It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but I can’t ignore Banned Books Week.
So many of the top challenged books of 2016 are children’s and young adult books. Would I let my children read sexually explicit or violent books or books with excessive profanity (as determined by me)? No, because as a parent, it’s my job to parent my kids. I don’t leave this responsibility up to my neighbor, my congressman, or my local library. It’s my job.
Banning books is a suppression of first amendment rights. Challenging books based on your personal belief system is ignorant, presumptuous, and oppressive. I respect your right to have your own personal beliefs and ethics but don’t force them on me. That’s not your job.
There is one positive thing about banning/challenging books: it raises awareness of topics that some people would prefer that society remains ignorant of like LGBT, growing up and maturing, what it means to be transgender, opposing viewpoints, sex education, and what some people believe to be excessive profanity or sexually explicit. Knowledge is power and understanding opposing viewpoints is to understand someone who isn’t exactly like you.
I welcome Banned Books Week every year and enjoy thinking about, looking at, and even rereading the banned/challenged books residing on my bookshelves and acquiring new books every year as well. I hope that by raising awareness and spotlighting these books every year that one mind, at least, is changed and encouraged to be more accepting and open.
Today, International Literacy Day is being observed. This year’s theme is, “exploring critical links and synergy between literacy and the future Sustainable Development Goals.” Way to make literacy political! ::cough:: Anyway, anything that promotes literacy and advocates for literacy is aces in my book. The hashtag, if you want to participate in any way, is #LiteracyDay. For my part, I plan on reading as much as possible to promote my own literacy.
How much importance do you place on these types of distinctions when it comes to picking and choosing your books? I’m not even sure that I’ve ever read a book that won the NBA. I actually pay very little attention to books that are on award winning lists. Nine times out of ten, the blurb for these books doesn’t catch my interest. They sound like assigned reading in college most of the time. This year, however, I have All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr sitting on my TBR pile. Granted, it hasn’t actually won for this year, but the fact that it’s on the finalist list and on my TBR is newsworthy to me. I’m happy that I picked it out to read before it had any distinction attached to it. I don’t like being a follower and I don’t like liking something be it a book, musical group, TV show, movie, etc., just because everybody else does. That’s not to say that I’m one of those readers who stays away from popular books because of their popularity, but I like making my own decisions as to whether or not I find a piece of writing “good”.
What’s your verdict? Do you pick books out because they’re “award worthy” or stay away from popular lists, or pave your own road entirely?
I read an article yesterday that discussed how the sales for tablet devices are down. Is there supposed to be a correlation between this statistic and eBook sales? Considering that I read this article on Digital Book World, I think that might’ve been their point. Then, I read an article published on the Library Journal’s website about how some college book stores have stopped selling books. I guess this means they need a name change, huh? Are eBooks taking over the world? Is this the beginning of the end for print books?
This is a subject that has been debated for quite some time now. As a library and information science student, debating eBooks versus print books and the death of libraries comes up…A LOT. I even recently saw an article (I don’t remember where off the top of my head) that said something about how the trend of reading for pleasure is making a comeback. Making it sound like being literate is a fad. Hello!!
First of all, I think it’s complete ignorance to think that the evolution of books and how they’re distributed means the end of libraries. Circulating print books is a fraction of the services that a library provides. A library is an institution for preservation. It’s much, much more than just books. Secondly, the advent of written communication began on the walls of caves and on papyrus scrolls. eBooks are just yet one more way of getting literature out there. As for print books, maybe, just maybe, there will be a decrease, eventually, in the amount of editions of a book that are printed. Someday. But I don’t think printed books will ever go completely the way of the dinosaur. Why? Because there is something about the beauty of a magnificent cover of a book that doesn’t come through on the digital version. There is the feel of a book cover. Some are like velvet, some are textured, some are embossed, some are shimmery, some are matte, some are metallic. None of that comes through in an eBook. Sometimes, the edges of the pages of a book are unique. Some are painted black, or red, or gold. Some have the deckle edging. Some pages are smooth while others are rough. I always run my hand down the page of a new book to see what kind of paper it was printed on. Then you have truly unique books like Horrorstor which was printed to look exactly like an Ikea catalog. If you haven’t seen the absolute beauty of this book for yourself, in person, I highly suggest that you make a trip to your nearest bookstore. Holding that book is an experience in and of itself. You simply cannot get these tangible, sensory experiences with eBooks.
eBooks serve a purpose and I have hundreds downloaded on my various apps. They’re convenient, They travel very well. If you have a tablet device like an iPad, you can read them in multiple formats all on one device and then use that device for various other apps. They store much nicer. If you have a “lendable” version of a book, they’re much easier to lend to a friend and you don’t have to worry about never getting them back. Some come as enhanced versions like my Kindle version of Lauren Oliver’s Pandemonium that comes with X-Ray (whatever that is) videos, text to speech, and other stuff. I haven’t read this yet, so I haven’t explored all the extras. How cool is that though?
All that being said, until they figure out how to digitally reproduce the smell, look, and feel of a real book and the experience of aimlessly meandering around my favorite bookstore just so that I can be there amongst books, for me, there will never be anything like the real experience of holding a beautifully printed book in my hand.
I’ve been seeing around the Internets the question of who should be reading books in the Young Adult (YA) genre. My opinion is, “Who cares as long as you’re reading something.” Does it make me a creeper because I’m 30’something and enjoy YA? I don’t think so but it’s not as if I’m going to call myself a creeper. Right?
If you haven’t’ tried YA or feel like you’ve read it all and are looking for something new, I have a fantastic list for you from the Telegraph. They have a list of the best young adult novels of 2014 and update it weekly to keep up with new releases since, ya know, 2014 is still happening. I admit, I haven’t read a single novel on the list and only one is on my TBR, but I plan on checking out the other titles more in depth and I’m sure a few more will make it on my list. Check it out for yourself and let me know if you’ve read or plan to read any.