Why should you read banned books?

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association

Why should you read banned books?

In case you needed a reason to participate in Banned Book Week, here’s five.

Because they’re often pretty good

There are exceptions. Twilight was banned, after all. But when I think of my favorite books, most of them have been banned. My literary heroes from my childhood like Shel Silverstein, Roald Dahl and Maurice Sendak have all had books banned.

Because there’s few books that aren’t on the list anyway

I defy you to find a book that hasn’t been banned. Except one, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I actually found out it wasn’t banned because World News Daily claimed it was, and I couldn’t find anything anywhere that backed that claim. Shocker.

Because no matter what you read, it’s good to find things out of your comfort zone sometimes

No matter what genre you like, you should sometimes read books from other genres. I love fantasy, horror, and science fiction. But I read different things just to get a feel for them. I picked up a historical fantasy book, and found a new favorite author, (Phillipa Gregory, The Other Boleyn Girl. Read it now.) I also recently read The Friday Night Knitters Club. It was really good. Also, in reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, I’m finding a whole new world I never realized was there.

Because censorship sucks

Seriously. No one should ever tell anyone what they can or cannot read. Remember all that dystopian future stuff I like? A pretty common theme is the lack of fiction books in those futures, or at least very restricted ones. We should take that as a warning.

Because sometimes it’s good to read things that piss you off and offend you

Why? Because it tells you something about yourself. Why does that book make you mad? What is the core reason that infuriates you? You don’t have to like or agree with it. And, if you’re a writer, it’s good to read bad books, so you know what not to do.

So, what are you reading?

We’ll skip tomorrow to give everyone, including me, time to finish up their books. Join me again on Saturday, for a new writing prompt.


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