so you’re not giving their kids something to read that the parents don’t think is right.