#BannedBooksWeek: The Freedom to Read Without Censorship

Books are one of the known sources of entertainment, learning, and changing of perspectives. With that, some books have also been labeled as controversial by different organizations which resulted in some titles continuously being challenged and banned in libraries and schools in other countries.

In observance of Banned Books Week, an annual event that started in 1982, I will be listing some of the books that I’ve read that are considered “banned” or that are being requested to be removed in libraries and schools (aside from the Harry Potter series):

1. Looking for Alaska by John Green
Reason: It was named the most complained about book in 2015 because of its sexually explicit descriptions and offensive language. The ban was based on the number of written and verbal complaint made to library staff or school teachers across U.S.
What I Think: I loved this book and is one of my favorites among John Green’s books – I even liked this better than The Fault In Our Stars. Though there are sexually explicit descriptions and offensive language in the book, I believe that those parts do not speak up for the book as a whole at all.

2. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Reason: It was one of the most challenged books of 2016 as parents called the book pornographic, vile, and that it contains nasty language.
What I Think: The complaints made regarding this book does not make sense to me at all. I find this book such a light, cute, and funny read. Thus, I never thought of it as pornographic in any sense.

3. Saga by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Reason: Despite publishing previous issues with sexually explicit content, Saga was included in 2015’s top 10 banned books as it was called out for, of all things (considering its contents), anti-family.
What I Think: This series is one of my favorites when it comes to comic books as it is very entertaining and very FICTITIOUS. Fiction symbolizes an author/artist’s creativeness.

4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Reason: This particular title was one of the most banned books of 2009 because of its descriptions of masturbation, sex, homosexuality, and offensive language.
What I Think: A lot of the articles I’ve read about why this book was banned in so many areas in the U.S. is because parents are concerned that it might lead their teenage sons and daughters to thinking that drugs, smoking, alcohol, sex, etc are acceptable. I read this book when I was in high school and up to this day, I have never tried drugs or have never smoked even a single stick of cigarette. I think there is a specific age group for this book, but it should not have been banned.

5. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
Reason: This book was obviously banned because of nudity and sexually explicit descriptions. I don’t think I have to say more about this.
What I Think: Admittedly, this book is full of sexually explicit scenes/descriptions but what does one expect? The genre of this book is erotica. How can a book be labeled as “erotica” without sexually explicit scenes? Same as my comment in the previous book that I mentioned, it should be targeted for certain age groups but should not have been banned at all.

ALA has also released which books made it in the 2018 banned books list. As I was looking at all the list which goes back until 2001, I noticed that there’s this one year where The Holy Bible made it in the list and I just couldn’t stop myself from raising an eyebrow.

Usually, what makes it in the lists are those of which contains religious viewpoints or books that are against the Church and some titles appear in the lists year after year. Recently, though, most banned books are those that contain LGBTQIA+ content.

If you’re as mad about banning books as I am, please help spread the word by recognizing Banned Books Week and promoting freedom of information. Remember:

“Censorship leaves us in the dark; keep the lights on.”

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