Let’s Talk Bookish – Banning Books

Hello, hello my friends! I am back!! I’ll be publishing another post with all the explanation and stuff tomorrow (hopefully) so be on the look out for that! In the meanwhile…

Welcome to another Let’s Talk Bookish post! Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by me, where we discuss chosen topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Today’s topic is: Banning Books: A Bookish Sin or a Reasonable Act

I don’t know why I’ve never thought about this before, especially when there are banned books lists, and controversies all the time about whether a book should have been banned by XYZ school district or not. But I’m thinking about it now, so let’s jump right in.

*disappears to do some research*

Okay. So I’ve read the American Library Association’s page on banned books, and took a look at the list of books that were challenged/banned in 2018.

And by challenged, it means that there was a formal complaint and an attempt to remove the book. Banned means that it was actually removed.

Something that seems to be common with all these books that are being challenged or banned is the fact that the book allegedly contains sexual or vulgar content, or “controversial” topics such as LGBTQIA+ issues, or different representations that show what it’s like for that rep group to live in this world (think The Hate U Give).

Most of these challenges are lead by parents who complain about the reading material being provided in their child’s school or library.

And in some cases, I think they have a point.

Some of these books are definitely not in the right places. For instance, a young adult novel should not be given to middle school children. (And middle school means 6th, 7th, and 8th grade.)

For instance, Looking For Alaska by John Green was challenged by a parent of an eighth grade student. Administration removed the book immediately and a representative said it was because the book had descriptions of pornography, and included smoking and an ending that seems to suggest a possible suicide (qtd. in ALA Field Report 2018).

I understand that. It’s seriously ridiculous that some of these books being challenged/banned are YOUNG ADULT novels in middle schools. Who puts YA novels in middle schools?? Like really?? And then you’ll complain when parents want you to remove them? (Some other middle school had The Hate U Give. Come on guys. Really??)

These books have much more mature topics and themes, and I think it’s better if they are placed in high schools instead. If a middle schooler is extremely mature and ready to tackle these kinds of topics, then fine, they can go find them at the library outside of school and read them on their own.

What I don’t understand though, is parents complaining about YA books being given to high school students. (And High School is 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade.) I’m pretty sure that YA is for high school students, and I don’t understand why you’re complaining about your 10th grade Honors English student reading Beartown by Fredrik Backman (also from the ALA’s list).

They’re in 10th grade. Honors English. Not even normal English. If they don’t get exposed to the horrors of the world now (which I’m telling you, your kids are probably not as innocent as you think, so this is probably nothing new to them at all), and in a more controlled and constructive way by reading a book together in a class with a teacher before they leave high school, when do you expect them to?

Aside from books being given to the wrong age group of students or being shelved in the wrong place, I think the rest of these bans and challenges are ridiculous. Really ridiculous.

And because I believe I am highly comical, here’s an open letter to people who suppose that banning or censorship is okay.

Dear Censor,

You can’t control what the world reads.

You can’t control what your state or country reads.

You can’t control what your city reads.

You can’t control what your tiny town and community reads.

It. Just. Can’t. Happen.

If you don’t want to read a book, and you don’t want your family to read it, FINE. Don’t pick it up at the library. Tell your kids to put it back if they pick it up and hopefully have a good explanation about why you don’t want them to read it.

But you can’t go to the district or state or library board, or whoever, and demand that the book be removed, or worse, try to hide them in the library’s vast shelves, or even worse, borrow the books then burn them live on Facebook (ALA’s List).

It’s also unfair to censor the kind of books available for kids.

Including more LGBTQIA+ books or more diverse books with characters from all over the world and from different religions and such that are written specifically for an age group, and there is nothing wrong with the book (ex. it doesn’t contain vulgar language and it’s supposed to be a book for 5 year olds) besides your personal dislike for it, is OKAY.

Actually it’s more than OKAY.

It should be the reality, not something that one has to applaud and cheer and dance and sing about when they see it happen.

