Sunday, 6 February 2011

In which I stand on my soap box...

I have been known to dive into things without thinking and I feel that I can be honest when I say that this has happened to most people that I know. As humans, we tend to like to voice our opinions and, because we are humans, we have to believe that our opinions are always right. This is not a bad thing, however, it can cause more problems in the long run. Think of it like the stone in a pond with ripples analogy or something like that.

So, the question is, do you continue to throw stones, knowing full well about the ripples or do you stay silent. Either way you are making a choice and, in making that choice, you know that people will disagree with you. Universal popularity is a myth, folks. Sorry if I burst your bubble but there are better things to be doing rather than making sure that everyone likes you.

Anyway, the main reason for that intro is that I have been hearing a lot about book censorship and arguments over everything for the last month or so. Yes, I know that it isn't anything new because there are always going to be people out there who must complain about something but I have to say, it really irks me when people start trying to 'censor' books, especially when these books are in the YA genre.

I love to read. (I can hear the collective 'duh.') I love to write and, as you know I hope to be a published author. Reading and writing go pretty much hand in hand and I am lucky to have been given the chance to read all sorts of great books and quite a few books that I thought were crap. I have no problems with recommending books, regardless of the language or scenes or anything, especially when it comes to the YA genre. If I read a book that I think is great I will pretty much scream my love for it from the roof tops. But, apparently, not everyone thinks the same way that I do.

Some of you may have heard about the Bitch Media's 100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader debacle that is going on. I won't go into detail because either you already know or you can read on the link about or even google it. Breaking it down, what happened was they put up a list that included some great books but, apparently, some of those books deal with things that might 'trigger' children or cover issues such as rape and assault. This resulted in three books begin removed and several authors that I respect asked for their books to be removed as well, which I understand. I also understand that this was an individual list done by the staff at Bitch Media and they have the right to remove books if they choose. It's just the way it went down that turned it into a huge mess.

The reason I am bringing out my trusty soap box is that the idea of removing books for the reasons they gave is very sad. Yes, I understand that there may be some parents out there who want their children to remain innocent but the world isn't innocent. It is rough and beautiful, it is evil and good, crazy, terrifying, amazing and it is real. I really want to place emphasis on the real aspect of the world. This means encompassing the good and the bad. People get hurt, children die and children are taught to fight.

By 'censoring' or removing books, how can we expect our children to grow up with a sense of global understanding and even empathy. I dread to imagine a world without Huckleberry Finn or Scout or even good old Holden Caulfield. Reading is an important part of life and it is a part that many people do not get to experience but those who do, well, how can we expect them to learn if we tell them that they can't read this book because the main character dies or one of the characters experiences abuse.

In my view censoring YA books is the same as trying to keep a child in a bubble. This leads to children and adults becoming ignorant to the realities of the world. This makes me sad because, as I've said before, I love to read and those books that were removed from the list are going right onto my reading list. It is up to us to ensure that the next generation are given every opportunity to learn and if we continue to ban books or dismiss them without reading them - well, what kind of lesson are we giving to others.

I feel like I could go on about this but I only wanted to mention this because I feel that I believe in my opinion. I believe that books shouldn't be treated at impartings of evil and I belief that we should trust in the judgement of our peers and the young adults who choose to read these novels.

Anyway, enough of this seriousness. I'm putting away my soapbox but I will list the three books with links below.

Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

Sorry for the insane seriousness of this post but it is one of the few things that really frustrates me. Regular ramblings will return shortly.

Let me know what you think about people removing books from lists and the such. 

Peace and Pancakes

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