Are Banned Books Logical?

12027623_10153020737696813_2602124285386112320_n

Started in 1982, Banned Books Week is an annual event that celebrates the freedom to read and calls attention to the wealth of creative expression that is stifled when books can be forbidden from library shelves. -ACLU

AMEN.

I have something to say about this, because banned books infuriate me.

The purpose of reading is not to be instilled with a certain mindset; it is to be endowed with knowledge. I may not agree with everything I read, but that doesn’t mean I can’t read it. That’s not to say that you have to read any particular book. Freedom is the prospect here. But you should have the choice.

Reading is about understanding, not agreeing or adopting a particular mindset.

I have either read or plan on reading most of the books in that picture. I’ve read Of Mice and Men, Slaughterhouse-five, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and some of Ulysses. On my to-read list are: As I Lay Dying, Lord of the Flies, The Sun Also Rises, The Catcher in the Rye, and Catch-22. Many of these books are classics, and some of them I just frankly don’t see how they ended up on the banned books list. Many of them I read for school. My dad grew up in a conservative town and he read The Lord of the Flies in school and loved it. It just doesn’t add up. 

Here are the only reasons I can think why these books were banned:

Race: To Kill a Mockingbird and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn both fall under this category. They are about heavy racial issues, and I guess people don’t want their children to be exposed to any form of prejudice or violence (which is first-off a naive hope, might I add).

Witchcraft: You can guess which one belongs here: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. 

Promiscuity: While I have no idea what The Joy of Sex is, I can take a guess as to why it was banned. Some of the other books may also belong in this category, but I’m honestly not entirely sure if they do. If anything, Slaughterhouse-five might belong here.

Violence: Possibly same books as race. Same reason.

Now here’s why I don’t think those reasons are good enough:

Race: We can’t ignore history. It’s happened and it’s still relevant, and teenagers aren’t in a bubble away from the world. They are in it, and they need to know about it. Some of it may be graphic, but trust me, they can handle it. It’s not like they haven’t seen the equivalent or worse elsewhere.

Witchcraft: This… just this… Okay, so I grew up in a conservative household where I couldn’t read Harry Potter. My parents couldn’t get past the witchcraft aspect, and while I respect them, I disagree with their opinion on this subject. I recently got my mom to watch the movies with me and she admitted that there are a lot of good aspects to them, but she still couldn’t entirely get over the witchcraft. That’s fine. It’s whatever, because for the most part, she was able to get past that aspect and watch them and appreciate them for what they are. As for me, come college I started reading them. I love them now and I haven’t become a Wicken. I am still a conservative Christian and Harry Potter hasn’t effected my faith or anybody else’s that I know. And if I were to address the magic I would say that it’s a fantasy world where magic exists as a neutral entity. You are born with it, so you might as well learn how to control it. It isn’t real life. We are all aware of this. I could go on, but I won’t.

Promiscuity: Okay I have to say that this is probably the most legitimate reason, but depending on the book, I stand by my point. Teenagers aren’t called children for a reason. They know things. Don’t pretend they don’t. I am not encouraging promiscuity by any means, but like racism, it exists, and you can’t make it go away by preventing them from reading something that may have one itty bitty inappropriate part. Take John Green’s book Looking for Alaska. It was banned for a time at a school because of promiscuity, but it’s a book about teenagers and it’s practically an autobiography. John Green didn’t want to make the book inappropriate. It’s just realistic.

Violence: …same as race.

While I agree that there is such a thing as age-appropriate reading, just like with any book in school, there is a solution to that problem: the permission slip; parents have to sign these. If the parent disagrees with a book’s subject, they can request a change for that student. Some say that’s embarrassing for that student, but honestly, they can handle it. I was in high school once and not so long ago at that. These kids are in high school. They are big kids now. 

If we’re talking younger than high school, I might could see some of these. But you just generally don’t read those things anyway at that age because of reading level or something. 

There are also a couple quotes about books that I love:

The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame. -Oscar Wilde

Also,

If you don’t care for obscenity, you don’t care for the truth. -Tim O’Brien

We may not like it; we may not agree with it; it may be shameful, but it’s realistic.

Link to ACLU site on Banned Book Week: https://www.aclu.org/infographic/infographic-banned-books-week

Advertisements

The Paris Wife, A Book Review

FullSizeRender (2)

I have been pushing and pushing myself to finish The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain and anxiously awaiting the moment where I could sit down and write this review. I was so ready to write it because I loved it so much, but as I said, it took me a while to finish it, something I will definitely take into account in my review.

I’ll start with the good news.

This book felt like a classic. In fact, I sorted it with the other classics on my bookshelf. Maybe I shouldn’t have, but I didn’t know where else to put it. It is about Hemingway, after all.

The book is written from the point of view of Hemingway’s wife. Wife?! You say? You thought he had many women in his life? Well, you would be right. It’s widely known that Hemingway was wild with women, and this book focuses on his first wife, his *spoiler* Paris Wife.

The infamous Paris Wife’s name is Hadley Richardson, a plain and even downtrodden girl from an unhealthy home. She meets Ernest in Chicago, with whom–against her friend’s advice–she becomes romantically involved, entranced by his zeal for life. As the title suggests, they marry and move to Paris, a bold move but a fitting one for Ernest’s career. It’s where the action takes place, as he says. Then begins the majority of the story, a tale of the so called “Lost Generation,” but focusing less on their achievements and getting more to the grit of the matter; their lives were messy, and they pretended they were okay with it, but none of them really were.