You may not believe in the book’s message, and you may disapprove, but you don’t have the right to demand that it be removed all together, because there are other people who are less close-minded than you who may want to expose their children to this at a young age so they can grow up to be better and more tolerant and accepting people.

You’re not the book police; you’re not the censorship police.

And by the way, if you didn’t know since you may have a much nobler name for it, what you are doing is censoring books. And censorship is wrong.

Imagine if I were to take your completely un-diverse, completely uncontroversial, completely bland books about happy girl meets happy boy and they fall in love and decide to ban them all because they don’t show the actual reality of the world.

Would be absolutely outrageous wouldn’t it?

You have the right to read what you want. You have the right to read stories that don’t show the true reality of the world. You have the right to read perfectly average and “normal” and bland books that aren’t “controversial”.

Well guess what. The rest of the world has that same. lovely. privilege. too.

And your claims that these books that you want to ban are so called propaganda or are “heavy duty indoctrination” (ALA’s list) are ludicrous, because your attempt to censor them IS a form of propaganda and heavy duty indoctrination that results in intolerant close-minded people.

Sorry. Let’s reword that.

That can result in intolerant close-minded people. Some people change and break free of everything they were taught to realize the world isn’t totally black and white and that there are so many shades of grey, it’s blinding.

So while I feel you when you don’t want your wonderful middle schooler reading sexually explicit or profanity filled books, or novels that have open endings regarding suicide, and I do agree that these books should be in high schools where most children are more mature and can understand this content better especially since these are usually YA books, I don’t understand your attempts to ban them for forever, or when you attempt to remove these books because they show the reality of the world and society’s history that you don’t like or because the author’s opinion is different from your own.

I also don’t understand your attempt to ban these books especially since that wonderful high schooler who you are trying to stop from reading this “bad” book is probably a few years away from becoming an adult and having to forge their own path in this wonderfully beautiful world.

Actually, I’m sure it’s a much better idea to leave them blind and unknowing and believing that everyone is a good Samaritan, that all police are blameless and that nobody has ever been unfairly killed or beaten by some cops, that there is something wrong with people who are LGBTQIA+ or that Muslims, Hindus, Asians, Blacks and every other minority is bad, and that the normal and right thing is for everyone to be white, straight, Christian, going to church on Sunday’s kind of people.

Because that makes our world wonderful.

Sincerely yours,

A badly sarcastic high school student who should probably not be reading all these propaganda filled books since they’ve obviously messed with her head.

This Week’s Participants:

Vicki @ Diverse Fantasy Reads | Dani @ Literary Lion

*face-palm* I think my sarcasm is more cringey than actually good, but hey, I had fun!! And you all obviously know by now what my thoughts are regarding this, so it’s a win-win for everyone.

What do you think? Did you like my open letter? Please let me know if you were dying from cringe so that I don’t embarrass myself like this again in the future.

What are your thoughts regarding banning books? Do you think it is okay with certain books? Do you see where the parents are coming from sometimes, or do you think that books shouldn’t be banned at all? What’s your favorite “banned” book? Chat with me in the comments below!

Let’s Talk Bookish – Reading Books Outside of Your Age Range

Good morning and welcome to Let’s Talk Bookish! Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by me, where we discuss chosen topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Today’s topic is: Should readers read books that aren’t for their target age? (suggested by Aria @ Book Nook Bits)

Many thanks to Aria for suggesting! Currently, I’m a mess, and I didn’t have any time to write this post, but in a nutshell, I think that you should read whatever you want to read. But you should also keep in mind, especially if you’re reading books that are for people younger than you, that the age also matters when you’re writing a review. So don’t go off and say that a mystery book written for the 8 year old age range was the most cliche and easy to solve thing you’ve ever read, because it’s aimed for 8 year olds, not an adult.

Be sure to check out the rest of the participant’s discussions below!

This Week’s Participants:

Fati @ Library of March | Line @ First Line Reader | Kelly @ Books On the Brain | Jane @ Blogger Books | Megan @ Megabunny Reads | Vicki @ Diverse Fantasy Reads

I plan on getting my blogging life back together over this weekend, so wish me luck! What do you think about reading books that are not for your age range? Do you think that they should be reviewed differently? Do you think it’s fair for someone older to be reviewing a kids book, when they aren’t a kid? Especially when it’s a negative review? Chat with me in the comments below!

