Wednesday, September 26, 2007

CELEBRATE BANNED BOOKS WEEK AND IRONY

According to the ALA (American Library Association) and the Office for Intellectual Freedom, Sept 29 - Oct 6 is the 26th anniversary of Banned Books Week. Check out the list of the 100 most frequently challenged books:

http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/bannedbooksweek/bbwlinks/100mostfrequently.htm

Yes, I do aspire to join that list.

I am passionate about the individual's right to read and write what he or she chooses. As the fabulous Ray Bradbury said in one of my all time favorite books, FAHRENHEIT 451, "You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them."

So, ready for some irony? Next week (during Banned Books Week) is the launch of BETRAYED, the second in the young adult House of Night series I co-author with my daughter. We're having the launch party at The Blend, a locally owned coffee shop in downtown Broken Arrow. Yesterday I dropped off a poster and a book to the lovely owner of the shop, Sheri. She said, "You would not believe the phone call I just had." And proceeded to tell me about an asshat man who called and felt the need to inform her that she should know P.C. Cast writes "soft porn" (huh? really?). Lovely Sheri asked if he'd ever read any of my books. As per typical for those kind of people, he hadn't, but he'd been to my website. (again, huh? my website is soft porn?) Sadly, Sheri actually tried to reason with him and explain that I don't write "soft porn," but that my books with adult sexual content are written for ADULTS. My YA books are a whole different world. Again, as per typical, he made a threat about telling people what kind of place she was running...bluster...bully...blah...blah... Sheri hung up on him (obviously not soon enough).

MR. ASSHAT - IF YOU'RE SKULKING ABOUT ON MY BLOG, GET THIS - THIS IS AMERICA AND YOU DO NOT GET TO CHOOSE FOR US WHAT WE READ AND WRITE, AND WHAT OUR CHILDREN READ AND WRITE. IT'S AN INDIVIDUAL CHOICE. IF YOU DON'T LIKE MY WORK (or don't think you do, you can't actually have an informed opinion unless you READ what you're trying to ban others from reading) DON'T BUY IT.

As for me - I open every school year teaching TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD to my sophomores. Please note it's on the banned books list.

7 comments:

Kathy said...

I know what you mean. When I was in high school, I had a teacher that was a real asshat as you would say. Irony was he was my reading teacher. Now, I was the ONLY student who read constantly withought having to do so for schoolwork. At the time, I was into historical romance novels. And I was and still am a speed reader. So I would have one book I was reading and three more in case I finished during the course of the day. I kept all books in my purse.

My teacher objected to my reading material quite vocally. He grabbed my purse, pulled my books out, and criticized them in front of the whole class. I went home that day in tears and my mother royally flipped. She went in the next day, entered the class while in session, and proceeded to threaten him with a lawsuit if he ever violated my privacy again. He never bothered me again.

But, I have never forgotten that either. I am so against anyone feeling they have the right to tell anyone else what they can and can not read or write. I mean, that's what freedom is about. The right to do and believe what you want to. And personally, I adore your books and don't consider them porn on any level. I love your books. And they have been worth every penny I spent on them.:-)

PC Cast said...

Hi Kathy,
Sounds like you and I were the same kind of student. I was never without a book in my purse and at least one back-up. In 8th grade I was (as usual) finished with my work early, so I pulled out the book I was reading, Eric Segal's LOVE STORY. My hag of an English teacher jerked me out of the room and marched me down to the principal's office where she called my mom and said, "Your daughter is reading LOVE STORY!" My mom said, "I know. I gave it to her. Leave her alone - she can read what she wants to read." I credit my parents with my love of reading and my career as an author.

As a teacher the one battle I always fight is about individual choice. One psycho parent thought Les Miserables was "just about whores and suicide" and tried to stop me from teaching it to hundreds of kids. No damn way.

I've also had to fight (again, just one parent every decade or so) to keep teaching Gaston Leroux's Phantom. Psycho parent said it was "satanic."

