This week is Banned Book week, celebrating those novels that others felt compelled to remove from libraries and/or schools for a variety of reasons. MUCH has been written on this from bloggers throughout the world; I did not feel obliged to share my viewpoint on the matter, as I’ve made it fairly clear over the past year just how I feel about banning or challenging books.
However, I happened to catch the tail end of a conversation on Twitter this week that discussed how dismayed one blogger was because of comments left on her blog that stated that her review about a certain book was wrong and this person’s view on the book was correct. In addition to being dismayed that we have yet another situation of intolerance of differing opinions, I was struck by the irony of this discussion occurring this week. For, doesn’t the banning of books come down to the vocalization of differing opinion where one opinion reigns supreme?
Why are books banned? It starts with a very vocal minority reading a book and interpreting it a certain way, thinking it is a danger to other children because of this interpretation and taking this interpretation to those in charge. They then are able to convince the powers-that-be that they have a valid point. It does not matter to them that others may have alternative interpretations. They are convinced they are right and are able to convince others of this same “fact”.
When bloggers argue about books, and even go so far as to state that one opinion is right while another person’s is wrong, we are in danger of adopting a similar mentality as banning books. There is no right or wrong when it comes to reading and interpreting novels. Rather, it is our unique interpretations that allows us to each write about books in a way that never gets boring. Outright declaring an opinion as wrong is a dangerous road, establishing a precedence for intolerance and even worse, prohibiting a discussion about the one thing that brings us all together.
I continue to be amazed and dismayed that there are those in the blogging community who feel so black and white about novels to the point where there is no room for a healthy debate or even reasonable doubt. It certainly detracts from the sense of community on which we pride ourselves, and whenever I hear about this situation occurring, I can’t help but be a little ashamed that this is still an issue. Until we, as bloggers, can learn that differing opinions are welcome and expected and a point of discussion rather than a bone of contention, we will never be able to battle those that continue to pull books from library shelves in the name of protecting our children. For, to me, the two trains of thought are one and the same, equally dangerous and equally destructive.
Thoughts? Have you ever had someone tell you that your opinion about a book is wrong? How did you handle it? Do you see the danger in this train of thought or is it just me?