In the end, Hemingway cheats on Hadley. He becomes so sucked up in the lifestyle of the other artists and tries so hard to like it, but he never can. He is never satisfied. Not with Hadley and not with any of his other wives.

I feel sorry for the women who fall in love with him, and for Hadley in particular. She’s a doll. We love her. We are on her side. We feel for her. She’s just your average girl, and we relate to her because of that. She is the protagonist, after all, so… ‘nough said. And she doesn’t deserve the way Ernest treats her. He changes. She doesn’t. They clash and he cheats. Many people know this story and many have lived it themselves. It’s a rotten one, but I don’t even think that’s the saddest part of the story.

While Ernest is in no way the victim of this story, it’s sad to think that he was never happy. Never truly content. Not throughout his entire life. Maybe you all don’t think it’s as sad as me, but imagine if it were you. Why wasn’t he content? Call him pathetic or what you will, and I’m sure there’s some deep psychological reason, but whatever it is, it’s still sad.

Though Ernest’s personal life is frankly depressing, I loved watching Ernest’s writing career come to fruition. As a writer, particularly one who hasn’t had her big break, it’s special to watch that happen to someone else, and to Hemingway nonetheless! It was also really encouraging. He definitely has his hard times, but he keeps at it, and as I’ve always said, that’s the key. That’s what I’m going with, at least.

I loved reading about the friendships they formed. I find the twenties so fascinating. Post-WWI. Pre-WWII. The Lost Generation. Fitzgerald. Stein. All of it. I adore it. We know of these people but we never really hear about their lives, hence the nickname, but we finally saw their lives, the good and the bad.

Then there’s the writing, and let me tell you I’m a complete fan of Paula Mclain’s style. Reading felt so easy and I enjoyed her descriptions and her casual yet sophisticated style. It’s simply brilliant, and it’s the real reason I think this book will be a classic. It felt like I was reading an older book but it also felt new; it’s a refreshing mixture.

Now that I’ve talked it up, I’m going to address my earlier comment. I had to push really hard to finish it. There are about 75 pages where I almost lost interest. The story moved at a near glacial pace and I felt like the author was beating a dead horse. This section is at the downfall of Hadley and Ernest’s relationship, and Mclain details every step. It dragged on, and it felt unnecessary. However, a part of me wonders if this was intentional. It is entirely possible that Mclain wanted us to feel what Hadley felt: tired. If so, she accomplished her goal.

I probably make it sound worse than it was. It was hard to finish because it was slow, but at the same time I enjoyed it. What carried me through was the writing and a will to finish.

Overall, the book was amazing and I give it a 4.2 out of 5 stars. Definitely worth the read. Definitely worth owning. Just know that if you feel stuck, it’s worth finishing.

Hogwarts Houses (Yes, this is literature related)

I’m going to do a silly post because it’s been a long week and I want to.

We’re going to talk about the different Hogwarts houses, which one I’m in, how it all relates to Myers-Briggs, and why these houses are the best idea ever.

P.S. It’s definitely literature related because Hogwarts is the school from Harry Potter, some of the most famous (if not the most) Young Adult Fiction.

These are the four Hogwarts houses (geniously named with illiteration):

First, we’ve got Gryffindor, founded by Godric Gryffindor, and I rank it first because it’s my house, and I’m the one writing the article. This house is known for its bravery, big and small, though as Neville proves, no bravery is small. They (we) sport the colors gold and maroon.

To the right of that (and last in ranking), we have Slytherin, founded by Salazar Slytherin. I only rank it last because loyalty is important (my inner Hufflepuff), and these houses are rivals, as most people know. These are the cunning and ambitious, and wear green and silver.

Below that, we have Ravenclaw, founded by Rowena Ravenclaw, this house is erudite. They are so smart that they have to solve a riddle just to get into their commons room. They often love astronomy and their uniforms are a nice array of blues.

Last, and most certainly not least, we have Hufflepuff, founded by Helga Hufflepuff. These are the loyal, the kind, and they are particularly good finders. J.K. Rowling says this is the best house, for shouldn’t humanity strive for such a nature?

Like I said, I myself am a Gryffindor.

FullSizeRender (1)

While I have many qualities of the other houses, I am ultimately a Gryffindor.

While I am nowhere near Hermione in smarts, I like to compare myself to her to explain why I am in this house.

I have many studious ambitions, but like hermione says,

So that explains the houses and why I am what I am, but why does any of this matter?

As chemists say, like dissolves like, or as everyone else says, humans like similar humans. We primarily hang out with people who are like us, whether or not it’s their sense of humor, lifestyle, or goals. We have always wanted to decode and create definable factions for personalities. Myers-Briggs is the perfect example. It’s fairly accurate, though I don’t think it’s quite right for me. I’m not very good at doing those kind of tests. The point is, I’m obsessed with them. I like to know what people are and then I even sort them into a Hogwarts house.

So how can we actually apply this to life?

We can adopt the British mindset and incorporate houses into our school system. This places people around those with which they will most likely get along, and it also gives them a home–a place they belong–but it doesn’t completely segregate you from others. Hogwarts student have classes mixed with different houses, and much of their down time or extracurricular activities take place with all the houses.

It’s the perfect mix, and I don’t see why we don’t do it.