I've been remiss this week: the ALA's Banned Books Week started on Saturday and ends October 4. I've written about it before, last year around this time, coincidentally.*
I try to take the opportunity to read, or re-read, a banned or challenged book in its honor. This year it's Phillip Pullman's The Golden Compass. The first time I read it, I was 13--a very sheltered, conservative 13. I squirmed as I read it, sure that lightning would strike me down at any moment. But I read it anyway, intrigued, and no well-intentioned adult tried to take it out of my hands, a notion I have only in the last few years realized was radical. I'm not sure what censors are afraid of, but I was at the time quite grounded in religion, and as heretical as what I was reading was, and as thrilling as the aspect of reading the ideas was, 13 years of strong guidance weren't so easily discarded upon the fleeting fancy of an author's fictional conceit. Is it so radical a concept that children will encounter new ideas and sometimes ideas that are more mature or radical than what they may be ready for, whether those ideas are in book form or otherwise? Seems to me the route to go would be to encourage healthy inquiry and, as a parent, be willing to discuss those ideas with the child, not run around trying to eliminate them entirely...
My response to Pullman now? Well, I'm only in the first book of the Dark Materials trilogy, so I'm not yet into the deeper stuff, but I'm enjoying the tale all the same, and I'm definitely not waiting for the lightning this time around. Circumstances, encounters with new ideas, and the intervening years have quelled that original conservativism--some of which came in the form of books, but many from life itself. The Golden Compass is a tale of adventure and growing up--a timeless combination, and I'm enjoying it for that reason.
What about ye gentle reader(s)? What challenged or banned book will you be reading?
Now playing: Bayside - Have Fun Storming the Castle
* - Goodness, but I'm tired. That sentence actually entertained me.