Let’s Talk Bookish – Reading Slumps and Ways to Overcome Them

Hi guys and welcome to Let’s Talk Bookish! Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by me, where we discuss chosen topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Today’s topic is: Reading Slumps and Ways to Overcome Them

I am not going to take part this week, because I didn’t have the time to write a post, but that shouldn’t stop you from writing your own posts!! Be sure to link back so that I can see them! You can also share your tips and tricks for reading slumps in the comments below!

*You can learn more about LTB and see August’s topics here

This Week’s Participants:

Jane @ Blogger Books  | Books On The Brain

Have you ever had a reading slump? What are some ways to overcome them? Is there a specific method that always works for you? Chat with me in the comments below!

Let’s Talk Bookish – Bookish and Blogging Myths

Hi guys and welcome to my first Let’s Talk Bookish post! Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by J.R. @ Eternity Books, where we discuss chosen topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Today’s topic is: Bookish/Blogging Myths.

You can choose to write about bookish myths, or blogging myths, or about both! I’ve chosen to do a little bit of both, and talk about some myths, untrue sayings, and untrue expectations that people have about books/reading and blogging.

*You can learn more about LTB and see August’s topics here

#1: Don’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover – A saying that most don’t follow

I am going to go ahead and say it. I think, and based on what I’ve seen on Goodreads, people do judge books by their covers. Especially books with gorgeous covers. This is one of the things that nobody cares much about and does, because who can resist a beautiful cover???

To be perfectly honest with you, I have personally chosen not to read books because the cover was ugly. I use covers to decide if I should check out the books further, and mostly avoid books with covers that are not pleasing.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! We don’t have all the time in the world (we’ve got books to read!), and if something doesn’t catch our attention at first glance, then you shouldn’t feel bad about not checking it out. Imagine going through Goodreads and looking through every. single. book. just so you don’t judge it unfairly. I think that would be completely impossible.

#2: Classics Are The Gods of Literature – The Greatest Lie Ever

Most of the times, for school, you have to read a bunch of stories that are considered literary classics, many of which were written long ago, and some many centuries ago (Shakespeare anyone?).

The problem is, these books are so highly praised, and are called classics which are supposedly timeless, it’s pretty much ingrained in our minds that if we don’t like them, then there is something definitely wrong with us.

Here’s the truth: most of the classics that I’ve read have been horrible. I’m actually trying to recollect any that I have liked, and the only thing I can come up with is Anne of the Green Gables (I loved this series!!! This is probably part of the reason why I love English history and the Victorian Era) and maybe A Christmas Carol (I liked the moral/theme).

Everything else, such as books by Mark Twain, Charles Dickens (minus Christmas Carol), Lord of the Flies by William Golding (I passionately hated this book), A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (I didn’t even manage past the first few pages), were not good. And that’s a problem because this makes kids hate books and it also bores them because it isn’t relevant to their lives.

#3: It’s So Easy To Be A Blogger – Ok, maybe this is The Greatest Lie Ever

Sorry to burst your bubble, but nope, blogging is not easy. Sure it’s fun, it’s amazing when you meet so many supportive amazing lovely fellow bloggers, it’s a chance to be creative and let yourself shine, but it is far from easy.

Being a blogger means countless hours spent writing and perfecting posts, blog hopping, responding to comments, and constantly worrying about your stats. Okay, some of you may not worry about your stats, but I 100% do. It is energy draining, it is time consuming, and it can also be sometimes depressing.

However, I personally think the pros outweigh the cons, because it is so uplifting to see other people read and love your work, admire your site design, tag you, and nominate you for awards (this always make me so giddy and happy!! Thank you so much guys!!!!). It’s also amazing how bloggers support you during hard times, are super welcoming to those who are new to this, and in general are the most amazing, kind, and lovely human beings! It may not be easy, but bloggers have your back every step of the way.

