In preparation for Banned Books Week, which takes place September 24th-October 1st, I think we should talk about books. I believe in books not only as vehicles for the reassurance that “we are not alone,” to quote C.S. Lewis, but also as vehicles for ideas we may not encounter except through someone else’s writing.
As a current example, this spring I read The Help, which tackles issues beyond my experience both historically and racially. I laughed and cried with Kathryn Stockett’s characters. By the end of the story I wholeheartedly accepted her moral: we are more alike than we are different.
That being said, some people take offense at the presence of books that introduce differentviews. The American Library Association records the public’s formal complaints against books, then compiles lists of the most-challenged titles. Sometimes the books in question are re-located in a library from the children’s or young adult section into the adult section. Sometimes they are removed from circulation altogether. But often, as librarians and teachers fight to let all voices speak, the books are retained without change.
But enough politickin’ for now. Let’s talk about books as they relate to our homes. You already know about my book organization strategies. There’s Ye Olde Rainbow Order (from our last apartment):
…edited color-grouping (in this apartment):
…and library books as near the door as possible so we manage to get them back to the library in time:
How do you organize your books? Do you use shelves? Baskets? How do you keep library books from intermingling with titles you own? Have you ever paid a big library fine? I’ve met a few people who would rather pay to keep a book past its due date than surrender it for the next person waiting. (Book-borrowing ethics, anyone…?)
Okay, last question: what banned (or challenged) books have you read and enjoyed? If you think you’ve never read a banned book, check out this list: American Library Association Banned Books 2000-2009. You may surprise yourself. I’m casting my vote for A Wrinkle in Timeby Madeleine L’Engle. How anyone could object to that book baffles me completely. I’ve read it half a dozen times and the powerful love Meg expresses for Charles Wallace near the end still brings me to tears–in the best possible, good-things-still-happen-in-an-evil-world kind of way. What about you guys?