Neither parent had read what they were trying to ban everyone else's kid from reading.

Every Friday is Novel Day in my class. My freshmen and sophomores can read ANY book as long as they have THEIR parents' approval (which I keep on file). So I have kids reading everything from uber-Christian novels to Dean Koontz to classic literature to fabulous romance and sci-fi. The point is that 1) they're reading, and 2) it's their family's choice.

And thanks for the lovely compliment about my books. The soft porn part really made me scratch my head.

Kathy said...

Yes my mom was the same way. She didn't care what I was reading. She was just grateful that I liked to read. While other kids were getting into drugs and other things, all I did was read. She gave me most of the books I read too. In fact, nowadays, my mom and I have the same taste in books almost completely. As for Les Miserables, how could anyone think it was about whores and suicide? I love that story and it's actually about poverty, war and the human struggle to survive in pre-revolution France. I adore the musical too. Fantine, who is a whore is my favorite character. But if anyone ever bothered to actually read the story they'd know it was a life forced on her, not one she started with.

But then, I know a lot of school libraries won't keep the Harry Potter books because they say it encourages satanic beliefs since it deals with witches and wizards. Totally stupid. And I bet you the people who banned them never read them.

Brandy said...

Thank you, just Thank you. You're a teacher I wish I had had.

I read everything I could get my hands on and was repeatedly told that the books were "wrong" for me by one of my English teachers in HS.

PC Cast said...

How can a book be "wrong" for you? What happened to being well read and getting several different takes on a subject (right or wrong) and then making up your own mind about it after you're informed? Jeesh, it just doesn't make sense.

I complain about idiot parents, but I have to say that the VAST majority of parents are not narrow minded morons. Most of the parents I deal with have good sense. It's just that the few idiots are so loud and shrill that they tend to overshadow the others, which really is too bad. But all in all, I have great kids and decent parents - even here in Bible Belt Oklahoma.

flip said...

Wow, if people spent less time trying to control others and more time living well, this world would be so much better. For years, I tried to get my son more interested in reading. Finally, I found the Cirque du freak series by Darren Shan. He loved it. He could not read it fast enough. Now he reads Stephen King. Well, recently, an irate parent went to the local bookstore and complained to the owner about the Cirque du freak series. She said that it was inappropriate. Well, the woman has every right to monitor her children's reading material, but she can't monitor my children's reading material.

Censorship is bad, but I have no use for intellectual snobbery. I am also an avid reader. I read nonstop as a teen and I loved romances. So many people have tried to shame me about my reading taste. Why should I not read what I enjoy??? I loaned my friend, Ellen, a Georgette Heyer novel. She loved it, but her father was so horrified that he made her read the entire works of William Faulkner. William Faulkner. I am still scarred from reading Sanctuary in college. (I am not a big fan).

My youngest sister had a severe case of dyslexia. Reading was never easy for her. I loved The Outsiders and I read it to her when she was in middle school She never forgot the book and she read it to her sons. Later, she discovered romance novels and she was an avid reader.

Reading is one of my greatest pleasures. I cannot not imagine my life without books. Since I so deeply love books, I love to share the books that I love with others. I encouraged my kids to read because it enriches their lives so much. I don't care what they read, I just want them to read. How sad that people want to stop reading.

PC Cast said...

I'm still frightened of Thomas Hardy and the semester I had to suffer through in college dedicated to him. By the time I was on his last book I wanted to saw through my wrists with a blunt, rusty butter knife. AND THAT'S LITERATURE? Please.

Give me Bradbury or Tanith Lee some of Nora Roberts at her best any day.

But most of all GIVE ME MY OWN CHOICE. I do not need anyone to think for me or for my kid (who is now a published author and successfully half way through a damn tough university - so I must have done something right to her twisted mind...).

One of the reasons I joined the USAF at such a young age was that I believe in the freedom of choice America stands for - and I was (and still am) will to fight for that choice - whether I agree with it or not.