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Bianchini: Don’t ban fiction

BY FRANCESCA BIANCHINI | OCTOBER 12, 2012 6:30 AM

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Harry Potter, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Great Gatsby: besides for possibly being some of the best well-written books ever, what could they all possibly have in common?

No, it’s not the themes or the motifs. Let’s be honest, most of us wouldn’t actually be able to identify a theme or motif without hitting up Spark Notes. And no, it’s not the author or the symbols either. These books have all been banned or challenged by school districts and communities for a plethora of reasons.

Drumroll please. At least 326 books have been banned in the United States in 2011, according to the American Library Association.

But in reality, schools and communities should not be able to possess the authority to ban the reading of any books.

Most books are challenged or banned because they cause religious controversy, include vulgarity, or may even contain a little nudity.

Clearly, the people in charge of banning these books are completely overlooking the most important word on the inside front cover: fiction. None of these books claim to be a handbook on how to live your life. They’re all written for entertainment purposes.

And banning a book doesn’t make it go away. In fact, reading a book you’re not allowed to read just makes it more exciting — like dating that bad boy your mother told you to stay away from.

Sure, not every book is suitable for every age level. But this doesn’t mean a book should be banned entirely. Many bookstores have books divided into different age categories for this purpose.

Slapping a warning on the front cover might help, too. Better yet, schools can simply leave the books off the syllabi and avoid the controversy entirely. If someone chooses to read it then, that’s her or his decision.

What some people may find completely appropriate, schools may find completely offensive.

And if schools plan to ban any book that may include profanity, mentioning of alcohol, or violence, then it looks like the next book on the chopping block is going to be my diary.


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