There’s probably ‘caution tape’ up at your local library this week.
But don’t be alarmed, fair reader. It’s just Banned Books Week!
Or should we be alarmed? After all, it has me thinking about myself as a reader and author. My prejudices and fears, my likes and dislikes. It places me in the uncomfortable spot of having first been a librarian, trained in the freedom to read, and second as an author who really likes being a card-carrying member of the Clean Indie Reads community, championing explicit-free works.
But, maybe that’s exactly the point, this live-and-let-live of reading that such a weeklong celebration is meant to inhabit. I can choose to read things that make me uncomfortable, that stretch me–and, reader, on occasion I do. I can choose to write about such things. And, perhaps, I will. There is more than one WIP on my hard drive that could raise a few eyebrows, make a few folks squirm… while simultaneously not embarrassing my grandmother. (She used to read voraciously and kept index cards of every book she had read, noting her thoughts along with what was ‘appropriate’ for my sister and I to read. She was analog Goodreads in the 90s. I have every card she wrote out, organized in old-fashioned recipe boxes.)
Because those jagged edges of plot, theme, and morality are what makes reading so darned delicious. We are thrust closely into the world where gravity has been messed with. We are forced to find our balance and admit to ourselves what our personal limitations are and where we might find room for growth. We have to puzzle out why we don’t like X, Y, and Z and whether we can find room for it in some way.
Me? I’m a prudish reader. I really am.
You’ll also note that on Goodreads I have given E. L. James’ “50 Shades of Grey” a 4-star rating. (Along with the disclaimer: “Torn between a 4 and 5 star rating on this one, actually.”)
So. Go challenge yourself this week.