You Can’t Read That! Why I love people who ban books.

Books Are a GiftWhoa – I know. That phrase just flew off my fingers and out into the digital world. It DID! I just watched it happen. It really did. And it’s not that I like censorship or book burnings or people judging a book before it is ever read. Those things I hate. I despise that. But I do love what they do for books….

We have banned book lists. We have read a banned book week! We have discussion/arguments/debates over WHY they were banned. OH YES!! Whew… okay… gotta calm down a bit…

So what does this all do? They get people excited about books. It seems our society thrives on conflict and drama. These book bans get people all worked up over BOOKS! Why did the book get banned?  What smutty, tasteless, overly violent, witch-crafty, devil-worshipping, gore-spewing material was crafted in this book to make it unfit for human consumption?

Fortunately, these reasons generally aren’t why books are banned. Usually, it offends ONE person someway, somehow and they get their panties all in a twist (or boxers, I’m not being sexist here – don’t ban my blog post!!) and ban the book before they have even cracked the spine. Then others, who like to be holier-than-thou-are, jump on the bandwagon.

But, just because that ONE person causes an uproar, a book that would have never been picked up by anyone they knew caused their friends to suddenly scratch their chins, wondering what is inside. And that chin scratching is what I love. Even the worst intention can come off with positive result in places.

Someone who is willing to read a banned book simply for gossiping reasons may learn he loves to read. Someone else may rediscover her love of reading. Do I care that it came about because of someone else’s rant? NOT IN THE SLIGHTEST.

I love books. I love reading. I love storytelling. Since my grandma took me on her lap before I was able to hold the book on my own, she wove stories that I haven’t forgotten to this day. And I want other to feel that same wonder I do when I find a book that I can’t put down, or how I feel when an author whisks me away to a land I could have never dreamed of before, and how I marvel at a plot twist I never saw coming.

PASSION – something else book banners manage to produce as a byproduct of their relentless shakedown on the literary community. We fight back. We love our books. We defend them. We are outraged that someone could possibly want to BAN our piece of joy. How could they? You tell your friends, all the bibliophiles you know, all of your colleagues that someone is trying to keep the world from reading this book that gave you hours of enjoyment, not only while reading the book, but for hours after when you talked about it or dreamt about it. Insert contented grin and a sigh here. Now THAT is what I like to hear.

I want people passionate about the written word, about old-fashioned storytelling. And let’s face it, besides word-of-mouth, bard-like tales, the book is as old-fashioned as it gets. We have children clamoring about their latest video games, about the newest super hero movie, I want to see that same passion in their eyes about the newest book in the series they are reading. And I do. I just want to see it MORE.

Call me greedy. I can take it. And if it comes down to people banning books in order to get us there, please, Mr. and Mrs. Bookhater, ban away. And may I make a special request to you, Sir Bookbansalot? When my book(s) come out – put them on top of your stack to burn. Stir up some controversy for me. Make people passionate about what I have done as an author, which is what I wanted to do to begin with. Touch someone on a deeper level and really connect with them somehow.

You may hate it, but the person you brought my words to may love it. I’m willing to take that chance.  And If I may… I would like to take a quick second to make a shout-out for the Iron Writer. I just submitted my story to them for their contest that will be posted for this weekend. We had great prompts we had to work with, and I tried my hand in a genre I have NEVER touched before as a writer. I wanted to challenge myself a bit.

What did I have to lose? Well, the contest, obviously… LOL! But other than that, I wanted this to be a completely new experience for me. And it was. So for all of you out there who are interested in tweaking your skills and competing against other wonderful writers, check out The Iron Writer. www.theironwriter.com

And if you want, be sure to check out challenge 35 this weekend (where my story will be) and vote on your favorite!! Who knows, you may be inspired to do it yourself!

Amy Eye is a regular contributor to Dandilyon Fluff and a professional editor, book designer and formatter for several publishing houses and for her own editing business,The Eyes for Editing.  Visit her regular column here, Sticks & Stones.

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is an American poet, publisher and author. Her first collection of poetry, In Favor of Pain, was nominated for an 2017 Elgin Award. Her latest novella, Bitter Suites, is a 2018 Bram Stoker Awards® Finalist. Currently, she publishes Space and Time magazine, a 53 year old publication dedicated to fantasy, horror and science fiction. For more information visit SpaceandTimeMagazine.com or AngelaYSmith.com.
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