Apr 102012
 
Today I have a guest post from Debbie Christiana about censorship and banned books.

Hi Sarah. Thank you so much for having me as your guest today. I’m Debbie Christiana and I write paranormal romance. I love everything mysterious and unusual but today I decided to write about another subject close to my heart. Censorship.

Banned Book Week is celebrated each year at the end of September, but due to the recent story of Paypal censoring certain books sold by Smashwords, maybe it’s important we talk about this issue more than once a year.

The week began to highlight how important our freedom of speech and freedom of the press is to every American as stated under the First Amendment. This special event is sponsored by the American Library Association, and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, as well as many others.

Conservative and religious groups voice their strong opinions, but the number one group(s) who challenge books are parents and School Board members. Each year, PABBIS (Parents Against Bad Books in School) releases a list of books they don’t approve of.

While it’s every parent’s right to prohibit their children to read literature they deem inappropriate, the question is, do they have the right to take it off library or bookstore shelves therefore making it unavailable to the general population.

The reasons books are banned aren’t shocking: The top five are sex, profanity, racism, the occult and homosexuality.

Sex is good fun – a perfectly natural and pleasurable endeavor. When it comes to women having and enjoying sex the banned list goes on forever. Evidently, that’s frowned upon. A couple examples are Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Madame Bovary. Classics on the list for sexual content include The Diary of Anne Frank, The Great Gatsby and Flowers for Algernon.

A few instances on the list for religion and politics are The Lorax by Dr. Suess, The Harry Potter Series, Animal Farm, The Grapes of Wrath, Uncle Tom’s Cabin and 1984.

No one likes to be shown his or her imperfections. We humans have plenty of flaws and failings. Is that why these classics have been challenged or banned? Because they show human nature at its worst? To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men,

This list for homosexual content is a long one, but the one book that prompted me to write this article was And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnall and Justin Richardson. A children’s book, it tells the true story of two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo.

Roy and Silo formed a union, cared for and hatched an egg, then raised the baby penguin together. It was the most banned book of 2006 and 2007 due to some people’s idea it promoted the homosexual lifestyle. In Charlotte, NC, the local school district removed the book after receiving complaints.

Probably the most ironic book on the list is Fahrenheit 451, a book about banning and burning books.

You can find a complete listing of all banned/challenged at the American Library Association’s website. It includes new books as well as classics but most importantly, it’s full of bestsellers. When The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was banned, Mark Twain supposedly quipped, “that means another 25,000 in sales.”

Nothing causes books to fly off a shelf faster than telling people it’s full of sex, violence, profanity and any other vice they can think of.

You may agree with some, none or all of the books listed, and that’s your privilege. There are genres I prefer not to read, but I would never take away the right of another person to enjoy a story. And that’s what the real issue is.

About Debbie Christiana:
Debbie Christiana would sit in her room as a little girl and write stories about ghosts, unexplained events and things that go bump in the night. She combined her love of the paranormal with her fascination of unusual love stories and decided to write paranormal romance. Her novel, Twin Flames, was released in the summer of 2011 with Black Opal Books. In February 2012, her vampire short story, The Land of the Rising Sun, was one of ten included in the anthology BITES: Ten Tales of Vampires. Debbie is a member of RWA and Secretary of the Romance Writers Chapter of Connecticut and Lower New York. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and three children.

Connect online: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Twin Flames by Debbie Christiana

She’d never met him before…or had she?
The last thing forty-year old Natalia Santagario expected was to be sitting on a Manhattan barstool ogling a man she’s never met, but swears she knows.

He didn’t know her at all…or did he?
The mysterious dark-haired woman at the end of the bar stops twenty-eight year old Marc Tremonti in his tracks. His head assures him she’s a stranger, but his heart tells him otherwise.

Together they embark on an adventure that will change their lives forever.
Their attraction instant and enigmatic, they undergo past life regression and discover that, not only have they spent hundreds of lives together as lovers, Natalia holds the secret to Marc’s puzzling birthmark. But what should have been a joyful reunion is complicated by a kind, albeit confused, almost ex-wife, a bout of temporary amnesia and a mischievous ghost from their past.What else could possibly go wrong?

Find the book online: Amazon, Smashwords, Goodreads

  8 Responses to “Guest post: Debbie Christiana”

  1. A very good point. Countless books and scrolls have been burned through out the history and we will never know of what have happened to certain people, nations and whole civilizations due to no record was left behind or so little can be pieced together about them, that is insignificant. Is that how we'd like to end up? If they frown upon sex, violence and course language than why “The Hunger games” isn't banned? I mean, do teenagers need more of an encouragement to go on a killing spree? So why are those books so popular?

  2. Good post! I've always been against banning books. It's everyone's right to read and I don't agree with imposing ideals on anybody. Banning books like Of Mice and Men or Uncle Tom's Cabin deprives a generation of dripping stories. I remember reading those as a child and absolutely love them.

  3. It's MY job to decide whether a book is appropriate for my kids to read, and I'd be okay with any of the books you mentioned. The only one I had problems with was The Hunger Games – for the reasons Zrinka pointed out in the comment above. Unfortunately, they'd already read it by the time I figured out what they were up to.
    Great post, Debbie!

    • Kids!! I snuck The Exorcist away from my mother when I was 12 and read it. She wasn't happy 🙂 I'm thinking I should read the Hunger Games so I can keep up with what everyone is talking about, LOL.

      Thanks for stopping by Liv,

      Debbie

  4. Hi Zrinka, I've heard all the controversy about “The Hunger Games, but I'm in the dark. I didn't read it, neither did my daughter so I don't feel I can comment on it. It's funny how people are more willing to allow their children to witness horrible violence in video games, TV and movies ( I have two boys and they love Call of Duty ugh!) then naked bodies. Not that either one is appropriate for small children. That's why everyone should have the right to make their own decisions.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  5. It amazes me that there are still people who think book banning is an effective way to keep children from learning about sex, profanity, racism, the occult, and homosexuality. Each and every one of those things have been around since long before the printed word even existed. Their children are going to learn about them no matter what. Wouldn't it make more sense for it to be done in the classroom? Or are they really going to be happy when the only option their children have to learn about these things is what gets whispered to them on the school bus by some wise ass who's just making it up as he or she goes along?

  6. Hi Maura!! Thanks for stopping by. I agree and it's a subject I feel strongly about that's why I decided to write about it.

    I'm so glad you stopped by.

    Thanks,

    Debbie

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