Wednesday, October 6, 2010

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Banned Books Week has come and gone, but I think this is such an important issue, that it shouldn't be talked about just one week out of the year. What Banned Books Week does though, of course, is shine a light on what happens in a lot of places.

Banned Books Week, specifically, is about books that are banned or challenged in parts of the US. I know about this kind of thing happening in the US, but I don't think I've ever heard about something like this happening in Sweden, except for maybe in religious private schools. I do remember ministers speaking out against Harry Potter when the books were at their most popular, though. Does this happen in your country? Is this something you're familiar with? What do you think about it?

Richelle Mead wrote a blog post about this, after realizing that a lot of people were not aware of the existence of Banned Books Week, and what it stood for.

Richelle had this to say about book banning:

Now, do I think there are books out there that are terrible? Yes. Books that promote racism, sexism, and all the other hates in the world are books I would never want to read. And that's the thing: I don't want to read them. That's my choice. I don't agree with their views, but I don't have the right to force others to read or not read them. That's what banning does. It takes away choice and freedom of speech.
When it comes to the banning of her own books, Richelle has an interesting take on it:

In closing, people often send me condolences about VA being banned by that school in Texas. Honestly, though, I'm not offended at all. Like I said, many books that are banned are ones that make people think, and if VA has made that list and is controversial enough for someone to hold a meeting over it, then I'm honored. And I'm actually kind of amused that they banned the entire series before it was finished--meaning my books have been baned...IN THE FUTURE.

You can read Richelle's post about Banned Books Week here.

I have to say, that last part is particularly ridiculous, which is also the thing that makes it funny. Richelle retweeted:

A lot of other sites also mentioned Vampire Academy specifically in their articles this past week, talking about the unusual fact that she had managed to get books banned that weren't even written yet.

Andrew Shaffer writes an article about this in the Huffington Post

One Texas school district has taken book banning to an entirely new level.
Young adult author Richelle Mead holds the distinction to perhaps be the only
author ever to have a book banned... before it was even written.

The ALA reports:

[All six books in her Vampire Academy series were] banned at Henderson Junior High School in the Stephenville, Tex. Independent School District in 2009, [prior to the release of the 5th and 6th books in the series]. The entire teen vampire series was banned for "sexual content or nudity."
Stephenville ISD actually banned books that have not yet been published and perhaps even books that have yet to be written. There is no way the district could know the content of, and yet they have been banned.*

This information and a list of all the other books that were banned and why, can be found in this bibliography published by the American Library Association (ALA). Vampire Academy is listed on page six. This is apparently the twenty-ninth annual Banned Books Week. One would hope that there won't be the need for a thirtieth anniversery, but unfortunately I think there will be.

You can read about the 10 most frequently challenged books here.

Read about 50 books that were banned at one time or another, somewhere in the United States, here.

On the Biting-Edge blog, author Mario Acevedo, who is also part of The League of Reluctant Adults, where Richelle is a member, writes:

Banned Book Week is over and the buzz, in case you didn't hear it, was that fellow Leaguer Richelle Mead is probably the first American author to have a book banned before it was ever written. I'd always imagined the author of a banned book as a Ted Kaczynski type, some bearded misanthrope writing manifestos, or a Marquis de Sade penning anti-church pornographic screeds.

So imagine our shock when our own sweet Richelle not only had her current Vampire Academy books banned, but all future books in the series as well. Not even Henry Miller or Kurt Vonnegut managed such a feat. Those schoolmarms in Stephenville are such fraidy cats. Very un-Texan behavior. Yes, redheads are so subversive.

And perhaps that is an appropriate conclusion to this post. Redheads are subversive! ;D

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