We are in the middle of the annual Banned Books Week, sponsored by the American Library Association. It is a good time to think about our constitutional right to freedom of speech and read a banned book with pleasure, revelling in that right.
There is no legitimate reason to ban any book, especially in the United States. Everyone has the ability to exercise free will which means if the subject matter of any book offends them they don't have to pick it up and read it. But if you haven't read a book and still complain about it, then you don't really know what you are talking about, do you? If you have read a book and it bothers you, you are allowed to make your case against it, but you have no right to tell me that I can't read it. That is one of the things that makes America so great.
The ten most challenged books of 2005 includes classics like J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye and the most controversial book of my childhood, Judy Blume's Forever. Some of the best novels in American literature and many of our favorite books from overseas writers have been banned or challenged at one time or another, including The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, Ulysses, The Lord of the Rings, The Color Purple, and As I Lay Dying. To imagine a world would I wouldn't be able to read these beautiful words is distressing.
So the next time you sit down with a good book, imagine what it would be like if you weren't allowed to read it, and rejoice in that freedom.