#4: You Will Have Instant Followers and Become the Next Big Thing – *Sigh* Yet Another Great Myth

TBH, I thought it would be super easy to gain followers. Just write a post, sit back, maybe type a few comments here and there, and wait for the numbers to rise.

Of course, that didn’t happen.

Why did I think that being a lazy potato would help me gain followers? Because it seemed like all the big and popular blogs just wrote one post every few weeks, and they had over 1,000 followers.

But that’s not how it works. You can write awesome content, you could be the most original and unique blogger, but you won’t gain followers if you don’t go find them. No one will visit your corner of the web if you just sit and wait for them to magically appear.

It also won’t happen in one day. But don’t give up because once you start to gain exposure, you’ll realize how amazing and rewarding all your effort is.

#5: Reading is a Waste of Time – The Most Ridiculous Statement Ever

You know that look you get when someone asks what you’re doing, and you say “reading”? To me, that look translates to: “This girl is wasting time. Why is she reading all the time? She could be using this time to do something more productive.”

It’s annoying, because then I get self-conscious and I can’t really enjoy my book anymore because that look is still lingering in my mind and nagging me to get up and go be productive.

But reading isn’t a waste of time.

It can be used to de-stress, to escape, and to learn. You can brush up on history, learn about ancient times through amazing adventures, learn about legal and police procedures through mysteries and thrillers, and even to increase your vocabulary. Most of the ‘big’ words I know, I probably picked up from reading books.

Reading is also a hobby. If I was making something, or cooking/baking, or painting, I don’t think I’d get that look, because those activities seem more productive. But reading is a hobby as well, and should not be considered a waste of time.

So this statement, or thought, is 100% completely ridiculous.

Those are just a few blogging and reading myths that I think are completely not true. There are a few more that I could think of, but I think this post is long enough as it is lol

This Week’s Participants:

Jane @ Blogger Books | Ruqs @ Many Things Bookish

What are some untrue blogging or reading myths/expectations that you’ve encountered? Do you get that look when you say you’re reading? Am I the only one who doesn’t like assigned reading in Literature? Be honest, have you judged books by their covers?

Chat with me in the comments below!

Let’s Talk Bookish | An introduction to my first weekly meme

Welcome dear friends! How are you doing today? I really hope that your week has been spectacular. (As you can tell, I have been introduced to the wonderful world of changing text size and I’m loving it!!)

So, I’ve thought about this for a super long time.

It’s taken me forever to publish this!!

I’m really nervous, and I’m not sure if it’ll work.

But here we go!

I’m going to start a weekly bookish meme called, Let’s Talk Bookish. As you all know, I have done exactly 2 discussion posts since I started blogging, despite my promises to do more. And in a bid to force myself to write, and also to encourage others to write their own discussions, I’m going to post questions/topics at the beginning of each month and you can choose to answer them every week, or every two weeks, or even once a month if you want. This way, we can all link together and read each other’s posts about the topic and hopefully have an engaging and amazing discussion across many blogs.

This is going to be on Friday’s, starting from next week. All you need to do is write your own post in response to the question/topic and link back to me so that we can all find each other’s posts!

If you have topic suggestions, PLEASE send them to me through my Contact page, or fill out the Google Form below with your ideas! I’d really appreciate your help!

Topic Ideas for August

August 9: Bookish/Blogging Myths

August 16: Reading Slumps and Ways to Overcome Them

August 23: Advice You’d Give to Newbie Bloggers

August 30: Book Tropes That You Love And Why

I really hope you enjoy and participate! I really don’t want this to flop, and would be so happy to hear your ideas and suggestions! I’d also love to read your opinions about these topics this month, and though I may not participate in all the discussions, I’ll still make a post with that Friday’s topic and everyone’s posts!

I sincerely wish that this will help me and all of you fellow bloggers with your discussion posts!

Do you think this is a good idea? Would you want/are you going to participate? Any suggestions for September’s topics? Chat with me in the comments below!