Sunday, October 3, 2010

Banned Books Week, Jeffe Kennedy Style

Banned books week has come and gone, my head definitely not in the pleasure reading or blogging game. But fellow blogger, writer, friend, and cupcake connoisseur Jeffe Kennedy wrote up a nice homage to the annual event over on her website, Love, Power & Fairytale Endings:
I waited until today to do my own tribute to Banned Books Week.

Seemed right to me, to let everyone have their say and make their plugs. Not that I don't care, but maybe because I care so much.

I'm a believer in reading. In asking questions. I believe there's nothing you can read or encounter that will taint or stain anyone beyond repair. We are elastic beings. More, we deserve the opportunity to decide for ourselves what ideas to keep and which to reject.

That's the foundation of Free Will.

I remember finding out that there were periods in human history when people were to read only the Bible and nothing else. To keep their thoughts pure. As if people aren't capable of culling the garbage for themselves. One man's garbage is another man's treasure.

You don't get to decide for me.

So, in honor of Banned Books Week, I'll take on the red-headed stepchild on the list of the
Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2009: Twilight.

Yeah, I know.
Twilight?? The megaseller everyone seems to love to hate? But yes. The series is Number Five on the list for: Sexually Explicit, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group.

I first learned about Twilight when my friend RoseMarie London sent me a note from an editor-friend in New York City. The friend said she'd spent the weekend under the spell of this new book and how could she be so in love with a completely chaste hero? Knowing I was interested in such things, RM sent me the email and said maybe I should read it.

I did. And fell in love, too.

It's easy to hurl stones at the massively successful. To find the cracks and pick fun at the giants. But I can vouch that, before it was THE THING, Twilight seduced me. Creating sexual tension where there is no actual sex is no mean feat. And if anyone thinks that being a teenager isn't just like that, well then... no one can help you.

More, I know a teenage brother and sister. The older sister is a bookworm, the younger brother a budding jock and social butterfly. They both stayed in all weekend to read the newest installment on the Twilight series. Only the boy asked his mother to lie to his friends that called and say he was doing chores.

He didn't want them to know what he was really doing.

Any book, or series of books, so compelling as to make a social teenager duck the peer pressure of his friends is a book that prevents more robots.

Fight the good fight. Buy a banned or challenged book.

Our children will thank you for what you gave them, not what you kept them from.

Check out the post--and her blog--HERE


  1. Ah - I'm all full of blushes to see this! Possibly the best compliment I've ever received. Thank you!

  2. It was a great post! :) And so true.

  3. I really appreciate Jeffe's POV on the Twilight books. More than its surface flaws, I find the series to be incredibly frustrating because I feel like Bella's dependence on Edward and his controlling nature disguised as trying to protect her set a horrible precedent for deep and meaningful love. Young women and teenagers are already set up by society to believe that we should be subservient to men (in many ways, many subliminal), not to mention that we all should want to be rescued by the Myth of Prince Charming. While these books are definitely entertaining reads, and I don't think any book should be banned, I think they send the wrong message to teenagers regarding what constitutes a healthy relationship. And we all know just how unhealthy and dependent they can be when you're 16. In that way, Meyer hit the nail on the head. But I just wish Bella could have taken more control over her life; instead she very willingly becomes subservient to her boyfriend because she's so madly in love. Pshaw.

    If any book should be banned, though, it should be GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO -- and I say this (very much jokingly) only because its extraneous plot lines and horrible translation ultimately turned my brain to mush and left me screaming "GET TO THE GOD DAMN POINT, STIEG LARSEN!" LOL

    Great post, D and Jeffe!