In America we celebrate many liberties, among them the freedom to publish. The logical consequence of the right to produce books is the freedom to read. Now, this may be a "chicken or egg" dilemma, but whichever way you look at it, one action should naturally follow the other.
While it may seem tame by today's standards, D.H. Lawrence's classic tale of a gamekeeper and a Lady was so outrageous on the topics of sex and class that it wasn't allowed to be published legally in this country until 1959, 30 years after it first surfaced in Europe.
After I wrote about the experiences of our lesson of the damaging effects of Banning a Book at Mansfield University during last year's Banned Book week, I was very encouraged that the fight against censorship and banning books was going in the right direction.
Shortly after Better Nate Than Ever was released earlier this year, a pattern began to emerge: Librarians who had loved the book and invited me to visit their students were suddenly canceling those visits, backing out for fear of parental backlash.
Gay penguins, a superhero clad in briefs, vampires and witches, bondage -- next week is all about banned books here at PEN as we join librarians, booksellers, publishers and writers to celebrate the freedom to read.
While I do not place Rolling Stone necessarily in the category of the classics censored and banned throughout the history of ideas, I certainly advocate for the age-appropriate consumption of materials from which we may derive our own conclusions and our own ideas.
I was part of a discussion with five librarians in our university library last week about Banned Book Week. I got some fascinating insights on the pressures librarians have in selecting titles to purchase.
Even in this modern day and age, some folks in communities across America are saying: "No. That Book ISN'T For You" and for reasons that have nothing to do with the community, the school, or the reader -- and everything to do with prejudice.